Cultural Revolutions

Early Form

The Yale Lit. has returned, but not in the form that some Chronicles readers may remember from the early 80's, when Andrei Navrozov was editor. The undergraduate magazine (est. 1836) he turned into a national quarterly of arts, letters, and politics finished its run through the courts in 1986 and has now returned to the hands of Yale undergraduates.

For most of its 150-year history The Yale Literary Magazine was an independent, privately funded magazine edited by and for Yale undergrads. When in 1978 it seemed to be going under for a final time, due to lack of student interest and lack of funds, Yale senior Navrozov and some fellow students bought it for the token sum of one dollar. At that point they had the university's blessing. But when the magazine they produced proved to have both metered poetry and funding from some conservative foundations, this was too much for the Yale English department. They were hearing heresy from what they felt to be their own pulpit.

John Hollander, John Hersey and the like, with the help of then Yale President A. Bartlett Giamatti, decided to put the magazine out of business. Their strategy was to vilify the magazine's editors and to change the rules that defined Navrozov's legal relationship to the university. Once the matter went to court Yale's deep pockets were paired against the fundraising/PR machine of one Russion émigré and his...

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