Paris Review Rebounds

The Surprising Legacy of George Plimpton

Daniel Kunitz, who was managing editor from 1995 to 2000, explained, "The Paris Review does not run on a lot of money. There are no large salaries, and a million in the bank is a lot more than it's ever had before." Before it became a nonprofit, he recalled, it had an operating budget of about $300,000 and required added revenues of about $100,000 a year. Plimpton never took a salary from the magazine, which McDonell has called his "spiritual hideout." Now that the publication is being run as a nonprofit, it's easier to attract money from other foundations, and board members see Plimpton's death as a chance to operate it more efficiently.

However, sources say, Plimpton added a built-in escape clause: He gave the board the power to shut the magazine down if his successor somehow violated its spirit. According to one source, "If someone tried to turn it into a celebrity magazine, the board would have the power to correct that." Think of it as editorial control from the grave.

Before Plimpton's death, there was talk of moving into a larger space. Now some argue that his wife and children should have the fabled townhouse to themselves, and others say his wife is planning to sell it. Said Goodale of the current location, "We're there for the foreseeable future. We don't expect that we're going to be there forever."

Two days after the tribute, managing editor Hughes described the staff as "exhausted" but eager to resume work on the winter issue and on a new anthology to be published in May. "I'm glad we're going back to being a little magazine again," she said.


cc@villagevoice.com


Sidebar:
"Is George Plimpton Irreplaceable?" by Cynthia Cotts

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