Partisan Review
Partisan Review was an American political and literary quarterly published from 1934 to 2003, though it suspended publication between October 1936 and December 1937.


The journal was founded by William Phillips
William Phillips (editor)
William Phillips was an American editor, writer, and public intellectual, who co-founded the Partisan Review. Together with co-editor Philip Rahv, Phillips made the Partisan Review into one of the foremost journals of politics, literature, and the arts, particularly from the 1930s through the 1950s...

, Philip Rahv
Philip Rahv
Philip Rahv was an American literary critic and essayist.-Life:...

, and Sender Garlin. It grew out of the John Reed Club
John Reed Club
The John Reed Club was an American, semi-national, Marxist club for writers, artists, and intellectuals, named after the American journalist, activist, and poet, John Reed.-Founding:...

 as an alternative to New Masses, the publication of the American Communist Party, but became staunchly anti-Communist after Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

 secured his place at the head of the Soviet Union. Many of its early authors were the children of Jewish immigrants from Europe. Rarely having more than ten thousand subscribers, the journal reached its peak influence from the late 1930s to the early 1960s, after which it gradually lost its relevance. Phillips died in September 2002 at age 94. The journal continued under his wife Edith Kurzweil
Edith Kurzweil
Edith Kurzweil is an American writer, and was editor of Partisan Review.-Life:She was the daughter of assimilated Viennese Jews, during the Anschluss in March 1938. She watched from a dressmaker’s shop on Tempelgasse in November on Kristallnacht, as Nazi soldiers and ordinary Austrian citizens...

, through an agreement with Boston University
Boston University
Boston University is a private research university located in Boston, Massachusetts. With more than 4,000 faculty members and more than 31,000 students, Boston University is one of the largest private universities in the United States and one of Boston's largest employers...

, until ceasing publication in April 2003.

Contributors included W.S. Merwin, Conor Cruise O'Brien
Conor Cruise O'Brien
Conor Cruise O'Brien often nicknamed "The Cruiser", was an Irish politician, writer, historian and academic. Although his opinion on the role of Britain in Northern Ireland changed over the course of the 1970s and 1980s, he always acknowledge values of, as he saw, the two irreconcilable traditions...

, Saul Bellow
Saul Bellow
Saul Bellow was a Canadian-born Jewish American writer. For his literary contributions, Bellow was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, the Nobel Prize for Literature, and the National Medal of Arts...

, Doris Lessing
Doris Lessing
Doris May Lessing CH is a British writer. Her novels include The Grass is Singing, The Golden Notebook, and five novels collectively known as Canopus in Argos....

, Philip Roth
Philip Roth
Philip Milton Roth is an American novelist. He gained fame with the 1959 novella Goodbye, Columbus, an irreverent and humorous portrait of Jewish-American life that earned him a National Book Award...

, Lionel Trilling
Lionel Trilling
Lionel Trilling was an American literary critic, author, and teacher. With wife Diana Trilling, he was a member of the New York Intellectuals and contributor to the Partisan Review. Although he did not establish a school of literary criticism, he is one of the leading U.S...

, Irving Howe
Irving Howe
Irving Howe was an American literary and social critic and a prominent figure of the Democratic Socialists of America.-Life and career:...

, Dwight Macdonald
Dwight Macdonald
Dwight Macdonald was an American writer, editor, film critic, social critic, philosopher, and political radical.-Early life and career:...

, Hannah Arendt
Hannah Arendt
Hannah Arendt was a German American political theorist. She has often been described as a philosopher, although she refused that label on the grounds that philosophy is concerned with "man in the singular." She described herself instead as a political theorist because her work centers on the fact...

, Mary McCarthy
Mary McCarthy
Mary McCarthy may refer to:*Mary McCarthy , novelist, critic, and memoirist*Mary McCarthy , former CIA employee accused of leaking information...

, Clement Greenberg
Clement Greenberg
Clement Greenberg was an American essayist known mainly as an influential visual art critic closely associated with American Modern art of the mid-20th century...

, and Susan Sontag
Susan Sontag
Susan Sontag was an American author, literary theorist, feminist and political activist whose works include On Photography and Against Interpretation.-Life:...


