Trow, George W.S. 1943-2006

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Trow, George W.S. 1943-2006

(George William Swift Trow, Jr.)

OBITUARY NOTICE— See index for CA sketch: Born September 28, 1943, in Greenwich, CT; died November 24, 2006, in Naples, Italy. Critic and author. Trow was a former New Yorker critic who lamented what he considered the demise of American culture at the hands of television. The son of a prominent New York Post editor, he graduated from Harvard University with a B.A. in English in 1965. His career as a society critic had already begun at Harvard, where he was the editor of the Harvard Lampoon. After university, he also contributed to the National Lampoon for some time. Hired by the New Yorker in 1966, Trow contributed short fiction and “Talk of the Town” articles. He gained particular attention in 1980 when he published his essay “Within the Context of No Context” in his magazine. Here he complained that substantive, intellectual discourse in America had died to be replaced by celebrity worship and bombast engendered by the rise of television. His arguments were expanded and published in book form in 1981. Although his title became a catch phrase among intellectual circles, Trow was also criticized for frequently offering unsubstantiated arguments and advising readers merely to “trust me on this one.” Becoming increasingly discontented by the state of the media, he quit the New Yorker in 1994 after Tina Brown took over as editor and hired comedienne Roseanne Barr to edit one of the issues. Trow left New York and took to wandering the countryside; at one point he underwent treatment at a psychiatric hospital. Eventually, he forsook his country completely for an expatriate life in Italy. Found dead in his Naples apartment from what local authorities described as natural causes, Trow left behind several works of fiction and nonfiction, including two coauthored movie screenplays:Savages (1972) and The Proprietor (1996). Among his other works are the plays Prairie Avenue (1979) and Elizabeth Dead (1980), the short-story collection Bullies (1980), the novel The City in the Mist (1984), and the nonfiction My Pilgrim’s Progress: Media Studies, 1950-1998 (1999) and The Harvard Black Rock Forest (2004).



Chicago Tribune, December 3, 2006, Section 4, p. 6. New York Times, December 1, 2006, p. C11.

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Trow, George W.S. 1943-2006

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