|Born||Robert Adams Gottlieb
April 29, 1931
New York, New York, United States
Maria Tucci (actress) (m. April 26, 1969
(1st marriage) Roger
(2nd marriage) Elizabeth, Niccolo
|Parent(s)||Charles (a lawyer) and Martha (a teacher) Gottlieb|
|Awards||Phi Beta Kappa|
Robert Gottlieb was born in New York City in 1931 and grew up in Manhattan. During his childhood, he "was your basic, garden-variety, ambitious, upwardly mobile, hard-working Jewish boy from Brooklyn. I was bound to go beyond my parents. It was simply the way things were.”
Gottlieb graduated from Columbia University in 1952, and spent two years at Cambridge University before joining Simon & Schuster in 1955 as an editorial assistant to Jack Goodman, the editor-in-chief.
He is married to Maria Tucci, an actress whose father, the novelist Niccolò Tucci, was one of Gottlieb's writers. They have two children: Lizzie Gottlieb, a film director, and Nicholas (Nicky), who is the subject of one of his sister's documentary films, Today's Man.
Gottlieb joined Simon & Schuster in 1955 and within ten years rose to editor-in-chief. Gottlieb discovered and edited Catch-22 by the then-unknown Joseph Heller. In 1968, Gottlieb along with Nina Bourne and Anthony Schulte moved to Alfred A. Knopf as editor-in-chief, publisher; soon after he became president. He left in 1987 to succeed William Shawn as editor of The New Yorker, staying in the position until 1992. After his departure from The New Yorker Gottlieb returned to Alfred A. Knopf as editor ex officio.
Gottlieb has edited novels by John Cheever, Doris Lessing, Chaim Potok, Charles Portis, Salman Rushdie, John Gardner, Len Deighton, John le Carré, Ray Bradbury, Elia Kazan, Margaret Drabble, Michael Crichton, Mordecai Richler and Toni Morrison, and non-fiction books by Bill Clinton, Janet Malcolm, Katharine Graham, Nora Ephron, Katharine Hepburn, Barbara Tuchman, Jessica Mitford, Robert Caro, Antonia Fraser, Lauren Bacall, Liv Ullman, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Bruno Bettelheim, Carl Schorske, and many others.
Gottlieb has been a frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review, and has been the dance critic for The New York Observer since 1999. He is the author of biographies of George Balanchine, Sarah Bernhardt, and the family of Charles Dickens, as well as of a collection of his critical essays, and of an autobiography, "Avid Reader," published in 2016. A Certain Style, his lavishly illustrated book about the plastic handbags of which he was a major collector, was published by Alfred A. Knopf. He has edited three major anthologies: "Reading Jazz", "Reading Dance", and (with Robert Kimball) "Reading Lyrics".
Approach to editing
Gottlieb is widely considered to be one of the greatest editors of the second half of the 20th century. In a 1994 interview with The Paris Review, he described his need to "surrender" to a book. "The more you have surrendered," he said, "the more jarring its errors appear. I read a manuscript very quickly, the moment I get it. I usually won't use a pencil the first time through because I'm just reading for impressions. When I read the end, I'll call the writer and say, I think it's very fine (or whatever), but I think there are problems here and here. At that point I don't know why I think that—I just think it. Then I go back and read the manuscript again, more slowly, and I find and mark the places where I had negative reactions to try to figure out what's wrong. The second time through I think about solutions—maybe this needs expanding, maybe there's too much of this so it's blurring that.
For many years Gottlieb was associated with New York City Ballet, serving as a member of its board of directors. In this vein, he published many books by people from the dance world including Mikhail Baryshnikov and Margot Fonteyn. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Miami City Ballet.
- Gottlieb, Robert (January 7, 2013). "A Critic at Large: Man of Letters". The New Yorker. 88 (42): 71–76. Retrieved 2014-10-24.
- A Certain Style: The Art of the Plastic Handbag 1949-1959 (1988) (Knopf)
- George Ballanchine: The Ballet Maker (2004) (Atlas Books/Harper Collins)
- Sarah:The Life of Sarah Bernhardt (2010) (Yale University Press)
- Lives and Letters (2011) (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
- Great Expectations: The Sons and Daughters of Charles Dickens (2012) (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
- Avid Reader: A Life (2016) (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
- "Robert A. Gottlieb". Contemporary Authors Online (Fee, via Fairfax County Public Library). Biography In Context. Detroit: Gale. 2013. Gale Document Number: GALE|H1000038386. Retrieved 2013-04-12. (subscription required)
- Robert Gottlieb (June 20, 2013). "At the Top of Pop". The New York Times Book Review. Retrieved August 18, 2013.
- The Paris Review Interviews, Vol 1, p 337, Picador, New York, 2006
- Gottlieb, Lizzie. "Today's Man". Orchard Pictures. Retrieved 2013-04-12.
- Kirkpatrick, David D. (13 August 2001). "The Man Who Will Edit Clinton; Legendary Figure Will Try to Elicit Meaningful Memoir". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
- Garner, Dwight. "In 'Avid Reader', a Celebrated Editor as Shepherd and Alchemist". The New York Times. Retrieved September 14, 2016.
- The Paris Review Interviews, Vol 1, p 336, Picador, New York, 2006
- The Paris Review Interviews, Vol 1, pp 350-351, Picador, New York, 2006
- Larissa MacFarquhar (Fall 1994). "Robert Gottlieb, The Art of Editing No. 1". The Paris Review.
- "Board of Trustees".
- October 15, 1996, Bonnie Smothers, review of Reading Jazz: A Gathering of Autobiography, Reportage, and Criticism from 1919 to Now, p. 395
- November 1, 2008, Donna Seaman, review of Reading Dance: A Gathering of Memoirs, Reportage, Criticism, Profiles, Interviews, and Some Uncategorizable Extras, p. 20
- May 1, 2011, Donna Seaman, review of Lives and Letters, p. 54.
- Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries
- May, 2001, Review J. Farrington, review of Reading Lyrics, p. 1604
- May, 2005, S.E. Friedler, review of George Balanchine: The Ballet Maker, p. 1600
- April, 2009, T.K. Hagood, review of Reading Dance, p. 1511
- April, 2011, D.B. Wilmeth, review of Sarah: The Life of Sarah Bernhardt, p. 1485.
- Commonweal, March 28, 1997, Frank McConnell, review of Reading Jazz, p. 23
- Interview, December, 1996, Ingrid Sischy, "Jazz Writ Large," pp. 34–36
- Library Journal
- September 15, 1991, Lesley Jorbin, review of The Journals of John Cheever, p. 76
- November 1, 1996, Michael Colby, review of Reading Jazz, p. 70
- August, 2000, Review Barry Zaslow, review of Reading Lyrics, p. 107
- October 1, 2008, Barbara Kundanis, review of Reading Dance, p. 72
- June 1, 2011, David Keymer, review of Lives and Letters, p. 98
- New York Times
- July 1, 1992, Deirdre Carmody, "Tina Brown to Take Over at The New Yorker"
- December 9, 1992, Eric Pace, "William Shawn, 85, Is Dead."
- New York Times Book Review
- December 22, 1996, Peter Keepnews, review of Reading Jazz
- September 17, 2010, Emma Brockes, review of Sarah
- Observer (London, England), October 24, 2010, Olivia Laing, review of Sarah.
- Telegraph (London, England), October 22, 2010, Claudia FitzHerbert, review of Sarah.*
- "Robert Gottlieb". The New York Review of Books. Retrieved 2013-04-12. Gottlieb's author page and archive (subscription required)
|Editor of The New Yorker