George Orwell
George Orwell
Eric Arthur Blair , better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English author and journalist...

, in reply to a letter from Philip Rahv requesting names of possible contributors for PR, offered the following: Alex Comfort
Alex Comfort
Alexander Comfort, MB BChir, PhD, DSc was a medical professional, gerontologist, anarchist, pacifist, conscientious objector and writer, best known for The Joy of Sex, which played a part in what is often called the sexual revolution...

, Henry Treece
Henry Treece
Henry Treece was a British poet and writer, who worked also as a teacher, and editor. He is perhaps best remembered now as a historical novelist, particularly as a children's historical novelist, although he also wrote some adult historical novels.-Life and work:Treece was born in Wednesbury,...

, Alun Lewis
Alun Lewis
Alun Lewis , was a poet of the Anglo-Welsh school, and is regarded by many as Britain's finest Second World War poet.- Education :...

, William Rogers
William Rogers
-Politics:*William P. Rogers , U.S. Attorney General under Dwight Eisenhower and Secretary of State under Richard Nixon*Will Rogers, Jr. , congressman from California from 1943 to 1944 and the son of the noted humorist by the same name*Will Rogers , congressman from Oklahoma, 1933–1942*William D...

, G. S. Fraser
G. S. Fraser
George Sutherland Fraser was a Scottish poet, literary critic and academic. He was born in Glasgow, later moving with his family to Aberdeen. He went to the University of St. Andrews....

, Roy Fuller
Roy Fuller
Roy Broadbent Fuller was an English writer, known mostly as a poet. He was born in Failsworth, Lancashire, and brought up in Blackpool. He worked as a lawyer for a building society, serving in the Royal Navy 1941-1946.Poems was his first book of poetry. He began to write fiction also in the 1950s...

, Kathleen Raine
Kathleen Raine
Kathleen Jessie Raine was a British poet, critic, and scholar writing in particular on William Blake, W. B. Yeats and Thomas Taylor. Known for her interest in various forms of spirituality, most prominently Platonism and Neoplatonism, she was a founder member of the Temenos Academy.-Life:Raine was...

, who all contributed to Poetry London. Older people he proposed included Herbert Read
Herbert Read
Sir Herbert Edward Read, DSO, MC was an English anarchist, poet, and critic of literature and art. He was one of the earliest English writers to take notice of existentialism, and was strongly influenced by proto-existentialist thinker Max Stirner....

, T. S. Eliot
T. S. Eliot
Thomas Stearns "T. S." Eliot OM was a playwright, literary critic, and arguably the most important English-language poet of the 20th century. Although he was born an American he moved to the United Kingdom in 1914 and was naturalised as a British subject in 1927 at age 39.The poem that made his...

, Stephen Spender
Stephen Spender
Sir Stephen Harold Spender CBE was an English poet, novelist and essayist who concentrated on themes of social injustice and the class struggle in his work...

, Louis MacNeice
Louis MacNeice
Frederick Louis MacNeice CBE was an Irish poet and playwright. He was part of the generation of "thirties poets" which included W. H. Auden, Stephen Spender and Cecil Day-Lewis; nicknamed "MacSpaunday" as a group — a name invented by Roy Campbell, in his Talking Bronco...

, and "their lot," E. M. Forster
E. M. Forster
Edward Morgan Forster OM, CH was an English novelist, short story writer, essayist and librettist. He is known best for his ironic and well-plotted novels examining class difference and hypocrisy in early 20th-century British society...

 ("who has seen and likes PR"), William Empson
William Empson
Sir William Empson was an English literary critic and poet.He was known as "燕卜荪" in Chinese.He was widely influential for his practice of closely reading literary works, fundamental to the New Critics...

, Jack Common
Jack Common
Jack Common was a British novelist.He was born in Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne, close to the rail-sheds where his father worked as an engine-driver...

, Hugh Slater, Ahmed Ali
Ahmed Ali
Ahmed Ali was an Indian novelist, poet, critic, translator, diplomat and scholar, who was responsible for writing Twilight in Delhi. Born in Delhi, India, he was involved in progressive literary movements as a young man...

