The New Criterion

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The New Criterion
Editor and publisher Roger Kimball
Categories Literary journal
Frequency Monthly
Circulation 6500
Publisher The Foundation for Cultural Review
First issue 1982
Country United States
Based in New York City
Language English
ISSN 0734-0222

The New Criterion is a New York-based monthly literary magazine and journal of artistic and cultural criticism, edited by Roger Kimball (Editor & Publisher) and James Panero (Executive 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,[1] 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."[2] 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."[3]

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.[4]

Noted contributors to the journal include Mark Steyn, as well as articles by Roger Scruton, David Pryce-Jones, Theodore Dalrymple, Jay Nordlinger, and others.

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.[1]

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.[1]

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."[4]

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[edit]

New Criterion books[edit]

The New Criterion Poetry Prize[edit]

Since 2000 the magazine has been awarding its poetry prize to a poet for "a book-length manuscript of poems that pay close attention to form".[5]

These poets have won the prize; all have been published by Ivan R. Dee of Chicago:


  1. ^ a b c Jeet Heer, The New Criterion: The Unbearable Dourness of Being, Gravitas (Autumn 1996)
  2. ^ "About Us". The New Criterion. Retrieved 2016-09-06. 
  3. ^ [1][dead link]
  4. ^ a b Shapiro, Gary. Twenty-Five Years of Arts and Ideas, New York Sun, September 8, 2006
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j David Yezzi's post at the Armavirumque blog, "the New Criterion Poetry Prize", posted 11 a.m., January 29, 2007, accessed February 1, 2007[dead link]
  6. ^ Kelly, Brian P. (2013-01-09). "Dick Allen wins 2013 New Criterion Poetry Prize by Brian P. Kelly". The New Criterion. Retrieved 2016-09-06. 
  7. ^ a b c "Bookstore". The New Criterion. Retrieved 2016-09-06. 

External links[edit]