Lit

Wayward.Pines.S01E05

Wayward Preppies

This week I heard about a prime-time drama on Fox called “Wayward Pines” featuring a preppy with a wayward-fitting school blazer. Apparently the show has a sci-fi theme. I’ve actually been on a sci-fi kick lately since watching a movie called “Predestination,” based on a story by Robert Heinlein. I got a collection of his

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Literary Voice: The George Plimpton Documentary

George Plimpton certainly had pedigree. His father was “a successful corporate lawyer who became the American ambassador to the United Nations,” the New York Times noted in his obituary. “The family traced its roots in this country to the Mayflower. He was educated at Phillips Exeter Academy, Harvard and Cambridge.” This pedigree no doubt accounted


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John Updike, Style Icon

Recently GQ said John Updike was in as a style icon while Jack Kerouac was all washed up and played out. And last week the magazine’s web site put up a slideshow. No new images for you guys perhaps, but maybe for the younger and/or less literate out there. Remains to be seen if fashion


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100 Years Of Stover At Yale

Perhaps because he’s a football player, Dink Stover has been at Yale for a hundred years. Hey, the real world is coarse and common, would you want to leave? One hundred years ago this month Owen Johnson published his college novel “Stover At Yale,” which is long on novel but short on college. I attempted


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Hit The Road: Kerouac Out, Updike In

A sign of civilization in an age where the edgy, extreme and downright trashy are lauded daily, the April issue of GQ encourages readers to “kill their style icons,” and suggests trading Jack Kerouac for John Updike. Kerouac went to Columbia, but was too bohemian to dress Ivy League. Updike, on the other hand, went


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Voice In The Dark: Richard Frede’s Entry E, 1958

“Entry E” is something of a pulp novel, telling a tale of Ivy League life in America that was considered startling on its release in 1958. But for all the adolescent angst and raucous action in this story, there is plenty of mid-century Ivy League style and quiet consideration of the “Ivy Man,” described in


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The Man in the Brooks Brothers Shirt

For Ivy Style’s 300th post, London-based contributor Rebecca C. Tuite examines the most important piece of literature about The Ivy League Look’s most important brand. There is little doubt that Mary Mccarthy’s short story “The Man in the Brooks Brothers Shirt” is now probably more famous for its punchy title — a dream for the


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Buttoned-Down Beatnik: Ginsberg Biopic “Howl” Gets Sept. Release

A few months ago I heard about the Allen Ginsberg biopic “Howl,” and asked the production company if there were any upcoming screenings. There weren’t, as the film had yet to find a distributor. It’s got one now, and is scheduled for release on September 24. The film focuses on the poet’s 1957 obscenity trial


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Bohemian in a Sack Suit: The 1959 Brooks Brothers Novel

For Ivy-Style’s 200th post, I thought I’d break out something special I’ve been sitting on for awhile. Last year, between Los Angeles and New York, I spent six months in my old environs of the Bay Area, including five weeks staying with a former flame (now married to a Hungarian who lost his baronetcy in


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JD Salinger, 1919-2010

Don’t things like this usually come in threes? Click here for The Washington Post‘s coverage.


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Louis Auchincloss, 1917-2010

Louis Auchincloss, author of prep-school classic “The Rector of Justin,” plus many novels and stories set among New York’s Old Money, died Tuesday night. The New York Times‘ coverage is here. And from 2008, The Washington Post‘s book critic Jonathan Yardley looks back on “Justin.”


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Where All The Angry Young Men Go

For the Beat Generation, there were only two places to live: New York’s Greenwich Village and San Francisco’s North Beach. North Beach has been an old stomping ground of mine since my early twenties. I recently paid a visit to the neighborhood after years of exile in Los Angeles. Broadway is home to San Francisco’s


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In Praise of the Small Wardrobe

Perhaps because I scribe for a living, and know that a piece of writing always benefits from cutting,* I’ve always been a ruthless editor of my own wardrobe. There’s always something that can be discarded for being redundant, having fulfilled its use, or not being quite right. The simple test is to look at an


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Poetic Injustice

Before his untimely death, few men of letters embodied the jazz-fueled cool of midcentury New York better than poet Frank O’Hara. The Whitman of the modern urban landscape, O’Hara captured the essence of the city, its multitudes, and its motions of constant speed punctuated with moments of stillness. Heavily influenced by Abstract Expressionism and jazz,


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Performance Anxiety

As we’ve repeatedly been told, WASP nonchalance is merely an affectation, a performance that renders its mannered marionettes ever anxious about committing some cred-crushing gaucherie. And if it’s like that for members of the tribe, just imagine what it’s like for Jews. Tobias Wolff’s 2003 novel “Old School” belongs to the prep-school-coming-of-age genre, while its


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The Quiet American

Ivy-Style mourns the passing of John Updike, who died Tuesday at 76. While his status as a Great American Novelist is well known, his role as an icon of sartorial understatement is not. And so we present this homage to a master not only of English literature, but of dressing with quiet flair. Our tweed


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Writers Block

In 1962 Life ran a group of photos of American authors. Pictured above is James Baldwin, while below is Philip Roth. Click on images for hi-res version: