The Atlantic Monthly

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The Atlantic is an American magazine
Magazine
Magazines, periodicals, glossies or serials are publications, generally published on a regular schedule, containing a variety of articles. They are generally financed by advertising, by a purchase price, by pre-paid magazine subscriptions, or all three...

 founded (as The Atlantic Monthly) in Boston
Boston
Boston is the capital of and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region. The city proper had...

, Massachusetts
Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

, in 1857. It was created as a literary
Literature
Literature is the art of written works, and is not bound to published sources...

 and cultural
Culture
Culture is a term that has many different inter-related meanings. For example, in 1952, Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn compiled a list of 164 definitions of "culture" in Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions...

 commentary magazine. It quickly achieved a national reputation, which it held for more than a century. It was important for recognizing and publishing new writers and poets, and encouraging major careers. It published leading writers' commentary on abolition, education, and other major issues in contemporary political affairs.

After financial hardship and a series of ownership changes, the format changed to a general editorial magazine. Focusing on "foreign affairs
Foreign Affairs
Foreign Affairs is an American magazine and website on international relations and U.S. foreign policy published since 1922 by the Council on Foreign Relations six times annually...

, politics
Politics
Politics is a process by which groups of people make collective decisions. The term is generally applied to the art or science of running governmental or state affairs, including behavior within civil governments, but also applies to institutions, fields, and special interest groups such as the...

, and the economy
Economy
An economy consists of the economic system of a country or other area; the labor, capital and land resources; and the manufacturing, trade, distribution, and consumption of goods and services of that area...

 [as well as] cultural trends," it is primarily aimed at a target audience of "thought leader
Thought leader
Thought leader is business jargon for an entity that is recognized for having innovative ideas.The term was coined in 1994 by Joel Kurtzman, editor-in-chief of the Booz Allen Hamilton magazine, Strategy & Business. "Thought leader" was used to designate interview subjects for that magazine who had...

s." During the late 20th and early 21st century, the Atlantic has primarily functioned as a moderate to politically conservative counterweight to the more liberal New Yorker magazine, and has relocated from its traditional home in Boston to Washington, D.C.

The magazine's founders were a group of prominent writers of national reputation, who included Harriet Beecher Stowe
Harriet Beecher Stowe
Harriet Beecher Stowe was an American abolitionist and author. Her novel Uncle Tom's Cabin was a depiction of life for African-Americans under slavery; it reached millions as a novel and play, and became influential in the United States and United Kingdom...

, Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American essayist, lecturer, and poet, who led the Transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century...

, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was an American poet and educator whose works include "Paul Revere's Ride", The Song of Hiawatha, and Evangeline...

, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. was an American physician, professor, lecturer, and author. Regarded by his peers as one of the best writers of the 19th century, he is considered a member of the Fireside Poets. His most famous prose works are the "Breakfast-Table" series, which began with The Autocrat...

, John Greenleaf Whittier
John Greenleaf Whittier
John Greenleaf Whittier was an influential American Quaker poet and ardent advocate of the abolition of slavery in the United States. He is usually listed as one of the Fireside Poets...

 and James Russell Lowell
James Russell Lowell
James Russell Lowell was an American Romantic poet, critic, editor, and diplomat. He is associated with the Fireside Poets, a group of New England writers who were among the first American poets who rivaled the popularity of British poets...

. Lowell was its first editor. The editor-in-chief as of November 2009 is James Bennet
James Bennet
James Douglas Bennet is an American journalist. Since 2006, he has been the editor-in-chief of The Atlantic.-Background and family:...

. The publisher as of November 2009 is Jay Lauf, who is also a vice-president of Atlantic Media Company.

Format and frequency


Originally a monthly publication, the magazine, subscribed to by 400,000 readers, now publishes ten times a year. It features articles in the fields of political science
Political science
Political Science is a social science discipline concerned with the study of the state, government and politics. Aristotle defined it as the study of the state. It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics, and the analysis of political systems and political behavior...

 and foreign affairs
Foreign Affairs
Foreign Affairs is an American magazine and website on international relations and U.S. foreign policy published since 1922 by the Council on Foreign Relations six times annually...

