August 14, 2008KR BlogUncategorized

In Memoriam: Rust Hills

In my continued mission to reclaim some lesser-known parts of Kenyon’s literary history, today I’ll put my vote toward the most underrated literary alum: L. Rust Hills, who died Tuesday at the age of 83.

As literary editor of Esquire Magazine during its time as the biggest magazine in the land– in the ’60’s, when he was a major force there, Esquire was publishing as much or more relevant fiction than the New Yorker and selling as many magazines as Life– Hills established himself as one of the great editors of his time, Esquire’s answer to William Maxwell (they both edited John Cheever, after all). He edited Richard Ford’s “Rock Springs.” He edited Delillo and Ann Beattie. And he came out of a Kenyon College where John Crowe Ransom was teaching English. So now when we mention Doctorow, and Gass and Lowell and Tate and Peter Taylor, maybe we should mention one of Kenyon’s great literary products along with them: Rust Hills.