European Review of Books

The European Review of Books will be a multi-lingual, pan-European magazine of culture and commentary, in print and online.  Their first issue will be launched in May.

Something called The European Review of Books will of course spark very different sentiments—aspiration, nostalgia, bitterness, scorn, confusion, delight—depending on where you are. The title is both a game and a commitment. It calls to mind the New York Review of Books and the London Review of Books, great magazines I subscribe to and admire. But the ERB has a different purpose and will have a weirder shape. While it channels a longstanding “European” cultural aspiration, sure, experimentalism can sneak in under that staidness. Imagine something called, say, the Zemblan Review of Books, or the Esperanto Review of Political Theory, or the Klingon Review of Horticulture, or the Utopian Review of Bicycles.

Their commitment is to a literary culture beyond the nation and the metropole. They want a magazine for great original essays and great criticism, in English and in a writer’s mother tongue. They landed on that approach to language pretty early: strategic bilingualism. It’s strategic in that there’s no other way to do it. But it marks a grander commitment, too: to give good writing that double form, and to have it resonate within and beyond particular places.