Discipline: Literature

Gilbert Seldes

Discipline: Literature
MacDowell fellowships: 1921, 1922
Gilbert Seldes (1893–1970) was an American writer and cultural critic. Seldes served as the editor and drama critic of the seminal modernist magazine The Dial and hosted the NBC television program The Subject is Jazz (1958). He also wrote for other magazines and newspapers like Vanity Fair and the Saturday Evening Post. He was most interested in American popular culture and cultural history. He wrote and adapted for Broadway, including Lysistrata and A Midsummer Night's Dream in the 1930s. Later, he made films, wrote radio scripts and became the first director of television for CBS News and the founding Dean of the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. He spent his career analyzing popular culture in America, advocating cultural democracy, and subsequently, calling for public criticism of the media. Near the end of his life, he quipped, “I've been carrying on a lover's quarrel with the popular arts for years ... It's been fun. Nothing like them.”