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Friday, December 14, 2007

All the Broke Young Literary Magazines

posted by on December 14 at 16:21 PM

I followed Christopher’s advice in last week’s Suggests:

It’s a little hard to describe n+1 because n+1 belongs in another time. If Mary McCarthy were alive today, it is the journal she would write for. Its four editors met at Harvard, live in New York City, and like ideas. All they really want to do is go around the corner and get a beer and talk/fight about Isaac Babel or Radiohead or McSweeney’s or the state of American fiction or how much exercise sucks. Tonight, two of the editorial brass, Keith Gessen and Chad Harbach, read from issue number six.

I’m glad I did—the three editors (managing editor Alexandra Heifetz read, too) were smart and funny in a sad-sack way. They’d been on the road for a few weeks and announced, as soon as they got on stage, that the magazine was broke.

(Not least because they threw a too-expensive, poorly attended fundraising party in San Francisco. The irony: n+1 has, in the past, smacked around McSweeney’s, which started in San Francisco. “We overestimated how many people loved us in San Francisco,” one of the editors said.)

Frizzelle wrote a good story about it in this week’s paper—about n+1 publications (“Caleb Crain compares reading Henry James to smoking crack”), about the audience (“one of them was a guy more or less the size of New Hampshire”), and about the pathos (“a lot of the audience left without buying stuff”).

Read all about it.

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I'm sure the n+1 editors mean well and all, but what kind of reaction did they expect out on the west coast? Hatin' begets hatin', buddy.

Posted by Why Can't We All Just Get Along | December 14, 2007 4:27 PM

"Getting along" is nice and all, but it's fucking boring as hell.

We should leave Iraq and invade Europe.

Posted by Mr. Poe | December 14, 2007 4:32 PM
"We felt literary culture had become too nicey nice."

It's interesting that the Believer launched at approximately the same time at n + 1 for the opposite reason.

Posted by josh | December 14, 2007 5:03 PM

I don't mean to be falsely nostalgic, C and B, but I find it hard to compare anything to the mid-century salad days of the public intellectual. Think that the McCarthy/Hellman feud, as hilarious and venomous and ruinous as it was, was spawned by not just personal animosity or intellectual disagreement, but by the fact that the former was a Troskyite and the latter a Stalinist and then wonder, does today's intellectual, concerned with such issues as "is McSweeney's truly good?" actually have anything at stake? Politically, ethically, aesthetically? We treat intellectuals as health food, but if we really valued them (or they themselves) wouldn't they be potential menaces?

Posted by Eric F | December 14, 2007 5:16 PM

Where's a link to the subject of this post?

Posted by Smarm | December 14, 2007 11:56 PM

Here's a link: n+1.

Posted by Caleb | December 15, 2007 5:50 AM

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