, as well as a book review
Book review
A book review is a form of literary criticism in which a book is analyzed based on content, style, and merit. A book review could be a primary source opinion piece, summary review or scholarly review. It is often carried out in periodicals, as school work, or on the internet. Reviews are also often...

 and cultural trends section overseen by literary and national editor Benjamin Schwarz
Benjamin Schwarz (writer)
Benjamin Schwarz is the literary editor and national editor of the American monthly magazine The Atlantic.He has written articles and reviews on an array of subjects—from fashion to the American South, from current fiction to the archaeology, and from international economics to Hollywood.Since...

, for which he writes a regular column and has recruited writers that include Christopher Hitchens
Christopher Hitchens
Christopher Eric Hitchens is an Anglo-American author and journalist whose books, essays, and journalistic career span more than four decades. He has been a columnist and literary critic at The Atlantic, Vanity Fair, Slate, World Affairs, The Nation, Free Inquiry, and became a media fellow at the...

, Caitlin Flanagan
Caitlin Flanagan
Caitlin Flanagan is an American writer and social critic. She is a former staff writer for The New Yorker and a contributing editor and book reviewer at The Atlantic Monthly...

, Sandra Tsing Loh
Sandra Tsing Loh
Sandra Tsing Loh is a Los Angeles, California-based writer, actress, performance-artist, pop-culture analyst, and radio commentator.-Biography:Loh is the daughter of a Chinese father and a German mother...

, Clive James
Clive James
Clive James, AM is an Australian author, critic, broadcaster, poet and memoirist, best known for his autobiographical series Unreliable Memoirs, for his chat shows and documentaries on British television and for his prolific journalism...

, Joseph O'Neill
Joseph O'Neill (born 1964)
Joseph O'Neill is a Irish novelist and non-fiction writer. O'Neill's novel Netherland was awarded the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.-Life:...

, B.R. Myers, Mona Simpson, Sally Singer, Terry Castle
Terry Castle
Terry Castle is an American literary scholar. Once described by Susan Sontag as "the most expressive, most enlightening literary critic at large today," has published eight books, including the anthology The Literature of Lesbianism, which won the Lambda Literary Editor's Choice Award...

, and Natasha Vargas-Cooper. In April 2005, the editors of The Atlantic decided to cease publishing fiction in regular issues in favor of a newsstand-only annual fiction issue edited by longtime staffer C. Michael Curtis, but have since re-instituted the practice.

On January 22, 2008, TheAtlantic.com dropped its subscriber wall and allowed users to freely browse its site, including all past archives. In March 2009, TheAtlantic.com added a food channel edited by Corby Kummer
Corby Kummer
Corby Kummer is a journalist who writes primarily about food. He is a senior editor at The Atlantic magazine, where he writes a monthly food column, restaurant critic for Boston Magazine, and curator of The Atlantic Food Channel, a blog devoted to food. He has been called "a dean among food writers...

 and with contributions from Grant Achatz
Grant Achatz
Grant Achatz is an American chef and restaurateur often identified as one of the leaders in molecular gastronomy or progressive cuisine...

, Tim and Nina Zagat and Ezekiel "Zeke" Emanuel
Ezekiel J. Emanuel
Ezekiel "Zeke" Jonathan Emanuel M.D. Ph.D. is an American bioethicist and fellow at the nonprofit bioethics research institute The Hastings Center. He opposes legalized euthanasia, sometimes called state-assisted suicide, and is a proponent of a voucher-based universal health care...

, among others.

Literary history



As a leading literary magazine, The Atlantic was the first to publish many significant works and authors. It was the first to publish works by the abolitionists Julia Ward Howe
Julia Ward Howe
Julia Ward Howe was a prominent American abolitionist, social activist, and poet, most famous as the author of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic".-Biography:...

 ("Battle Hymn of the Republic" on February 1, 1862), and William Parker's slave narrative
Slave narrative
The slave narrative is a literary form which grew out of the written accounts of enslaved Africans in Britain and its colonies, including the later United States, Canada and Caribbean nations...

, "The Freedman's Story" (in February and March 1866). It published Charles W. Eliot's "The New Education" (a call for practical reform) that resulted in his appointment to presidency of Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

 in 1869. It published work by Charles Chesnutt before he collected them in The Conjure Woman
The Conjure Woman
The Conjure Woman is a 1926 race film directed, written, produced and distributed by Oscar Micheaux. The film, which stars Evelyn Preer, is based on the 1899 short story collection by the African American writer Charles W. Chesnutt....

