Saturday, April 07, 2007

A Note On The Paris Review

I'm reading the Spring 2007 issue of The Paris Review (Number 180). Included are interviews with Harry Matthews and Jorge Semprun, letters Flaubert wrote to himself, and poetry by Mary Kinzie, Sharon Olds, Eavan Boland, Victoria Chang, and others.

Why does the "new" Paris Review under Philip Gourevitch seem less accessible, less reader-friendly, more "arch" than the old Paris Review? It's always been a snobby little place: essential, exclusive, the "best of the best," yes, but in the old days I at least felt in on the joke. Recently, everything is steely smooth surfaces and not much fun.

The odd thing is that as the journal has begun to feel less accessible, the institution of The Paris Review has opened up; its web page is alive and they sent representatives to the AWP Conference who actually seemed as interested in the journal's readership as in the daily specials at Elaine's.

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