Proposal for a new, expanded edition of Master Minds

Master Minds is a book of my long comprehensive profiles, mostly from the New York Times Magazine, of major American artists and intellectuals, including Marshall McLuhan, Herman Kahn, Glenn Gould, Allen Ginsberg, Paul Goodman, Ralph Ellison, Reinhold Niebuhr, John Cage, Milton Babbitt, and Robert Rauschenberg, among others. In these pieces, I have tried to introduce first-rank intellectual and artistic achievements in terms comprehensible to laymen and then to show how such work reflects its authors. Since cultural achievement is the source of my interest, these profiles are mostly sympathetic, though scarcely uncritical. People familiar with my writing tend to judge them as my most popular (or incipiently popular) prose. Nonetheless, when Master Minds first appeared in 1969, its publisher was administratively disintegrating; and even though the book was scarcely advertised and never reprinted, it was kept in print for a dozen years before its copyright was returned to me. In the meantime I have done similarly extended profiles of other seminal figures, including Kenneth Burke, Edwin Land (the Polaroid chief), Noam Chomsky, Northrop Frye, Robert Wilson, Hannah Arendt, Merce Cunningham, John Ashbery, and B. B. King, among others.

What I propose now is a new edition of Master Minds that would include these new pieces, revised for their inclusion here. (If these can be set in type identical to that of the original book, the earlier chapters need not be reset.) I would like to think that this new Master Minds not only would attract literate general readers; especially in paperback, it would also be used in courses devoted to intellectual history and contemporary studies. Any editor seriously wishing to consider the original volume, along with the new pieces, is advised to contact me please. Thank you.