In “The Genius of William Shawn, and the Invention of The New Yorker,” David Remnick praises Shawn’s sharp eye for talent,
“that essential component of any institution that wishes to develop: new talent with new things to say. The ’50s saw the rise of one such talent in particular, John Updike, who, for the next 55 years, was an unfailingly prolific and versatile contributor to The New Yorker. His fine-grained prose was there from the start, and, with time, his sharp-eyed intelligence alighted on seemingly every surface, subject, and subtext. Updike was, out of the box, an American writer of first rank. He was profoundly at home at The New Yorker and, at the same time, able to expand the boundaries of its readers’ tastes. He could seem tweedy and suburban—a modern, golf-playing squire—and yet, as a critic, he introduced to the magazine’s readers an array of modernists and postmodernists, along with writing from countries far beyond the Anglo-American boundaries; as a writer of fiction, he was not a revolutionary, but his short stories make up a vast social, political, and erotic history of postwar America, or at least some precincts of it.”
Here’s the full article.