George Plimpton

Franklin Library George Plimpton books

The Curious Case of Sidd Finch - signed first edition - 1987


George Plimpton biography

George Plimpton, a pioneering figure in American journalism, literature, and participatory sports, was born on March 18, 1927, in New York City. Throughout his remarkable career, Plimpton became known for his adventurous spirit, literary talents, and willingness to immerse himself in a wide range of experiences. After attending Phillips Exeter Academy and Harvard University, where he served as the president of the Harvard Lampoon, Plimpton embarked on a career in journalism. In 1953, he co-founded The Paris Review, a literary magazine known for its interviews with prominent writers and its commitment to nurturing emerging literary talent. As the editor of The Paris Review, Plimpton played a central role in shaping the direction of American literature and establishing the magazine as a cultural institution.

In addition to his work as an editor and publisher, Plimpton was also a gifted writer and storyteller. He penned numerous articles, essays, and books, covering a wide range of subjects, from sports and travel to politics and literature. His writing was characterized by its wit, humor, and keen observational eye, earning him a dedicated following and widespread acclaim. One of Plimpton's most famous literary endeavors was his foray into participatory journalism, a style of reporting in which the writer actively participates in the events they are covering. Plimpton famously donned a variety of hats – from professional boxer to symphony percussionist – in order to provide readers with a firsthand account of the experiences he was documenting. His immersive approach to journalism produced some of his most memorable works, including Out of My League (1961), in which he recounts his brief stint as a professional baseball player with the Detroit Tigers.

Plimpton's love of sports and adventure also led him to become a prominent figure in the world of sports literature. He wrote extensively about his experiences as a "participatory journalist," chronicling his adventures in boxing, football, golf, and other sports. His books, such as Paper Lion (1966) and The Bogey Man (1968), became bestsellers and inspired a generation of writers to explore the intersection of sports and literature.

Throughout his life, Plimpton remained a beloved and influential figure in American letters, admired for his literary talent, his boundless curiosity, and his infectious enthusiasm for life. He passed away on September 25, 2003, but his legacy as a pioneering journalist, editor, and writer continues to inspire and delight readers around the world. 


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