Stanley Lindberg (1939-2000)
As editor of the Georgia Review from 1977 until his death, Stanley Lindberg was nationally and internationally recognized for transforming a good regional literary magazine into one of the best magazines of its time, a handsome and colorful quarterly filled with excellent essays, poetry, fiction, and artwork created by distinguished artists from the state, the South, the nation, and abroad. In addition, he conceived and produced, or shared responsibility for, some of the most daring and stimulating cultural events the state of Georgia has hosted, including a celebration of Georgia's own heritage in creative writing—the "Roots in Georgia" Literary Symposium of 1985—and a remarkable international gathering of recipients of the Nobel Prize in Literature held in conjunction with the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. In 1986 Lindberg received the first Governor's Award in the Humanities.
Stanley W. Lindberg was born on November 18, 1939, in Warren, Pennsylvania. He wrote his Ph.D. dissertation at the University of Pennsylvania on the eighteenth-century essayist and dictionary maker Samuel Johnson, a model of the clear, intelligent, strong expression that he later sought in the writers he published in the Georgia Review. Lindberg had achieved distinction as a scholar and editor before he came to the Department of English at the University of Georgia in 1977 from Ohio University, where he had already raised a regional literary magazine, the Ohio Review, to national prominence.
The success of the Georgia Review during Lindberg's more than twenty years as editor marks his greatest achievement. Under his direction the Georgia Review received increasing praise and won a number of state and national awards for its editorial excellence. In 1986, outshining such well-financed commercial magazines as the New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, and Harper's, the Georgia Review won a prestigious National Magazine Award in Fiction.
In recommending Lindberg for a University Professorship at the University of Georgia, which he received in 1999, a committee of scholars and writers observed that Lindberg had made the Georgia Review "the single most widely respected and sought after literary review published in the United States." Competing against commercial magazines with enormous budgets, Lindberg repeatedly attracted into the pages of the Georgia Review such notable writers as Rita Dove, Shelby Foote, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Seamus Heaney, Joyce Carol Oates, John Updike, Robert Penn Warren, and Eudora Welty.
Recognition of Lindberg's editorial role in the development of the Georgia Review made him widely sought after as a speaker and consultant on editing, publishing, and writing. He collaborated with L. Ray Patterson, a University of Georgia colleague, to write a valuable book on American copyright law, The Nature of Copyright: A Law of Users' Rights (1991). He also edited or coedited a number of books, including two anthologies of the best poetry (Keener Sounds, 1987) and fiction (Necessary Fictions, 1986) from the Georgia Review and a volume containing selections from a famous American textbook series known as McGuffey's Readers (The Annotated McGuffey, 1976).
Lindberg's high regard for clarity and precision extended to a love for music and a dedication to the humanistic enterprises of the University of Georgia and its Department of English, both of which he served in important capacities. His greatest legacy to the state of Georgia remains, however, his tenure with the Georgia Review. He not only attracted writers who were well established and sought after, but he also discovered, nurtured, and promoted many new talents.
Lindberg died in Atlanta on January 18, 2000.