Joshua Glenn

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Joshua Glenn
Joshua Glenn headshot.jpg
Born (1967-10-06) October 6, 1967 (age 53)
Boston, U.S.
OccupationAuthor, semiotician

Joshua Glenn (born October 6, 1967) is an American writer, editor, and semiotics analyst. He is the cofounder of the websites HiLobrow, Significant Objects, and Semionaut. In the 1990s he published the zine Hermenaut. He is married and has two sons.

Glenn was born and raised in Boston's Jamaica Plain neighborhood. He attended Boston Latin School and Williams College. He earned a Master's in Teaching from Boston University in 1993.


From 1992 through 2001 Glenn was publisher and coeditor of Hermenaut,[1] a philosophy and cultural criticism periodical, described as "a zine that gives voice to indie intellectual thought... a scholarly journal minus the university, a sounding board for thinking folk who operate outside the ivory tower".[2] Glenn wrote a feature in each issue on a single "hermenaut" or "outsider intellectual," including Theodor W. Adorno, Philip K. Dick, Bruce Lee, Oscar Wilde, Abbie Hoffman, and Simone Weil.[3] From 2000 to 2001, Glenn published and coedited the online journal and hosted its online salon, the Wicked Pavilion. During this period Glenn was a contributing editor to the website Feed[4] and to the British periodical The Idler.[5]

Online community projects[edit]

From 1994 through 1996, Glenn was an editor at the Minneapolis-based magazine Utne Reader. During that time, he served as a judge for the Independent Press Awards. He wrote for The Baffler and numerous other zines and independent magazines. He hosted online salons for Utne Reader, and contributed a chapter to the book Salons: The Joy of Conversation.[6]

Glenn was editorial director of the start-up Web business from 1996 through 1998.[7] The company provided user-friendly tools for online publishing, aggregated communities of interest, and published "streetsmart strategies for work, life, and everything else."[8] When the TV newsmagazine Nightline did an episode on Tripod, Glenn pranked the show's producers by making up digital newspeak ("Let's get FTP connectivity hyped up to the hilt. Let's get the synergies ramping with the daily rocket.") [9] When Tripod was acquired by Lycos in 2000, Glenn left to publish Hermenaut full-time.

Glenn worked at the Boston Globe's weekly Ideas section as an associate editor and columnist. From 2006 through 2008, Glenn wrote the Brainiac blog for the Boston Globe's Ideas section. On January 31, 2007, he scooped the Globe's coverage of the Mooninite attack on Boston.[10]

Semiotic explorations[edit]

In 2007, Glenn coedited Taking Things Seriously, a collection of 75 photos of and essays about objects of "unexpected significance", which made Entertainment Weekly's "Must List" in October 2007.[11] Glenn has referred to the book as "a long-delayed issue of Hermenaut."[12] In 2008, Glenn wrote The Idler's Glossary. Glenn and bookfuturist Matthew Battles launched the intellectual-cultural blog HiLobrow, named by TIME magazine one of the Best Blogs of 2010.[13] Glenn's ongoing research at HiLobrow includes a scheme to reperiodize America's generations, and analysis of science fiction published from 1904-33 — an era Glenn has named science fiction's "Radium Age."[14] Glenn has also written for the Washington Post,[15] the New York Times Book Review,[16] Slate,[17] Cabinet,[18] and the science-fiction blog io9.[19]

In July 2009, Glenn and Rob Walker launched the Significant Objects project, whose goal was to test the hypothesis "Stories are such a powerful driver of emotional value that their effect on any given object's subjective value can actually be measured objectively."[20] Glenn and Walker bought objects at thrift stores and yard sales, recruited one hundred authors — including Jonathan Lethem, Lydia Millet, Nicholson Baker, Colson Whitehead, and William Gibson — to write stories about those objects, then sold the objects on eBay, using the stories as item descriptions. The Guardian's Aditya Chakrabortty called the project "one of the most life-affirmingly cheeky studies I have seen for ages."[21] The project resulted in $128.74 worth of objects being sold for $3,612.51.[22] Two subsequent "volumes" of Significant Objects stories raised funds for the tutoring programs 826 National and Girls Write Now. Fantagraphics published a collection of Significant Objects stories in 2011.[23]

Glenn and Malcolm Evans, a British semiotician, launched Semionaut in 2010, an international website about semiotic cultural and brand analysis, with contributors from Brazil, China, Germany, India, Japan, Russia and Saudi Arabia. In 2011, Glenn and Mark Kingwell published The Wage Slave's Glossary, which "looks at the language we use to make sense of the interconnected world of work and leisure."[24]


In 2012, Bloomsbury published Joshua Glenn and Elizabeth Foy Larsen's family activities guide UNBORED: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun. "Fighting the war against techno-passivity, it reads like an old-fashioned child's activity book for a modern Gen-X parented family."[25] it was followed up with their family activities guide UNBORED Games: Serious Fun for Everyone.