. The magazine was a point of connection between Emily Dickinson
Emily Dickinson
Emily Elizabeth Dickinson was an American poet. Born in Amherst, Massachusetts, to a successful family with strong community ties, she lived a mostly introverted and reclusive life...

 and Thomas Wentworth Higginson
Thomas Wentworth Higginson
Thomas Wentworth Higginson was an American Unitarian minister, author, abolitionist, and soldier. He was active in the American Abolitionism movement during the 1840s and 1850s, identifying himself with disunion and militant abolitionism...

; having read an article in The Atlantic by Higginson, Dickinson asked him to become her mentor. It was a major venue of publishing for poetry and short stories, contributing to the start of many national literary careers.

The magazine published many of the works of Mark Twain
Mark Twain
Samuel Langhorne Clemens , better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist...

, including one that was lost until 2001. Editors recognized major cultural changes and movements. The magazine published Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was an American clergyman, activist, and prominent leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. He is best known for being an iconic figure in the advancement of civil rights in the United States and around the world, using nonviolent methods following the...

's defense of civil disobedience
Civil disobedience
Civil disobedience is the active, professed refusal to obey certain laws, demands, and commands of a government, or of an occupying international power. Civil disobedience is commonly, though not always, defined as being nonviolent resistance. It is one form of civil resistance...

 in "Letter from Birmingham Jail
Letter from Birmingham Jail
The Letter from Birmingham Jail or Letter from Birmingham City Jail, also known as The Negro Is Your Brother, is an open letter written on April 16, 1963, by Martin Luther King, Jr., an American civil rights leader...

" in August 1963. Among its best-known current writers on society, politics and culture are James Fallows
James Fallows
James Fallows is an American print and radio journalist. He has been a national correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly for many years. His work has also appeared in Slate, The New York Times Magazine, The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker and The American Prospect, among others. He is a...

, Mark Bowden
Mark Bowden
Not to be confused with Mark Bowden, U.N. Resident & Humanitarian Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative for Somalia.Mark Robert Bowden is an American writer and a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. Born in St. Louis, Missouri, he is a 1973 graduate of Loyola University Maryland...

, Jeffrey Goldberg
Jeffrey Goldberg
Jeffrey Mark Goldberg is an American journalist. He is an author and a staff writer for The Atlantic, having previously worked for The New Yorker. Goldberg writes principally on foreign affairs, with a focus on the Middle East and Africa...

, Joshua Green
Joshua Green
Joshua Green is an American journalist who writes primarily on United States politics. He is currently senior national correspondent at Bloomberg Businessweek and a weekly columnist for the Boston Globe.-Education:...

, Megan McArdle
Megan McArdle
Megan McArdle is a Washington, D.C.-based blogger and journalist. She writes mostly about economics, finance and government policy from a moderate libertarian or classical liberal perspective. She currently serves as the business and economics editor, as well as a blogger, for The Atlantic. She is...

, Jeffrey Tayler
Jeffrey Tayler
Jeffrey Tayler is a U.S.-born author and journalist. He is the Russia correspondent for the Atlantic Monthly and a contributor to several other magazines as well as to NPR's All Things Considered...

, Robert D. Kaplan
Robert D. Kaplan
Robert David Kaplan is an American journalist, currently a National Correspondent for the Atlantic Monthly...

 and Ta-Nehisi Coates
Ta-Nehisi Coates
Ta-Nehisi Coates is a senior editor for The Atlantic and blogs on its website. Coates has worked for The Village Voice, Washington City Paper, and Time. He has contributed to The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, The Washington Monthly, O, and other publications...

.

The magazine has also published speculative articles that inspired the development of new technologies. The classic example is the publication of Vannevar Bush
Vannevar Bush
Vannevar Bush was an American engineer and science administrator known for his work on analog computing, his political role in the development of the atomic bomb as a primary organizer of the Manhattan Project, the founding of Raytheon, and the idea of the memex, an adjustable microfilm viewer...

's essay "As We May Think
As We May Think
As We May Think is an essay by Vannevar Bush, first published in The Atlantic Monthly in July 1945, and republished again as an abridged version in September 1945 — before and after the U.S. nuclear attacks on Japan...

