Lewis Lapham's new history and current events magazine getting very mixed reviewsHistorians in the News
Mr. Lapham, who edited Harper’s Magazine for nearly 30 years, retired from that job in 2006 only to start a new publication, Lapham’s Quarterly, which reached newsstands last month. Unlike Harper’s, which tackles a blend of topics each month, the new journal takes on a single subject — in the debut issue, war — and offers writings about it from ancient to modern times....
He acknowledged that the publication, which costs $15 an issue, would not appeal to a mass audience. But he said he was encouraged by the popularity of the History Channel and by sales of books like David McCullough’s biography of John Adams.
“The great rush of the electronic media tends to eliminate the past,” he said. “Everything is right now or 20 minutes from now, and this gives a sense of context and continuity. People like that.”
Apparently not all people. In The New Criterion, a conservative monthly journal, Roger Kimball, the editor, twice used the word “pretentiousness” in his assessment of the new magazine. He said Mr. Lapham’s “command of inconsequentiality has elicited comment for years.” Robert Wilson, editor of The American Scholar, found Lapham’s Quarterly “very smart” but said that because of the many contributors who were dead, “it feels a little like a museum.”
Samir A. Husni, the head of the journalism department at the University of Mississippi, said, “It’s not something that I would come back from work and say, ‘O.K., let me relax, have a glass of wine and read this magazine,’ which I would have done with Harper’s.” He added, “If you are interested in this topic, in those books, you have probably read them, you have probably spent time with them. And if you are not familiar with them, the presentation is not inviting.”
comments powered by Disqus
Randll Reese Besch - 1/2/2008
From what I have assessed from the article the magazine doesn't want the likes of me reading it. The cost alone puts it in the relm of the academic or university, maybe libraries if they have the money. Outside of my price range. I would be interested in reading at least one issue to fully review if its body is firm and substantial in its scholarship and 'meat' of the topic covered.
- Now it’s the University of Louisville’s turn to remove a Confederate statue
- A fortress built by Alexander the Great after he conquered Jerusalem has been discovered
- Yale students protest decision to keep Calhoun’s name
- Six maps that will make you rethink the world
- Middle Tenn. State President Wants to Strip Confederate General’s Name From Building
- The historian and cartographer Bill Rankin has developed a new way to visualize slavery
- Paula S. Fass says young Americans need required national service
- Historians are now trying to show that the gay revolution also took place in the midwest
- The Unconference Movement Grows – And Historians Are Taking the Lead
- New appeal to "Bring Back Military History"