Magazines, Money, Modernism

The Millions has a post on the economics of contemporary literary magazines.  It’s interesting on several fronts, but what strikes me is that the old $ vs. aesthetic autonomy debate remains very much alive in the lit mag world.  The piece’s author’s anxiety about sounding for one second like he might be perceived as caring as much about getting paid as he does about art is palpable.  Despite all the claims for postmodernism’s having gotten us all beyond this kind ofcontamination anxiety, that doesn’t seem to be the case with literary magazines.  I suspect this lingering modernism is a product of these magazines’ and of so many contemporary writers’ placement within the academy, where modernist ideals still rule even if they don’t anywhere else.  Of course, the obvious response to this suggestion is that it was never the modernists who cared about contamination–it was the academics.

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