" in July 1945. It inspired Douglas Engelbart
Douglas Engelbart
Douglas Carl Engelbart is an American inventor, and an early computer and internet pioneer. He is best known for his work on the challenges of human-computer interaction, resulting in the invention of the computer mouse, and the development of hypertext, networked computers, and precursors to GUIs...

 and later Ted Nelson
Ted Nelson
Theodor Holm Nelson is an American sociologist, philosopher, and pioneer of information technology. He coined the terms "hypertext" and "hypermedia" in 1963 and published it in 1965...

 to develop the modern workstation
Workstation
A workstation is a high-end microcomputer designed for technical or scientific applications. Intended primarily to be used by one person at a time, they are commonly connected to a local area network and run multi-user operating systems...

 and hypertext
Hypertext
Hypertext is text displayed on a computer or other electronic device with references to other text that the reader can immediately access, usually by a mouse click or keypress sequence. Apart from running text, hypertext may contain tables, images and other presentational devices. Hypertext is the...

 technology.

In addition to its fiction and poetry, the magazine continued publishing high-quality writing on society and politics in the 21st century. In 2005, the magazine won a National Magazine Award for fiction. "A three-part series by William Langewiesche
William Langewiesche
William Langewiesche is an American author and journalist, and was a professional airplane pilot for many years. Since 2006 he has been the international correspondent for Vanity Fair magazine.-Career:...

 in 2002 on the rebuilding of the World Trade Center
World Trade Center
The original World Trade Center was a complex with seven buildings featuring landmark twin towers in Lower Manhattan, New York City, United States. The complex opened on April 4, 1973, and was destroyed in 2001 during the September 11 attacks. The site is currently being rebuilt with five new...

 generated headlines, as have articles by James Fallows
James Fallows
James Fallows is an American print and radio journalist. He has been a national correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly for many years. His work has also appeared in Slate, The New York Times Magazine, The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker and The American Prospect, among others. He is a...

 on planning for the Iraq war and reconstruction."


Ownership


For all but recent decades, The Atlantic was known as a distinctively New England
New England
New England is a region in the northeastern corner of the United States consisting of the six states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut...

 literary magazine (as opposed to Harper's and later The New Yorker
The New Yorker
The New Yorker is an American magazine of reportage, commentary, criticism, essays, fiction, satire, cartoons and poetry published by Condé Nast...

, both from New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

). It achieved a national reputation and was important to the careers of many American writers and poets. By its third year, it was published by the famous Boston publishing house of Ticknor and Fields
Ticknor and Fields
Ticknor and Fields was an American publishing company based in Boston, Massachusetts.-Early years:In 1832 William Davis Ticknor and John Allen began a small publishing business which operated out of the Old Corner Bookstore located on Washington and School Streets in Boston, Massachusetts...

 (later to become part of Houghton Mifflin
Houghton Mifflin
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is an educational and trade publisher in the United States. Headquartered in Boston's Back Bay, it publishes textbooks, instructional technology materials, assessments, reference works, and fiction and non-fiction for both young readers and adults.-History:The company was...

). The magazine was purchased by its then editor, Ellery Sedgwick
Ellery Sedgwick
Ellery Sedgwick was an American editor, brother of Henry Dwight Sedgwick.-Early life:He was born in New York City to Henry Dwight Sedgwick II and Henrietta Ellery , grand daughter of William Ellery...

, during World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, but remained in Boston.

In 1980, the magazine was acquired by Mortimer Zuckerman
Mortimer Zuckerman
Mortimer Benjamin "Mort" Zuckerman is a Canadian-born American business magnate with interests primarily in magazines, publishing, and real estate. He is now a naturalized citizen of the United States....

, property magnate and founder of Boston Properties
Boston Properties
Boston Properties, Inc. is a self-managed real estate investment trust based in Boston, Massachusetts. Its primary focus is "Class A" office space which it acquires, develops, and manages in the major markets of Boston, New York City, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco...

, who became its Chairman. On September 27, 1999, ownership of the magazine was transferred from Zuckerman to David G. Bradley
David G. Bradley
David G. Bradley is the owner of the Atlantic Media Company, which publishes several prominent news magazines and services including The Atlantic Monthly, National Journal, The Hotline and Government Executive...

, owner of the Beltway
Inside the Beltway
"Inside the Beltway" is a phrase used to characterize parts of the real or imagined American political system. The name refers to the Capital Beltway , a circumferential highway , completed in 1964, that encircles Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States.The phrase is commonly used to...

 news-focused National Journal Group. Bradley had promised that the magazine would stay in Boston for the foreseeable future, as it did for the next five and a half years.

