The New Criterion
|Editor and publisher||Roger Kimball|
|Publisher||The Foundation for Cultural Review|
|Based in||New York City|
The New Criterion is a New York-based monthly literary magazine and journal of artistic and cultural criticism, edited by Roger Kimball (Editor & Publisher), James Panero (Executive Editor) and Emily Esfahani Smith (Managing Editor). It has sections for criticism of poetry, theater, art, music, the media, and books. It was founded in 1982 by Hilton Kramer, former art critic for The New York Times, and Samuel Lipman, a pianist and music critic; the name is a reference to The Criterion, a British literary magazine edited by T. S. Eliot from 1922 to 1939.
The magazine is influential, and describes itself as a "monthly review of the arts and intellectual life [...] in the forefront both of championing what is best and most humanely vital in our cultural inheritance and in exposing what is mendacious, corrosive, and spurious." It evinces an artistic classicism and political conservatism that is rare among other publications of its type.
It regularly publishes "special pamphlets," or compilations of published material organized into themes. Some past examples have been Corrupt Humanitarianism; Religion, Manners and Morals in the U.S. and Great Britain; and Reflections on Anti-Americanism.
TNC has been running The New Criterion Poetry Prize, a poetry contest with a cash prize, since 1999. In 2004, New Criterion contributors began publishing a blog, known as ArmaVirumque.
The New Criterion was founded in 1982 by The New York Times art critic Hilton Kramer. He cited his reasons for leaving the paper to start TNC as "the disgusting and deleterious doctrines with which the most popular of our Reviews disgraces its pages," as well as "the dishonesties and hypocrisies and disfiguring ideologies that nowadays afflict the criticism of the arts, [which] are deeply rooted in both our commercial and our academic culture [...]"
"It is therefore all the more urgent," he went on to say, "that a dissenting critical voice be heard, and it is for the purpose of providing such a voice that The New Criterion has been created."
The choice of Kramer to leave the New York Times, where he had been the newspaper's chief art critic, and start a magazine devoted to ideas and the arts "surprised a lot of people and was a statement in itself," according to Erich Eichmann.
In its first issue, dated September 1982, the magazine set out "to speak plainly and vigorously about the problems that beset the life of the artists and the life of the mind in our society" while resisting "a more general cultural drift" that had in many cases "condemned true seriousness to a fugitive existence."
The New Criterion has been highly influential in the way that conservatives think about culture.
Writer Jeet Heer has argued that the journal is mistaken in attempting to draw such a strong distinction between high culture and popular culture, and that the unreasonable nature of this proposition is partly demonstrated by the fact that a number of NC contributors write enthusiastically about aspects of popular culture in other publications.
According to the conservative publication The New York Sun, for a quarter of a century The New Criterion "has helped its readers distinguish achievement from failure in painting, music, dance, literature, theater, and other arts. The magazine, whose circulation is 6,500, has taken a leading role in the culture wars, publishing articles whose titles are an intellectual call to arms."
Former associate editor of The New Criterion Christopher Carduff said to The New York Sun: "I think that what initially made it a sensation — and, in certain quarters, a scandal, was its courage to make judgments about contemporary art, to separate the sheep from the goats. Or, more to the point, to separate the sheep from the pigs in sheep's clothing."
New Criterion anthologies
- Counterpoints: 25 Years of The New Criterion on Culture and the Arts, edited by Roger Kimball and Hilton Kramer; Ivan R. Dee, 512 pages, (2007). ISBN 1-56663-706-6 ISBN 978-1566637060
- Against the Grain: The New Criterion on Art and Intellect at the End of the 20th Century, edited by Hilton Kramer and Roger Kimball; Ivan R. Dee, 477 pages (1995). ISBN 1-56663-069-X ISBN 978-1566630696
- The New Criterion Reader: The First Five Years, edited by Hilton Kramer; Free Press, 429 pages (1988). ISBN 0-02-917641-7 ISBN 978-0029176412
New Criterion books
- Lengthened Shadows: America and Its Institutions in the Twenty-First Century, edited by Roger Kimball and Hilton Kramer; Encounter Books, 266 pages (2004). ISBN 1-59403-054-5 ISBN 978-1594030543
- The Survival of Culture: Permanent Values in a Virtual Age, edited by Hilton Kramer and Roger Kimball; Ivan R. Dee, 256 pages (2002). ISBN 1-56663-466-0, ISBN 978-1-56663-466-3
- The Betrayal of Liberalism: How the Disciples of Freedom and Equality Helped Foster the Illiberal Politics of Coercion and Control edited by Hilton Kramer and Roger Kimball; Ivan R. Dee, 256 pages (1999). ISBN 1-56663-257-9, ISBN 978-1-56663-257-7
- The Future of the European Past edited by Hilton Kramer and Roger Kimball; Ivan R. Dee, 251 pages (1997). ISBN 1-56663-178-5, ISBN 978-1-56663-178-5
The New Criterion Poetry Prize
These poets have won the prize; all have been published by Ivan R. Dee of Chicago:
- 2013: Dick Allen for This Shadowy Place; Judges: Debora Greger, TNC Editor and Publisher Roger Kimball, and TNC Executive Editor and poet David Yezzi.
- 2012: George Green for Lord Byron's Foot
- 2011: D.H. Tracy for Janet's Cottage
- 2010: Ashley Anna McHugh, Into These Knots (ISBN 156663878X)
- 2009: William Virgil Davis, Landscape and Journey (ISBN 1566638399)
- 2008: Daniel Brown (poet), Taking the Occasion (ISBN 1566638011),
- 2007: J. Allyn Rosser, Foiled Again (ISBN 1566638089); Judges: David Barber, Roger Kimball, Hilton Kramer, Rachel Hadas and David Yezzi
- 2006: Bill Coyle, The God of this World to His Prophet (ISBN 1566637104)
- 2005: Geoffrey Brock, Weighing Light (ISBN 1566636671); Judges: W. S. Di Piero, Roger Kimball, Hilton Kramer, Rachel Wetzsteon and David Yezzi
- 2003: Deborah Warren, Zero Meridian (ISBN 1566635969)
- 2002: Charles Tomlinson, Skywriting and other poems (ISBN 1566635411)
- 2001: Adam Kirsch, The Thousand Wells (ISBN 1566634512)
- 2000: Donald Petersen*, Early and Late: Selected poems (ISBN 1566633974)
- Jeet Heer, The New Criterion: The Unbearable Dourness of Being, Gravitas (Autumn 1996)
- Shapiro, Gary. Twenty-Five Years of Arts and Ideas, New York Sun, September 8, 2006
- David Yezzi's post at the Armavirumque blog, "the New Criterion Poetry Prize", posted 11 a.m., January 29, 2007, accessed February 1, 2007