The Art of Factual Writing • An Exhibition in Tribute to John McPhee '53

| No Comments
McP.exhibit.jpg

Currently on view in the lobby of Firestone Library through Commencement.

The Princeton University Library and the Class of 1953 join in honoring the author John McPhee on the occasion of his 60th class reunion. McPhee has been a Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton since 1974, leading two seminars every three years. The present exhibition focuses on McPhee’s approach to factual writing, which is central to his teaching at Princeton and has contributed to the success of his many students. The exhibition shows stages of the creative process, from concept to bound book and beyond. McPhee’s own papers show the author at work, beginning with information gathering in the field and formalizing his notes. McPhee structures his writing with the help of diagrams, as explained in his recent article, “Structures,” in The New Yorker (January 14, 2013). Then, working with editors and publishers, he crafts a series of manuscript drafts and corrects proofs. The resulting articles, first published in The New Yorker and, occasionally, other magazines, have been the starting point for most of McPhee’s twentyeight books and two readers published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, as well as reprints, e-books, and translations. Included in the exhibition are loans from Farrar, Straus and Giroux and The New Yorker, as well as papers and awards loaned by the author himself.

Leave a comment