Published works[edit]

  • Glenn, Joshua; Larsen, Elizabeth Foy (2014). UNBORED Games: Serious Fun for Everyone. Bloomsbury. p. 176. ISBN 978-1620407066.
  • Glenn, Joshua; Larsen, Elizabeth Foy (2012). UNBORED: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun. Bloomsbury. p. 352. ISBN 978-1608196418.
  • Glenn, Joshua (2011). The Wage Slave's Glossary. Biblioasis. p. 136. ISBN 978-1926845173.
  • Glenn, Joshua (2008). The Idler's Glossary. Biblioasis. p. 136. ISBN 978-1-897231-46-3.
  • Glenn, Joshua; Hayes, Carol (2007). Taking Things Seriously: 75 Objects with Unexpected Significance. Princeton Architectural Press. p. 176. ISBN 978-1-56898-690-6.


  1. ^ "hermenaut". Retrieved January 28, 2011.
  2. ^ Stutz, Michael (August 1998). "Street Academy". Wired. Retrieved January 28, 2011.
  3. ^ "Hermenaut article archive". Retrieved January 28, 2011.
  4. ^ "FEED Magazine: Joshua Glenn". FEED Inc. Archived from the original on December 24, 2010. Retrieved January 28, 2011.
  5. ^ Glenn, Joshua (1997). "Idle Idols: Henry Miller". The Idler. Retrieved January 28, 2011.
  6. ^ Spayde, Jon; Sandra, Jaida n'ha (2001). Salons: The Joy of Conversation. ISBN 0-86571-444-4.
  7. ^ "Joshua Glenn, LinkedIn Profile". Retrieved January 28, 2011.
  8. ^ Fink, Jeri (January 1999). How to use computers and cyberspace in the clinical practice of psychotherapy. Jason Aronson. p. 46. ISBN 0-7657-0173-1.
  9. ^ "YouTube tripod1997". YouTube. Retrieved January 28, 2011.
  10. ^ Glenn, Joshua (January 31, 2007). "Attack of the Mooninites!". Boston Globe. Retrieved January 28, 2011.
  11. ^ "From the October 26th, 2007 Issue: Ten Things We Love This Week". Entertainment Weekly. October 19, 2007. Retrieved January 28, 2011.
  12. ^ McLemee, Scott (October 24, 2007). "To the Things Themselves". Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved January 28, 2011.
  13. ^ Snyder, Stephen James (June 28, 2010). "HiLobrow - Best Blogs of 2010". TIME Magazine. Archived from the original on July 1, 2010. Retrieved January 28, 2011.
  14. ^ Glenn, Joshua (January 30, 2010). "Radium Age Robots". HiLobrow. Retrieved January 28, 2011.
  15. ^ Glenn, Joshua (July 11, 2010). "Shining a light on the way artificial light has changed our lives". Washington Post. Retrieved January 28, 2011.
  16. ^ Glenn, Joshua (January 28, 2007). "Hollow Earth by David Standish - Books - Review". The New York Times. Retrieved January 28, 2011.
  17. ^ "The slacktivism of Richard Linklater. - By Joshua Glenn". Slate Magazine. Retrieved January 28, 2011.
  18. ^ Glenn, Joshua. "CABINET // Joshua Glenn". Cabinet Magazine. Retrieved January 28, 2011.
  19. ^ "joshua glenn - io9". Gawker Media. Retrieved January 28, 2011.
  20. ^ "About the Significant Objects Project". Significant Objects. Retrieved January 29, 2011.
  21. ^ Chakrabortty, Aditya (December 21, 2010). "At Christmas, it's the thought that counts". The Guardian. London. Retrieved January 28, 2011.
  22. ^ Ramchandani, Ariel. "THE Q&A: ROB WALKER, CONSUMER, THINGAMABOB CONNOISSEUR". Intelligent Life Magazine. Retrieved January 28, 2011.
  23. ^ Reynolds, Eric (June 9, 2011). "Fantagraphics Announces SIGNIFICANT OBJECTS: THE BOOK!". Fantagraphics. Retrieved January 28, 2011.
  24. ^ The Wage Slave's Glossary Archived 2011-11-02 at the Wayback Machine
  25. ^ Kurutz, Stephen (March 13, 2013). "Go to Your Room (and Decorate)". The New York Times. Retrieved January 28, 2011.

External links[edit]