Justin Daniel "Joe" Kaplan (September 5, 1925 in Manhattan, New York City – March 2, 2014 in Cambridge, Massachusetts) was an American writer and editor. The general editor of Bartlett's Familiar Quotations (16th and 17th eds.), he was best known as a biographer, particularly of Samuel Clemens, Lincoln Steffens, and Walt Whitman.
|Born||Justin Daniel Kaplan|
September 5, 1925
Manhattan, New York, US
|Died||March 2, 2014 (aged 88)|
Cambridge, Massachusetts, US
|Spouse||Anne Bernays (1954–2014; 3 children)|
Kaplan was born to a Orthodox Jewish family in Manhattan, the son of Tobias D. Kaplan, a successful shirt manufacturer in New York City, and Anna (Rudman) Kaplan, a homemaker. Both of his parents died by the time he was nine. “I spent a lot of time as a boy playing in Central Park and walking around Manhattan by myself,” he recalled in a 1981 Boston Globe interview. His parents died when he was young and he was raised by an older brother and the family’s West Indian housekeeper, who taught him to cook, which later came in handy when his wife Anne Bernays turned out to be a self-described “domestic illiterate”.
A top student, Kaplan entered Harvard University at age 16, receiving his bachelor's in English in 1944. After pursuing a post-graduate degree in English for two years, he grew dissatisfied with graduate school and moved to New Mexico. “The openness and the beauty of the Southwest,” he said in the 1981 interview, “made me aware of American writers in a way I had never considered before.”
He then began to work as an editor for the publishing house Simon & Schuster, where after eight years he rose to senior editor, becoming known as "the house brain", handling brainier authors including British philosopher Bertrand Russell, "Zorba the Greek" author Nikos Kazantzakis, and sociologist C. Wright Mills. Fascinated by words and language, by his early 20s Kapalan had edited translations of Plato and Aristotle. In his memoir Back Then (2002) Kaplan wrote: "It was fun to work at Simon & Schuster. [It was] not surprising to see editors staying long after hours to talk books, trade industry gossip, and joke over office bottles of Scotch and gin. In the days before it was absorbed into a conglomerate the house was like a summer camp for intellectually hyperactive children", only without a curfew, reminiscing about dancing at a party with Marilyn Monroe, “gently kneading the little tire of baby fat around her waist.”
In 1953 while an editor at art book publisher Harry Abrams, he met Anne Bernays (b. 1930), daughter of public relations pioneer Edward L. Bernays and writer Doris E. Fleischman, and great-niece of Sigmund Freud. They married in 1954. Soon after he was invited by M. Lincoln "Max" Schuster, co-founder of Simon & Schuster to help acquire "better books", seek out younger authors, and "deal diplomatically" with established names.
In 1959 Kaplan saw Hal Holbrook's celebrated stage performance of Mark Twain, causing him to become fascinated with Twain, reading everything he could by and about him then writing a 10-page proposal complete with his own contract, which was accepted by Simon & Schuster complete with a $4,000 advance, causing him to leave publishing for writing, despite the anxiety caused by leaving a well-paying job for the uncertainty of a writer's life. Needing distance from the "adrenaline-intoxicated style" of New York, and needing access to Harvard's Widener Library, he and Anne moved to Massachusetts, where he remained for the rest of his life, living in Cambridge, Massachusetts in a 16-room house on Francis Avenue, where "Anne and Joe" became the center of a literary social circle at the heart of 02138, the Harvard Square ZIP code, with neighbors including French chef Julia Child and Harvard economist John Kenneth Galbraith. Said novelist James Carroll: “If there’s a writer’s community in Boston, they established it. There was a period of about 15 years when their house was the center of the writing life in Boston. Joe was the pillar, and Anne was the flame. Between the two of them they made a big difference in the life of the city.”
Kaplan's first book Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain (1966) was a critical success, winning both the National Book Award in category Arts and Letters and the 1967 Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography. A stylish account of the Missouri-born humorist who attempted imperfectly to fit in with the Eastern elite, it was immediately praised as a landmark in Twain scholarship, making fans of E.L. Doctorow, Tom Wolfe et al. and becoming a standard biography. It “employed an organizing device, unusual for its day, to which Mr. Kaplan would return. Instead of arranging his subject’s life chronologically, he portrayed it out of sequence, opening the book with Twain at 31.”
Kaplan brought out the psychic split in Clemens' personality implied by the name Mark Twain, a Missouri-raised Westerner who enjoyed all the Eastern comforts of the Gilded Age. "He was bound to be tormented by the distinction and the split, always invidious, between performing humorist and man of letters, and he had no way of reconciling the two... S.L. Clemens of Hartford dreaded to meet the obligations of Mark Twain, the traveling lecturer." "To the end he remained as much an enigma and prodigy to himself as he was to the thousands at the Brick Presbyterian Church in New York who filed past the casket, topped with a single wreath of laurel, where he lay in a white suit." (last line)
Thomas Lask wrote that "Not in years has there been a biography in which the complexities of human character have been exposed with such perceptiveness, with such a grasp of their contradictory nature, with such ability to keep each strand clear and yet make it contribute to the overall fabric."
In 1974 Kaplan published Mark Twain and His World, a pictorial biography.
Kaplan followed Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain with two more well-received biographies, Lincoln Steffens: A Biography (1974) and Walt Whitman: A Life (1980), which won a National Book Award in category Autobiography/Biography.[a]
In 1988 after planned biographies of Civil War General Ulysses S. Grant and acting legend Charlie Chaplin fell through, Kaplan took a job as general editor of Bartlett’s Familiar Quoations to update the 15th (1980) edition, “a job akin to running the admissions committee of the most selective college in the world" (New York Times), which he was ideally suited for, editing the 16th and 17th editions (1992, 2002). “It’s every writer’s dream,” he said in a 1990 Boston Globe interview. “Every day, I look over my shoulder because I have the sense people think I’m goofing off.” No goof-off, Kaplan began reading through all 25,000 quotations, weeding out some 3,500 obscure or unmemorable quotations from forgotten 19th century poets et al. and replacing them with more recent quotations from Elvis Presley, Norman Mailer, Noam Chomsky (“Colorless green ideas sleep furiously”) Erich Segal (“Love means never having to say you're sorry”), musicians including James Brown, Jimi Hendrix, and Michael Jackson, feminists including Susan Brownmiller (“Man’s discovery that his genitalia could serve as a weapon to generate fear must rank as one of the most important discoveries of prehistoric times, along with the use of fire and the first crude stone axe”), Erica Jong, and Germaine Greer (“Is it too much to ask that women be spared the daily struggle for superhuman beauty in order to offer it to the caresses of a subhumanly ugly mate?”), leftists including Philip Caputo (“You’re going to learn that one of the most brutal things in the world is your average nineteen-year-old American boy”) and Toni Morrison (“At no point in my life have I ever felt as though I were American”), novelists including Milan Kundera, Chinua Achebe, and Anthony Burgess, entertainment figures including Garrison Keillor, Mel Brooks, Monty Python's Flying Circus, Sesame Street (“Me want a cookie”), and Woody Allen (Sex - “It’s the most fun I’ve ever had without laughing”), and films including E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (“ET phone home”), and Apocalypse Now (“I love the smell of napalm in the morning. It smells like victory.”).
The 1992 16th edition deleted 245 authors and added 340 new ones, along with 1,600 new quotations. The back cover lists 10 quotations selected from the more than 20,000 found inside, by Gloria Steinem, Steve Biko, Grace Slick, and fans of Star Trek, reading like “the liberal Left's Hall of Fame”.
“You can’t do it systematically. You do it associatively. One thing reminds you of another thing. You have to see whether it is not only quotable, but whether it has been quoted. I’m not doing an anthology of literary gems, but trying to find out what people have been quoting, what is stuck in their minds.”
Kaplan was criticized for discounting the eloquence of President Ronald Reagan, whom he purposely kept out of the 1992 edition, later admitting "I'm not going to disguise the fact that I despise Ronald Reagan", and "[He] could not be described as a memorable phrase maker" but was really only "an actor masquerading as a leader". Bowing to the critics, he included in the 2002 edition Reagan’s memorable 1987 demand during a speech at the Brandenburg Gate near the Berlin Wall: “Tear down this wall!”
Joe and Anne wrote a double memoir The Language of Names (1997), and Back Then: Two Lives in 1950s New York (2002), in which they referred to themselves as "children of privilege" who went to progressive schools and were "grounded in a classical approach to education — a lot of memorizing and Shakespeare, an exhaustive approach to history, literature, and the sciences."
Kaplan died at the age of 88 on March 2, 2014. He had been suffering for years from Parkinson's disease. He left a wife and three daughters, Susanna, Hester, and Polly, and six grandchildren, including the notable Rachel Tigges.
Kaplan is the son of Orthodox Jewish Russian immigrants who died when he was young, after which he was raised by other family members on the Upper West Side, also in privileged circumstances that afforded him private school but not with the Bernays kind of wealth
The following are the Pulitzer Prizes for 1967.2014 in literature
This article presents lists of the literary events and publications in 2014.Anne Bernays
Anne Bernays (born September 14, 1930, in New York City, United States) is an American novelist, editor, and teacher.Bartlett's Familiar Quotations
Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, often simply called Bartlett's, is an American reference work that is the longest-lived and most widely distributed collection of quotations. The book was first issued in 1855 and is currently in its eighteenth edition, published in 2012.
