50 Jahre „The New York Review of Books“

Meine Lieblingszeitschrift habe ich bereits oft empfohlen. Dieses Jahr wird sie 50 Jahre alt und in der Jubiläumsausgabe (Number 17) beschreibt Timothy Garton Ash sie als einen Leuchtturm der Aufklärung:

Consistently, over five decades, this journal has published critical essays, reportages, and analyses of totalitarian and authoritarian states, whether their rulers were opposed to or currently aligned with the United States: friendly dictatorships in Latin America; the Soviet Union, subsequently just Russia; China; South Africa; Eastern Europe, when it still existed as a geopolitical entity; Iran; Nicaragua; Iraq; Vietnam; Egypt.
These exposés have been written by dissident writers inside those countries and Western writers traveling through them.
We could also call it Applied Enlightenment. Indeed, this journal has been—not always, to be sure, but in very large measure—the vehicle for a modernized version of the European-American Enlightenment (as well as publishing some of Isaiah Berlin’s strongest essays on thinkers who challenged that Enlightenment). Many of its contributors have both applied and extended the original Enlightenment principles of equal individual human liberty and dignity under law, at home and abroad, and explored the social and economic conditions that are an essential complement to those civil and political rights.

Meanwhile, the whole community of Review writers and readers has been a contemporary equivalent of the Enlightenment’s “republic of letters.” It has been a surprise to discover, at a series of recent conferences organized by the Review, that many longtime contributors had never before met in person, but merely read each other for years, and perhaps corresponded, publicly and privately—exactly like those seventeenth- and eighteenth-century literati and savants whose correspondence you can now read on an Oxford University website called Electronic Enlightenment.

This republic of letters might further be characterized as the Widest West. Its core undoubtedly remains in North America and Europe. Indeed, despite several brave European attempts to create a pan-European intellectual review, The New York Review is the closest thing we Europeans have had to a European Review of Books. But our republic also extends to the whole English-speaking world, Latin America, and South Africa—and to wherever, be it in India, Burma, Egypt, or China, there are writers and readers who share the basic values of this modernized version of the Enlightenment.

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