Wednesday, February 17, 2021

In case you wondered …

… What Are Magazines Good For? | The New Yorker. (Hat tip, Paul Davis.)

“Magazine,” which comes from the word for “storehouse,” shares an etymology with the French magasin, or “shop”: the concept was to bring different offerings together, and accordingly they became venues where key dramas of the early nation played out. Debate between the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans (federal control versus states’ rights) was carried out largely in the volley of The Port Folio and The National Magazine. The dissolution of the Whigs into the Know-Nothings (the Proud Boys of the eighteen-fifties, as Lomazow likes to describe them) happened largely in the nativist turn of The American Review. These dramas are borne out in the Grolier’s one-room display, the paper trail of a nation running, stumbling, and trying to carry its unifying ideas forward.

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