The book arranges its entries by author, rather than by subject, as many other quotation collections, and enters the authors chronologically by date of birth rather than alphabetically. Within years, authors are arranged alphabetically and quotations are arranged chronologically within each author's entry, followed by "attributed" remarks whose source in the author's writings has not been confirmed. The book contains a thorough keyword index and details the source of each quotation.Biographers International Organization
Biographers International Organization (BIO) is an international, non-profit, 501 (c)(6) organization founded to promote the art and craft of biography, and to further the professional interests of its practitioners. The organization was founded in 2010 by a committee of noted biographers, led by James McGrath Morris, who served as BIO's first Executive Director. The president of BIO as of 2018 is Cathy Curtis.
Each year, the organization presents its highest award, the BIO Award, to an individual who has made notable contributions to advancing the art and craft of biography. BIO members also vote annually on the Plutarch Award, the only international literary prize dedicated solely to biography.Catch-22
Catch-22 is a satirical novel by American author Joseph Heller. He began writing it in 1953; the novel was first published in 1961. Often cited as one of the most significant novels of the twentieth century, it uses a distinctive non-chronological third-person omniscient narration, describing events from the points of view of different characters. The separate storylines are out of sequence so the timeline develops along with the plot.
The novel is set during World War II, from 1942 to 1944. It mainly follows the life of Captain John Yossarian, a U.S. Army Air Forces B-25 bombardier. Most of the events in the book occur while the fictional 256th Squadron is based on the island of Pianosa, in the Mediterranean Sea, west of Italy. The novel looks into the experiences of Yossarian and the other airmen in the camp, who attempt to maintain their sanity while fulfilling their service requirements so that they may return home.Joseph Merrill (sheriff)
Joseph Merrill was a sheriff of Carroll County, Georgia at the turn of the 20th century who gained nationwide fame for stopping a lynching. Articles about his bravery appeared in the New York Evening Post, the Atlanta Constitution, the Louisville Courier Journal, the Washington Star, and the Boston Herald. He is also mentioned by Mark Twain in his 1901 essay The United States of Lyncherdom.List of winners of the National Book Award
These authors and books have won the annual National Book Awards, awarded to American authors by the National Book Foundation based in the United States.Man bites dog (journalism)
The phrase man bites dog is a shortened version of an aphorism in journalism which describes how an unusual, infrequent event (such as a man biting a dog) is more likely to be reported as news than an ordinary, everyday occurrence with similar consequences, such as a dog biting a man. An event is usually considered more newsworthy if there is something unusual about it; a commonplace event is less likely to be seen as newsworthy, even if the consequences of both events have objectively similar outcomes. The result is that rarer events more often appear as news stories, while more common events appear less often, thus distorting the perceptions of news consumers of what constitutes normal rates of occurrence.
The phenomenon is also described in the journalistic saying, "You never read about a plane that did not crash".The phrase was coined by Alfred Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Northcliffe (1865–1922), a British newspaper magnate, but is also attributed to New York Sun editor John B. Bogart (1848–1921): "When a dog bites a man, that is not news, because it happens so often. But if a man bites a dog, that is news." The quote is also attributed to Charles Anderson Dana (1819–1897).Some consider it a principle of yellow journalism.Mark Twain House
The Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford, Connecticut, was the home of Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain) and his family from 1874 to 1891. It was designed by Edward Tuckerman Potter and built in the American High Gothic style. Clemens biographer Justin Kaplan has called it "part steamboat, part medieval fortress and part cuckoo clock."Clemens wrote many of his best-known works while living there, including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Prince and the Pauper, Life on the Mississippi, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, A Tramp Abroad, and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.Poor financial investments prompted the Clemens family to move to Europe in 1891. The Panic of 1893 further threatened their financial stability, and Clemens, his wife Olivia, and their middle daughter, Clara, spent the year 1895-96 traveling so that he could lecture and earn the money to pay off their debts. He recounted the trip in Following the Equator (1897). Their other two daughters, Susy and Jean, had stayed behind during this time, and Susy died at home on August 18, 1896 of spinal meningitis before the family could be reunited. They could not bring themselves to reside in the house after this tragedy and spent most of their remaining years living abroad. They sold the house in 1903.
