Writers and editors at The New Yorker vigorously deny that there is such thing as a New Yorker style. How can a magazine that publishes writers as different as Vladimir Nabokov and Eudora Welty, for example, be accused of having a house style? Such claims are of course disingenuous; everyone knows that there is a New Yorker style—even under the new regime—and everyone can recognize it when they come across it, though it’s necessarily become somewhat broader since the days when Wolcott Gibbs advised the editors to raise the tone of the contributors’ work, cutting out references to “Bohemian life in Greenwich Village and other low surroundings.” The magazine’s current writers may not live by such strictures, but the style, or rather the mood, of the stories holds true. As a character in a Benjamin Cheever novel puts it: “You know those clever pieces of fiction they run where nothing...


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