Lehmann-Haupt, Christopher 1934–
Lehmann-Haupt, Christopher 1934–
(Christopher Lehmann Haupt)
PERSONAL: Surname is pronounced "Lay-mun Howpt"; born June 14, 1934, in Edinburgh, Scotland; naturalized U.S. citizen, c. 1935; son of Hellmut Lehmann-Haupt (a graphic arts historian and bibliographer) and Letitia L. Grierson (a teacher and editor); married Natalie S. Robins (a writer), October 3, 1965; children: Rachel Louise, Noah Christopher. Education: Swarthmore College, B.A., 1956; Yale University, M.F. A., 1959.
CAREER: Book reviewer and author. A.S. Barnes & Co., New York, NY, editor, 1961–62; Holt, Rinehart & Winston, New York, NY, editor, 1962–63; Dial Press, New York, NY, editor, 1963–65; New York Times Book Review, New York, NY, editor, 1965–69; New York Times, New York, NY, senior daily book reviewer, 1969–2001, obituarist, 2001–2006. Instructor for Orange County secondary school system and community college, 1959; assistant professor at York College of the City University of New York, 1975–76. Lecturer at universities in the United States and abroad, 1969–. Military service: U.S. Army Reserves, 1959–65; became sergeant.
MEMBER: Century Association.
Me and DiMaggio: A Baseball Fan Goes in Search of His Gods (nonfiction), Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1986.
A Crooked Man (novel), Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1995.
The Mad Cook of Pymatuning (novel), Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2005.
SIDELIGHTS: Christopher Lehmann-Haupt served as the chief daily book reviewer for the New York Times for more than thirty years. In that time, he was regarded as one of the most influential American literary critics of the late twentieth century. A review by Lehmann-Haupt in the Times was a mark of distinction for any author, even if the critic expressed a negative opinion of the book.
When Lehmann-Haupt decided it was time to move on from his long-held position, he became an obituarist for the newspaper. He told Gadfly interviewer David McNair that after so many years, he wanted to try something different—"reviewing people instead of books." Lehmann-Haupt's retirement from the top book reviewer's post also gave him more time to devote to his own fiction. In 2005 he published The Mad Cook of Pymatuning, a "chilling" novel, according to a Kirkus Reviews writer. The story is set in a summer camp during the 1950s. Camp Seneca is home to Redclaw, a Native American who terrifies the campers, with the camp owners' permission. Narrated by Jerry, one of the campers, this is "a polished work of suspense," stated the Kirkus Reviews contributor. Nancy McNichol, reviewing the book in Library Journal, praised Lehmann-Haupt for creating "complex and promising circumstances" for a horror novel and enhancing them with "deftly handled action sequences."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Lehmann-Haupt, Christopher, Me and DiMaggio: A Baseball Fan Goes in Search of His Gods, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1986.
Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2005, review of The Mad Cook of Pymatuning, p. 758.
Library Journal, September 1, 2005, Nancy McNichol, review of The Mad Cook of Pymatuning, p. 131.
Publishers Weekly, July 11, 2005, review of The Mad Cook of Pymatuning, p. 57.
Gadfly, http://www.gadflyonline.com/ (June 17, 2002), David McNair, interview with Christopher Lehmann-Haupt.