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Issue 11 – Trinity 2022

The Publisher's Desk

The Publisher's Desk

On glory days.


I can’t remember how long ago it was that I let my subscription to the New Yorker lapse, but it was years at least. At the time I was thinking of space; I was shortly to move house and I had stacks of weekly magazines that were delivered faster than I could acknowledge them, but also, I hadn’t found in its pages the magazine that its reputation suggested ought to be there. (For Rachel Hoover’s lament for another kind of reputational misrepresentation, see page 64).

An institution’s “glory days” are always an ambivalent topic: they can both make and break it in the present. A magazine that has a wonderful history to be drawn up and relished from the well of fifty-odd years may not deliver on that greatness week in and week out; you love what you have learned about what it was, and believe it still could be, but you can plainly see that it isn’t that, at least not now, or not all the time. (James Bond had this view of his own country’s decline; see Eduard Habsburg’s appreciation, page 61.)

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