The Times reports that Lewis Lapham is retiring as editor of Harper’s. He’ll be retiring in the spring. Lapham’s been mum on naming a successor, but these are going to be some hard shoes to fill, since under Lapham’s tenure, Harper’s has had a really great run.
Part of me, however, wonders if Lapham’s involvement in the recent Roman Polanski lawsuit (which Polanski won) might have factored into Lapham’s decision. Polanski’s win meant not just a $90,000 verdict, but an estimated $2.6 million legal bill for Conde Nast (which published the Vanity Fair piece penned by Lapham). Lapham was the source for the 1969 article written by A.E. Hotchner.
One unfortunate thing: Lapham’s “Notebook” column, which, with rare exception, is pretty much the same anti-Bush rhetoric every month, will continue. Although perhaps with Lapham concentrating on a bio of William Taft, Lapham will mix his subject matter up a little more.
Interestingly enough, Lapham also has a book out from Melville House about the two weeks he spent with the Beatles.