Lingua Franca (magazine)

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Lingua Franca was an American magazine about intellectual and literary life in academia.

Founding[edit]

The magazine was founded in 1990 by Jeffrey Kittay, an editor and Professor of French Literature at Yale University. Kittay, as the New York Times reported, "saw a niche for vivid reporting about the academic world and especially about its many personal feuds and intellectual controversies." Kittay told the newspaper, "I was an academic who was very, very hungry for information about what made my profession so alive, where people became passionate about abstract ideas."[1] The New York Observer described the magazine's impact, "It soon became a much-talked-about phenomenon inside and outside academia";[2] as the Village Voice expressed it in November, 2000, on the journal's tenth anniversary, "Lingua Franca's influence on nineties magazine culture has been so strong, it's sometimes hard to remember that it was unique in academia when it began."[3]

Contributors[edit]

Contributors included editors and writers who went on to careers at The New Republic, Time, Slate, The New York Times Book Review, and The New Yorker: Peter Beinart, Lev Grossman, Fred Kaplan, Robert S. Boynton, Warren St. John, Jonathan Mahler, Jennifer Schuessler. As cultural critic Ron Rosenbaum wrote in The New York Observer, "The kind of writing about ideas that once found a home at Lingua Franca has since — with the assistance of many talented Lingua Franca alumni, both writers and editors — succeeded in changing the face of serious journalism for the better."[4]

Editors[edit]

Jeffrey Kittay served as the magazine's editor-in-chief. For its first year, the editor was Peter Edidin. From 1991-1994, Lingua Franca was co-edited by Judith Shulevitz and Margaret Talbot. It was edited thereafter by Alexander Star and Emily Eakin. The New York Times critic A.O. Scott served as a senior editor, as did New Yorker features editor Daniel Zalewski.[5] Historian and journalist Rick Perlstein, the author of Nixonland, began his journalism career as an intern there, later becoming associate editor.

Sokal Affair[edit]

Lingua Franca was where the Sokal Affair — a parody of academic practices and post-structuralist language — was first revealed;[6] Lingua Franca editors later published a book (The Sokal Hoax) of selected papers on the subject.

Final issue[edit]

The magazine halted publication during the 2001 economic downturn.[7] The following year, editor Alexander Star collected and published an anthology: Quick Studies: The Best of Lingua Franca. New Yorker editor David Remnick told The New York Times, "That is terrible. I really enjoyed it — I always found something fascinating to read in that magazine, and not infrequently something that I wish we had had for The New Yorker.

In 2006, at age 19, the computer prodigy Aaron Swartz wrote a program to put up a mirror archive on the web. [1]

Honors[edit]

Lingua Franca received the National Magazine Award for General Excellence (under 100,000 circulation) in 1993.[8] The magazine was nominated again in 1994, 1996, 1998, and 1999.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ David D. Kirkpatrick, "A Journal of Academic Life Halts Publication," The New York Times, October 18, 2001.
  2. ^ Ron Rosenbaum, "When Intellectuals Had a Real Magazine: Viva Lingua Franca!," The New York Observer, April 24, 2006.
  3. ^ Norah Vincent , "A Class Act: Happy Birthday, ‘Lingua Franca’" The Village Voice, November 11, 2000.
  4. ^ Ron Rosenbaum, "When Intellectuals Had a Real Magazine: Viva Lingua Franca!," The New York Observer, April 24, 2006.
  5. ^ Vincent, Village Voice, November 11, 2000.
  6. ^ Alan Sokal, "A Physicist Experiments With Cultural Studies," Lingua Franca, May/June, 1996.
  7. ^ David D. Kirkpatrick, "A Journal of Academic Life Halts Publication," The New York Times, October 18, 2001.
  8. ^ Paula Span, "Lingua Franca, the Magazine of Naked Academia; It's Taken the Starch Out of Scholars and The Ivy Off the Walls," The Washington Post, May 25, 1993.

External links[edit]