The March issue of Open Letters Monthly went live this morning. It’s the journal’s 5th anniversary, and we’ve celebrated by paying tribute to some of the great critics of the last century–those who inspire, challenge, and provoke us as we try in our own ways to be the best critics we can be. The issue is a treasure trove of thoughtful analysis and personal reflection. Sam Sacks writes on Frank Kermode, the “wisest of secular clerics”; John Cotter covers Gore Vidal’s essays with authority; Steve Donoghue writes with feeling about the great Elizabeth Hardwick; Greg Waldmann recounts the inspirational effect of reading Edmund Wilson; Jeff Eaton takes us back to Emerson; Maureen Thorson looks at Randall Jarrell’s Poetry and the Age; Nicholas Nardini takes on Lionel Trilling, “godfather of the liberal imagination”; Dan Green offers a reconsideration of Richard Poirier’s A World Elsewhere; Stephen Akey appreciates Anthony Lane’s Nobody’s Perfect; and I face my fear and write for the first time about Virginia Woolf, in an essay on her Common Reader volumes. Also in the issue is our monthly poem and our regular mystery column, this time a retrospective on the life and work of Dame Agatha Christie. Every month we put out the very best critical writing we can, but this month’s focus on the critics we admire most seems to have motivated us to work even harder than usual. We’re very excited about the issue, and proud of all the work we’ve done–for five years now. I’ve only been on the masthead for a couple of those years, but I couldn’t be happier and prouder today to be a part of Open Letters.
I love that Open Letters Monthly is available online, free of cost. What a great resource! I am looking forward to spending some time early next week reading each essay. I can’t wait! And I am most interested to read your piece about the Common Reader volumes as I have owned them for several years and only read a few essays from them. I have to say, though, that I much prefer Woolf’s critical writing to her fiction writing. I am curious to read your view of her.
Ali, it is a wonderful thing that so many people–not just at OLM–are putting so much effort into online writing that’s freely available to everyone. I find it inspirational! I hope you enjoy the essays. I have struggled with Woolf’s fiction but always found her critical writing exhilarating: that’s the quality I tried to capture in my essay. Let me know what you think!