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James Robert Atlas (March 22, 1949 – September 4, 2019) was the president of Atlas & Company, publishers, and founding editor of the Penguin Lives Series.[1] He was born in Evanston, Illinois. A Harvard graduate, Rhodes Scholar, and onetime contributor to The New Yorker, he was an editor at The New York Times Magazine for many years.[2] He edited volumes of poetry and wrote several novels and two biographies. In 2002, he started Atlas Books, which at one time published two series in conjunction with HarperCollins and W.W. Norton. In 2007, the company was renamed Atlas & Company, to coincide with the launch of its new list. Atlas's work appeared in The New York Times Book Review,[3] The New York Review of Books, The London Review of Books, Vanity Fair, Harper's,[4] New York Magazine,[5] and Huffington Post.[6] Atlas died in Manhattan, New York on September 4, 2019 from complications of a lung condition.[7]


  • Ten American Poets: An Anthology of Poems, Cheadle: Carcanet Press, 1973
  • Delmore Schwartz: The Life of an American Poet, New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1977 (nominated for the National Book Award)
  • Battle of the Books: The Curriculum Debate in America, W.W. Norton: 1993
  • Bellow: A Biography, New York: Random House and London: Faber, 2000 (He is also the editor of Saul Bellow's collection of novels in Library of America)
  • My Life in the Middle Ages: A Survivor's Tale, New York: HarperCollins, 2005 (An adaptation of a series of articles he did for The New Yorker, and The Great Pretender, a semi-autobiographical novel about coming of age in the 1960s. He is a longtime board member of the Harvard Advocate, which has previously published his work.
  • How They See Us: Meditations on America. Atlas. 2009. ISBN 978-1-934633-10-6., (editor) regarding some global views of America.
  • The Shadow in the Garden: A Biographer's Tale, Pantheon Books, New York 2017


  1. ^
  2. ^ World Archipelago. "author-details". Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  3. ^ "James Atlas - The New York Review of Books". Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  4. ^ "James Atlas". Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  5. ^ "Learning to Live with Failure in New York City". Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  6. ^ Atlas, James. "James Atlas". Huffington Post.
  7. ^

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