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New England Review – Winter 2006

Reminiscent of The Paris Review or, to a lesser extent, Western Humanities Review or The New Yorker, New England Review asserts itself as a dense academic journal that takes itself as seriously as academia tends to take itself. And that’s pretty serious. The journal’s subscription tear-out reads, assuredly, “Look to NER for the challenges your taste requires.” After a billboard like that, false advertising is pretty much out of the question.

Reminiscent of The Paris Review or, to a lesser extent, Western Humanities Review or The New Yorker, New England Review asserts itself as a dense academic journal that takes itself as seriously as academia tends to take itself. And that’s pretty serious. The journal’s subscription tear-out reads, assuredly, “Look to NER for the challenges your taste requires.” After a billboard like that, false advertising is pretty much out of the question. On first glance, New England Review is an elitist journal with refined and discerning tastes, anything but bus ride fodder or dentist office reading material. Refined and discerning aren’t necessarily negative attributes, only when that’s all a subject has to offer, and for New England Review, that’s not all. The journal’s also got poems by Bob Hicok: “The bottom of this book / is on fire, is where the lies have fallen, where someone / tells someone they were never loved, where a body is rhapsodized / as the front of renewal, and eight pages later, deplored as snare.”; poems by Averill Curdy and Peter Pereira; a relic from a progressive British legal activist during the Napoleonic era; an essay on “The Vice of Reading” by Edith Wharton; and a new translation of Héloïse’s second letter to Abelard. This is an issue, a journal, of diverse timbre and range, not sure to please or appeal to all, ultimately an acquired taste, just the kind of literature it prefers itself. Definitely a unique creature among its peers, New England Review makes well- known its place in a room full of literary journals. [http://go.middlebury.edu/nereview

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