Friday, 3 February 2017

Prepared for the Worst - A History of the New Left Review

In the last couple of years, Perry Anderson and Francis Mulhern, both veterans of the New Left Review, have written long and considered articles on the new radical and leftwing journalism in the United States.  One of the journals they have picked out as noteworthy for its dynamism, ambition and intelligence is Jacobin, to which this blog frequently draws its readers' attention.  Another, perhaps more stylish and 'literary', is n+1, started by, amongst others, Benjamin Kunkel and Mark Greif.  Greif has recently published a collection of his essays, under the rather silly (alas) title Against Everything (just the kind of undergraduate attitudinizing which a writer like Adorno would have scorned).  Kunkel had earlier published an smart, streetwise introduction to contemporary Marxism hot on the heels of his fictional output.

Now I see (belatedly) that n+1 returned the favour with a long and intelligent review by Nikil Saval of a history of the NLR by Duncan Thompson, Pessimism of the Intellect? A History of the New Left Review (2009).  Saval, interestingly, will have none of Thompson's castigation of Perry Anderson's 'Olympian' 'pessimism', and sees resources of hope in the Review yet.   Here is Saval's review-essay, from the n+1 website:

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