The following editorial ran in the Winter 2013 issue of The Antioch Review introducing the journal’s electronic subscription option through JSTOR. Robert S. Fogarty, editor, introduces our approach of moving into the digital age by making available to our readers, an electronic version. You can learn more about how to subscribe to it by going to the subscription page. It’s a smart way to always have available, not a pared-down version, but rather a full digital replication of The Antioch Review on any electronic device you use.
Our Doppelganger Moment
With this issue we enter into our doppelganger phase with an electronic version available through JSTOR, the highly regarded nonprofit organization headquartered in New York that has specialized in providing libraries all over the world with digitized versions of periodicals (particularly those with long runs like the Antioch Review). Recently they have branched out and now provide digital editions to individuals, corporations, and other entities that want an electronic version of a current magazine.
In recent years numerous publications have eliminated their print editions in favor of a single electronically formatted version appropriate for tablets, Kindles, Nooks, personal computers, and other devices. Newsweek is now available only online and a year ago The Wilson Quarterly asked their readers to accompany them on what they referred to as a “digital journey.” They both went solo. Unlike these two distinguished publications we have opted to go down the doppelganger road with our print version as before, but now our shadow will be available for those of you (libraries and individuals) who prefer to get your Antioch Review that way. We are now “double walkers.”
It is just common sense for us to continue with the print tradition and make the necessary adjustment to the times. It will be the same magazine in both forms, and included in both will be a four-color version of our handsome covers. The digital shadow version will not be a minor league publication with also-ran authors appearing (those who could not make the cut for the hard-copy print edition). They will be separate and equal.
For a number of years our good friend in London, James Campbell, an editor at the TLS and Review author, has been publishing in his book column, N B, the results of his Christmas used-book perambulations when he goes in search of books to give as Yuletide gifts. He usually comes up with an interesting and assorted batch of titles gleaned from shops near Charing Cross and Hampstead, spending a modest five pounds per book.
In a recent issue of TLS (October 5, 2012) he describes at some length his autumnal trek that sums up our sentiments about our desire to keep the old and embrace the new: “Second-hand bookshops have been assumed to be in danger for several years now, with reason. New York friends lament the disappearance of neighborhood favourites. Abebooks can supply most things at the click of a mouse. Many people find convenience in ebooks and e-readers, and if they are happy, we’re happy too. It makes us even happier to report that all the shops we mentioned last year (sixteen) are still in business. A book is a book is a book. You cannot own an ebook. It has no aesthetic properties, no ornamentation, no weight, no smell, in short, no character. It offers no choice between nice to handle and that experience’s opposite. It does not furnish a room.”
Our “product” line for this number leads off with an essay by one of our regulars, Bruce Fleming, who—appropriately enough for a premier electronic issue—deals with the question of obsolescence (e.g., the videocassette) and how its disappearance raises questions about the nature of progress. Marcia Cavell’s memoir about her mother (“Trains”) is about a transient life during a period when locomotives meant freedom. Curious, of course, from the point of progress that they are still around both above and even beneath the waters like in a Jules Verne story. Anis Shivani, a bold critic, explores the characters that abound in contemporary novels inspired by cosmopolitan urban life on several continents where multicultural values have seemingly won the literary day while “bad” Muslims grab the headlines.
Jeffrey Meyers is back here once again with an assessment of Ted Hughes as a war poet writing in the aftermath of “the war to end all wars” so evocatively presented in Adam Hochchilds’s recent work. And finally our essay section concludes with a grisly account of lion hunting by a young essayist and a sensitive look at both personal and recent history.
Our short fiction is both serious and comic, with Paul Christensen and Robert Ready on the dark side and Rick DeMarinis on the light side. Our poetry section has a long poem by Richard Howard that explores the world of the Fifth Grade and our Continental poetry expert John Taylor explores Florence and the ”inner world” poetry of the neglected Italian modernist, Lorenzo Calogero (1910-1961).
We have taken the plunge into the electronic world and so far it has gone well. We hope to see new subscribers and reach our older established audience. Whether you are a flaneur or a double walker let us know your thoughts about this issue and the progress we are making.
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