, and Roy Campbell
Roy Campbell (poet)
Ignatius Royston Dunnachie Campbell, better known as Roy Campbell, was an Anglo-African poet and satirist. He was considered by T. S. Eliot, Dylan Thomas and Edith Sitwell to have been one of the best poets of the period between the First and Second World Wars...


Between 1941 and 1946 Orwell wrote fifteen "London Letters
London Letters
The "London Letters" were a series of fifteen articles written by George Orwell when invasion by Nazi Germany seemed imminent,and published in the American left-wing literary magazine Partisan Review...

" for the Review, the first of which appeared in the March-April 1941 issue. In 1949, the journal awarded Orwell £357 for the year's most significant contribution to literature, Nineteen Eighty-Four
Nineteen Eighty-Four
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell is a dystopian novel about Oceania, a society ruled by the oligarchical dictatorship of the Party...


A controversy

The September-October 1942 issue of PR carried Orwell's reply to letters sent in by D. S. Savage, George Woodcock
George Woodcock
George Woodcock was a Canadian writer of political biography and history, an anarchist thinker, an essayist and literary critic. He was also a poet, and published several volumes of travel writing. He founded in 1959 the journal Canadian Literature, the first academic journal specifically...

, and Alex Comfort in response to his "London Letter" of the March-April issue, in which he criticized "left-wing defeatism" and "turn-the-other-cheek" pacifists, stating that they were "objectively pro-Fascist". In his article he had mentioned several people by name, including Comfort, and accused the review Now, of which Woodcock was editor, of having a Fascist tendency. In his reply, Orwell reiterated that "Pacifism is objectively pro-Fascist"; defended his work for the BBC's Indian broadcasts and refuted the accusation that he "is intellectual-hunting again."

Classic contributions

  • Saul Bellow's "Two Morning Monologues"
  • Two of T. S. Eliot's "Four Quartets
    Four Quartets
    Four Quartets is a set of four poems written by T. S. Eliot that were published individually over a six-year period. The first poem, "Burnt Norton", was written and published with a collection of his early works following the production of Eliot's play Murder in the Cathedral...

  • Leslie Fiedler
    Leslie Fiedler
    Leslie Aaron Fiedler was a Jewish-American literary critic, known for his interest in mythography and his championing of genre fiction. His work also involves application of psychological theories to American literature. He was in practical terms one of the early postmodernist critics working...

    's "Come Back to the Raft Ag’in, Huck
    Huckleberry Finn (character)
    Huckleberry "Huck" Finn is a fictional character created by Mark Twain, who first appeared in the book The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and is the protagonist and narrator of its sequel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. He is 12 or 13 years old during the former and a year older at the time of the latter...

  • Clement Greenberg's "Avant-Garde and Kitsch
    Avant-Garde and Kitsch
    Avant-Garde and Kitsch is the title of a 1939 essay by Clement Greenberg, first published in the Partisan Review, in which he claimed that avant-garde and modernist art was a means to resist the 'dumbing down' of culture caused by consumerism...

  • George Orwell's "Such, Such Were the Joys
    Such, Such Were the Joys
    "Such, Such Were the Joys" is a long autobiographical essay by the English writer George Orwell. It was probably composed in the early 1940s, but it was first published by the Partisan Review in 1952, two years after Orwell's death...

  • Delmore Schwartz
    Delmore Schwartz
    Delmore Schwartz was an American poet and short story writer from Brooklyn, New York.-Biography:Schwartz was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. His parents, Harry and Rose, both Romanian Jews, separated when Schwartz was nine, and their divorce had a profound effect on him. Later, in 1930,...

    's "In Dreams Begin Responsibilities
    In Dreams Begin Responsibilities
    "In Dreams Begin Responsibilities" is a short story by Delmore Schwartz. Schwartz's biographer, James Atlas, wrote a thorough account of the story's genesis:...

  • Isaac Bashevis Singer
    Isaac Bashevis Singer
    Isaac Bashevis Singer – July 24, 1991) was a Polish Jewish American author noted for his short stories. He was one of the leading figures in the Yiddish literary movement, and received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1978...

    's "Gimpel the Fool" (translated by Saul Bellow)
  • Susan Sontag's "Notes on "Camp""

External links

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