From the ed­i­tor

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Contents - Deb­o­rah Jones

THERE was a won­der­ful piece in The New York Times the other week about Robert Sil­vers, ed­i­tor of The New York Re­view of Books. It was about how he is at present re­ceiv­ing hon­ours from thither and yon and, since he’s been at his post for quite some time, there was a bit of spec­u­la­tion about who might suc­ceed him. The owner, Rea He­d­er­man, had only this to say: ‘‘Bob is the ed­i­tor. When he’s not the ed­i­tor, then we’ll look for one. It’s not some­thing we dis­cuss or plan for.’’ As Sil­vers is 82 — yes, do not ad­just your eye, 82 — you could have for­given He­d­er­man for hav­ing a con­tin­gency plan, but if he has one, he’s not telling. And not only is Sil­vers still work­ing hard ev­ery day (ap­par­ently his as­sis­tants have to work in shifts, so lengthy are the hours he puts in), it ap­pears as if those days are well spent, given the lively and per­ti­nent range of top­ics the pub­li­ca­tion cov­ers. What re­ally tick­led my fancy was an anec­dote re­lat­ing to Sil­vers’s ex­tremely close at­ten­tion to de­tail. Clas­sics scholar Daniel Men­del­sohn was, ap­par­ently, on an Aegean cruise when he had to go to the bridge to re­ceive an ur­gent mes­sage. The caller was Sil­vers, get­ting in touch ‘‘to ques­tion [Men­del­sohn’s] choice of the word ‘com­pelling’,’’ re­ported the NYT. What bliss. This story has par­tic­u­lar pi­quancy for me as yes­ter­day I clocked up 25 years on The Aus­tralian, and here I was think­ing it was a long time. In Sil­vers’s cir­cles it’s the blink of an eye. Most of my time at the Oz has been con­nected with the arts in one way or an­other, so it’s been more fun than one could ever hope for. My thanks to all. And no, this isn’t a farewell; just a mo­ment to count bless­ings.

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