The New Criterion at 30

I was a charter subscriber to the New Criterion some 30 years ago. This past September the magazine kicked off its thirtieth anniversary festivities with an issue featuring such regulars as Jay Nordlinger (its music critic), James Bowman (its media critic) and Kevin Williamson (its theater critic) as well as such outstanding special contributors as Professor Michael Lewis, Alexander McCall Smith, Andrew McCarthy, and James Piereson. The issue has been posted online here.

I remember receiving the magazine’s pre-publication solicitation to subscribe in the mail. The magazine’s editor was to be the prominent New York Times art critic Hilton Kramer, whom I remembered as the author of the 1976 essay on the Hollywood blacklist (“The Blacklist and the Cold War”) that I thought was the best thing I had ever read in the Times. (The essay is now collected in Kramer’s The Twilight of the Intellectuals.) The publisher of the magazine was to be the estimable (prematurely deceased) Samuel Lipman, whom the masthead fondly memorializes as its founding publisher. The magazine was to take a traditionalist approach to matters cultural and literary.

The magazine sounded like a great idea to me. I happily signed up and have been a faithful reader ever since. You can now subscribe here to the magazine in your format of choice.

I think the magazine has more than fulfilled its promise and become a great magazine. Roger Kimball now serves as editor and publisher while David Yezzi and James Panero hold down the fort as executive editor and managing editor, respectively, with editorial assistance from Emily Esfahani Smith. (Roger Kimball has also taken over the reins at Encounter Books from founder Peter Collier.)

Hilton Kramer died this past spring. His death gave rise to an outpouring of lamentation mixed with celebration of his life and work. Roger Kimball contributed columns about him to the Wall Street Journal (here) and his PJ Media blog (here), as well as a not-to-be-missed essay to the New Criterion itself.

The New Criterion’s thirtieth year was full of highlights. The festivities continued through last month with each monthly issue. Steve Hayward highlighted James Piereson’s essay “The fourth revolution” as the article of the year upon its publication in the June issue last month.

Catching up recently with a few of the issues I had not made my way through yet, I found Peter Collier’s recollection of Christopher Hitchens from this past March, “Christopher, for better & for worse.” Don’t miss it.

Congratulations to our friends at the New Criterion on the achievement of the magazine’s milestone anniversary.

JOE CHIMES IN only to add that he had the pleasure on Thursday evening of dining with Roger Kimball and James Panero, the two stalwarts, not only of The New Criterion, but of critera withal–and can report that they are in fit and fighting condition. Rarely do causes as worthy at the New Cri come about, so I would exhort readers to support the magazine with a subscription. Or give a subscription as a gift: it will show how highly you think of the recipient.


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