The European Review of Books #1


Read it twice. A magazine of culture and ideas, from many Europes and many languages.

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Books? Review? Europe?

A European Review of Books would sound thrice-doomed. And yet here we are.

Books. And art, poetry, music, film, theater, architecture, politics, ideas, jokes (The European Review of Untranslatable Jokes), come what may. We hold books aloft as a capsule, a human record, a sustained endeavor aimed at both the present and the future. Crises come and go but you can always throw a book at someone.

Review. The review is all too often reduced to decoration, entertainment, tip – a sad miniature of the humanities in public life. How dreadful are “3 stars”, or 4, or even 5! The scale itself is a mediocrity. We want the brilliant essay: enemy of the platitude, antidote to the measly opinion, avenue to the arcane, the profane, the grand.

Europe. For there are a thousand Europes, and we are already living in them: the common Europe, the migrant’s Europe, the tourist’s Europe, the refugee’s Europe, the postcolonial Europe, the denizen’s Europe, the Europe with euros and the Europe without euros, the Europe of Eurovision, the pre-national Europe, the post-national Europe, perhaps the post-European Europe.

And the Europe of many languages. The ERB seizes a linguistic paradox: the ubiquity of English—a post-American English, a low common denominator—lets a magazine reach beyond, al di là di, ötesinde, jenseits. Pieces written in Greek or Arabic or Italian or Polish or Dutch—or, or, or—will be available in English translation and in the original.

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