The literary journal is dead, long live the literary journal. Here’s a fairly hearty plug in the New York Times today for something called Electric Literature, a desperately trendy new journal aimed at hipster intellos. It is marketed solely for the e-readers — Kindle owners and so on — and endeavors to pay authors handsomely ($1000 a piece) with the money saved on printing costs.
“We have an optimistic message at a time of pessimism,” Mr. Hunter [one the founding editors] said. “As writers, we got tired of the doom and gloom. The future is not something you acquiesce to, it’s something you create.”
One thing Electric Literature seems good at is getting people to read serious literature, making it less like homework. As Sara Nelson, the books director of O, the Oprah Magazine, and former editor in chief of Publishers Weekly, said, “Anything that takes the starch out — go for it.”
It all looks a mite too “creative” for my tastes, but best of luck to them. If, however, you want to read some high-quality literary journalism of old school — maybe starchy, but not like homework — then I can think of nothing better than TAC’s new books issue. (Helen Rittelmeyer, in fact, has a excellent piece inside about coming to terms with Kindle.)
Why not subscribe now to enjoy full print and on-line access to TAC and its books section every month? You won’t regret it.