The Paris Review’s Only Female Editor Has Been Almost Entirely Erased From History

by Lydia Wang


In the midst of sexual harassment allegations, The Paris Review editor Lorin Stein resigned on Wednesday. The next day, writer A. N. Devers noticed something disturbing about the coverage of Stein’s resignation: the complete erasure of Brigid Hughes, who held Stein’s title for over a year starting in 2004.

“I’m going to show you how a woman is erased from her job,” A. N. Devers began in a Twitter thread that gained traction in journalism and media circles. Devers went on to point out the timeline of the Review’s editor turnover, starting with Hughes succeeding first editor George Plimpton after his death. Hughes was then fired in 2005 because, as Devers wrote, the male-dominated board wanted “a well-known male” as the face of the publication.

Philip Gourevitch was hired to replace Hughes, and Stein was hired to replace Gourevitch after he stepped down in 2010. Since Stein’s appointment, two New York Times articles on the editorial turnaround have neglected to mention Hughes’ role as the magazine’s second editor, and her ten-year career on the publication’s staff. Gourevitch is regularly named the Review’s second editor, and Stein named the third.

“I like and respect so much about [The Paris Review],” Devers tweeted. “But it is wrong, this erasure. And in light of this news, one does wonder what could have been with Brigid Hughes at the helm.” The news, of course, is Stein’s admission, as quoted in the Times, that he “blurred the personal and professional in ways that were…disrespectful of my colleagues and my contributors, and that made them feel uncomfortable or demeaned.”

The New York Times has since corrected these errors. Hughes is the founder and editor of A Public Space, which has published work by writers including Jesmyn Ward, Anne Carson, and Haruki Murakami.


Top photo via The Paris Review

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