The building later functioned as a school, an apartment building, and a public library branch. In 1929, it was rescued from possible demolition and put under the care of the newly formed non-profit group Mark Twain Memorial. The building was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1962. A restoration effort led to its being opened as a house museum in 1974. In 2003, a multimillion-dollar, LEED-certified visitors' center was built that included a museum dedicated to showcasing Twain's life and work.The house faced serious financial trouble in 2008 due partly to construction cost overruns related to the new visitors' center, but the museum was helped through publicity about their plight, quick reaction from the state of Connecticut, corporations, and other donors, and a benefit performance organized by writers. Since that time, the museum has reported improved financial conditions, though the recovery was marred by the 2010 discovery of a million-dollar embezzlement by the museum's comptroller, who pleaded guilty and served a jail term.The museum claimed record-setting attendance levels in 2012. It has featured events such as celebrity appearances by Stephen King, Judy Blume, John Grisham, and others; it has also sponsored writing programs and awards. Also in 2012, the Mark Twain House was named one of the Ten Best Historic Homes in the world in The Ten Best of Everything, a National Geographic Books publication.Massachusetts Historical Society
The Massachusetts Historical Society is a major historical archive specializing in early American, Massachusetts, and New England history. It is located at 1154 Boylston Street in Boston, Massachusetts and is the oldest historical society in the United States, having been established in 1791.
The Society's building was constructed in 1899 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1966. In 2016, The Boston Landmarks Commission designated it a Boston Landmark.Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography
The Pulitzer Prize for Biography is one of the seven American Pulitzer Prizes that are annually awarded for Letters, Drama, and Music. It has been presented since 1917 for a distinguished biography, autobiography or memoir by an American author or co-authors, published during the preceding calendar year. Thus it is one of the original Pulitzers, for the program was inaugurated in 1917 with seven prizes, four of which were awarded that year.September 5
September 5 is the 248th day of the year (249th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 117 days remaining until the end of the year.Spoonerism
A spoonerism is an error in speech in which corresponding consonants, vowels, or morphemes are switched (see Metathesis) between two words in a phrase. These are named after the Oxford don and ordained minister William Archibald Spooner, who was famous for doing this.
An example is saying "The Lord is a shoving leopard" instead of "The Lord is a loving shepherd." While spoonerisms are commonly heard as slips of the tongue, and getting one's words in a tangle, they can also be used intentionally as a play on words.The Best American Essays
The Best American Essays is a yearly anthology of magazine articles published in the United States. It was started in 1986 and is now part of The Best American Series published by Houghton Mifflin. Articles are chosen using the same procedure with other titles in the Best American series; the series editor chooses about 100 article candidates, from which the guest editor picks 25 or so for publication; the remaining runner-up articles listed in the appendix. The series is edited by Robert Atwan, and Joyce Carol Oates assisted in the editing process until 2000 with the publication of The Best American Essays of the Century.The Shame of the Cities
The Shame of the Cities is a book written by American author Lincoln Steffens. Published in 1904, it is a collection of articles which Steffens had written for McClure’s Magazine. It reports on the workings of corrupt political machines in several major U.S. cities, along with a few efforts to combat them. It is considered one of several early major pieces of muckraking journalism, though Steffens later claimed that this work made him "the first muckraker."Though Steffens' subject was municipal corruption, he did not present his work as an exposé of corruption; rather, he wanted to draw attention to the public's complicity in allowing corruption to continue. Steffens tried to advance a theory of city corruption: corruption, he claimed, was the result of "big business men" who corrupted city government for their own ends, and "the typical business man"—average Americans—who ignored politics and allowed such corruption to continue. He framed his work as an attempt "to sound for the civic pride of an apparently shameless citizenship," by making the public face their responsibility in the persistence of municipal corruption.The Sun (New York City)
The Sun was a New York newspaper published from 1833 until 1950. It was considered a serious paper, like the city's two more successful broadsheets, The New York Times and the New York Herald Tribune. The Sun was the most politically conservative of the three.Thomas Beloat
Thomas Beloat was a sheriff of Gibson County, Indiana at the turn of the 20th century noted for stopping a lynching in the county seat of Princeton. He was the subject of a June 10, 1901 article in the New York Tribune. His bravery is also mentioned by Mark Twain in his 1901 essay The United States of Lyncherdom.A Republican, he served as sheriff from January 1, 1901 through December 31, 1904. He was a charter member of the Gibson County Sons of Veterans organization.Twain and Shaw Do Lunch
Twain and Shaw Do Lunch, formerly known as Shaw and Twain Do Lunch, was written by Chambers Stevens and made its world premiere at Miami's New Theatre in December 2011. It is based on a real meeting between Mark Twain and George Bernard Shaw. The full-length comedic play has won the Fourteenth Annual Long Beach Playhouse New Works Festival in Long Beach, CA, the 2005 Palm Springs International Playwriting Festival for Best Comedy, and has also appeared in the Futurefest at the Dayton Playhouse.