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n+1 is an Americanmarker literary journal that publishes social criticism, political commentary, essays, art, poetry, book reviews, and short fiction. It is published twice a year, in the Spring and the Fall, but content is published on its website on a weekly basis. The journal averages in at around 200 pages in length and is based in New York Citymarker.


n+1 began in the Fall of 2004, the project of Keith Gessen, Benjamin Kunkel, Mark Greif, and Marco Roth. The journal, described by Gessen as "like Partisan Review, except not dead," was launched out of a feeling of dissatisfaction with the current intellectual scene in the United Statesmarker, with the editors often citing Lingua Franca and the early years of Partisan Review as models for their journal. Both of those journals embodied the age where the journal was a veritable institution and a major centre of innovation in arts and politics.

Their outlook is most frequently summed up by the last lines of their first issue where Gessen proclaimed, "it is time to say what you mean." Yet in the Third Issue, critic James Wood responded to criticism of his negative criticism and, singling out this quote by Gessen, stated, "The Editors had unwittingly proved the gravamen of their own critique: that it is easier to criticize than to propose."


The magazine's four editors are male, around thirty years of age, and have all earned masters or doctorates in literature from Ivy League schools.

Their mission is somewhat informed by critical theory, which they readily admit both the attraction and limitations of. In an article on theory, the editors said, "The big mistake right now would be to fail to keep faith with what theory once meant to us."

Their stance embraces theory but keeps a careful distance from the academicization of theory: "Theory is dead, and long live theory. The designated mourners have tenure, anyway, so they’ll be around a bit. As for the rest of us, an opening has emerged, in the novel and in intellect. What to do with it?" In this vein, they make frequent references to the Frankfurt School, often criticize the commodification of culture, and speak positively of writers such as Don DeLillo.


Each issue of n+1 opens with a section called The Intellectual Situation, which criticizes aspects of the current intellectual scene. For example, in the first issue, they called McSweeney's a "regressive avant-garde." They have also criticized The New Republic, The Weekly Standard, and literary figures such as Dale Peck. This is followed by a short Politics section. Most of each issue consists of fiction and essays. Issues then close with a review section, which consists of reviews of books, intellectual figures, and pop phenomena.

Critical Response to n+1

The journal has received mixed criticism to date. Generally, n+1's detractors are irked by the editors' youth, perceived elitism, and tendencies to fill up issues of the journal with their own writings. As the journal is purportedly an effort to engage a generation in a struggle against the current literary landscape, such seeming elitism seems counterintuitive to the ideals upon which the magazine was founded. The New Criterion critically asked, "is your journal really necessary?" and accused them of exaggerating their own importance. The Times Literary Supplement wryly satirized Kunkel's quote, "We're angrier than Dave Eggers and his crowd," and compared that quote against their Third Issue's unsigned article about and titled Dating.

Others have appreciated these very qualities, writing favorably of the boldness of the project itself and the sincerity and enthusiasm of its contributors. New York Times critic A.O. Scott commented on this in a feature article on the new wave of young, intellectual publications in a September 2005 issue of the New York Times Magazine, saying that n+1 was trying to "organize a generational struggle against laziness and cynicism, to raise once again the banners of creative enthusiasm and intellectual engagement" and that it had a feel that was "decidedly youthful, not only in [its] characteristic generational concerns — the habit of nonchalantly blending pop culture, literary esoterica and academic theory, for instance, or the unnerving ability to appear at once mocking and sincere — but also in the sense of bravado and grievance that ripples through their pages."


Well known contributors include:

See also


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