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Front cover of Areté issue 20, 2006
CategoriesLiterary magazine
FounderCraig Raine
First issueWinter 1999; 21 years ago (1999)
CountryUnited Kingdom
Based inOxford

Areté is an arts magazine, published three times a year, edited and founded in 1999[1] by the poet Craig Raine. The magazine aims to give detailed coverage of theatre, fiction, and poetry, while also serving as a platform for new writing in all genres. Raine has described its editorial policy as to "publish anything we like. The result is a magazine catholic in its taste ... . The purpose of any literary magazine is the correction of taste, the creation of mischief and entertainment—and the discovery of new writers." [2]

The magazine has published contributions by a wide range of authors, including Ian McEwan, Patrick Marber, Tom Stoppard, and Julian Barnes. It has also promoted new authors such as Adam Thirlwell, Jeremy Noel-Tod, Peter Morris, James Womack and Tom Welsford. Members of Craig Raine's immediate family such as his wife Ann Pasternak Slater[3] and children Moses[4] and Nina Raine[5] have also been frequent contributors.

One of the publication's defining features is "Our Bold", in which the editorial team takes sloppy critics to task. (An index of "Our Bold" from issues 1–34 appears in issue 35, Autumn 2011). The magazine prides itself on high editorial standards and on close and accurate reading where others appear to have read superficially. Unashamedly nostalgic for the informed critical discourse of magazines such as the Paris Review, it is strongly associated with New College, Oxford, where its editorial offices are. The journal's trademark feather, or quill, which adorns its cover was created by the British artist Mark Alexander.

The journal's name is the Greek word for "virtue", and the journal is prefaced by a quotation from Paideia: The Ideals of Greek Culture by Werner Jaeger:

The Greeks felt that areté was, above everything else, a power, an ability to do something. Strength and health are the areté of the body; cleverness and insight the areté of the mind.

In April 2013, lapsed subscribers received a letter from Craig Raine which read as follows:

We have reason to believe that you have let your Areté subscription lapse. You should know that under byelaw 2771 of January 2003 (the Impoverished Little Magazines Act), this an offence with inevitable penalties, including: loss of intellectual credibility, increased risk of cerebral atrophy, collateral damage to your funny bone, restriction of your social circle, and spot checks by the Our Bold inspectorate.[6]

In May 2013, Areté published its 40th issue, a 504-page retrospective including pieces by, among others, William Boyd, Ralph Fiennes, Prue Leith and Anne Robinson.


  1. ^ Areté Books publicity insert in Issue 40
  2. ^ Introduction Areté 40, p.6
  3. ^ e.g. Mauschwitz, issue 39, Winter 2012
  4. ^ e.g. Jimmy Luck, issue 14, Autumn 2005.
  5. ^ e.g. Service, issue 26, Autumn 2008
  6. ^ Letter from Areté, dated Oxford, 23 April 2013.

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