In April 2005, however, the publishers announced that the editorial offices would be moved from its long-time home at 77 North Washington St. in Boston to join the company's advertising and circulation divisions in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

  Later in August, Bradley told the New York Observer
New York Observer
The New York Observer is a weekly newspaper first published in New York City on September 22, 1987, by Arthur L. Carter, a very successful former investment banker with publishing interests. The Observer focuses on the city's culture, real estate, the media, politics and the entertainment and...

, cost cutting from the move would amount to a minor $200,000–$300,000 and those savings would be swallowed by severance-related spending. The reason was to create a hub in Washington where the top minds from all of Bradley's publications could collaborate under the Atlantic Media Company
Atlantic Media Company
Atlantic Media Company is a print and online media company owned by David G. Bradley and based in the Watergate in Washington, D.C. The company publishes several prominent news magazines and services including The Atlantic and Government Executive and those belonging to its National Journal Group...

 umbrella. Few of the Boston staff agreed to relocate. Bradley embarked on an open search for a new editorial staff.

Bradley, who has described himself as "a neocon guy" who came to regret his support for the Iraq invasion, hired James Bennet
James Bennet
James Douglas Bennet is an American journalist. Since 2006, he has been the editor-in-chief of The Atlantic.-Background and family:...

 as editor, who had been the Jerusalem bureau chief for The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

. He also hired writers including Jeffrey Goldberg
Jeffrey Goldberg
Jeffrey Mark Goldberg is an American journalist. He is an author and a staff writer for The Atlantic, having previously worked for The New Yorker. Goldberg writes principally on foreign affairs, with a focus on the Middle East and Africa...

 and Andrew Sullivan
Andrew Sullivan
Andrew Michael Sullivan is an English author, editor, political commentator and blogger. He describes himself as a political conservative. He has focused on American political life....

.

The Atlantic Wire


The Atlantic Wire is a website associated with The Atlantic that aggregates opinion from across the media spectrum and summarizes significant positions in each debate. It publishes The Atlantic 50, a ranked list of the top opinion makers in the media, created using an algorithm based on influence, reach and web engagement.

List of editors

  • James Russell Lowell
    James Russell Lowell
    James Russell Lowell was an American Romantic poet, critic, editor, and diplomat. He is associated with the Fireside Poets, a group of New England writers who were among the first American poets who rivaled the popularity of British poets...

    , 1857–1861
  • James Thomas Fields
    James Thomas Fields
    James Thomas Fields was an American publisher, editor, and poet.-Early life and family:He was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire on December 31, 1817 and named James Field; the family later added the "s". His father was a sea captain and died before Fields was three...

    , 1861–1871
  • William Dean Howells
    William Dean Howells
    William Dean Howells was an American realist author and literary critic. Nicknamed "The Dean of American Letters", he was particularly known for his tenure as editor of the Atlantic Monthly as well as his own writings, including the Christmas story "Christmas Every Day" and the novel The Rise of...

    , 1871–1881
  • Thomas Bailey Aldrich
    Thomas Bailey Aldrich
    Thomas Bailey Aldrich was an American poet, novelist, travel writer and editor.-Early life and education:...

    , 1881–1890
  • Horace Elisha Scudder, 1890–1898
  • Walter Hines Page
    Walter Hines Page
    Walter Hines Page was an American journalist, publisher, and diplomat. He was the United States ambassador to the United Kingdom during World War I.-Biography:...

    , 1898–1899
  • Bliss Perry
    Bliss Perry
    Bliss Perry , was a United States editor and scholar.-Biography:Perry was born in Williamstown, Massachusetts and was educated at Williams College, Williamstown, as well as the universities of Berlin and Strassburg .Perry taught at Williams from 1886 until 1893. From then until 1900 he taught at...

    , 1899–1909
  • Ellery Sedgwick
    Ellery Sedgwick
    Ellery Sedgwick was an American editor, brother of Henry Dwight Sedgwick.-Early life:He was born in New York City to Henry Dwight Sedgwick II and Henrietta Ellery , grand daughter of William Ellery...

    , 1909–1938
  • Edward A. Weeks, 1938–1966
  • Robert Manning
    Robert Manning (journalist)
    Robert Joseph Manning is an American journalist. He worked as London Bureau Chief for Time, Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs and editor of the The Atlantic Monthly....

    , 1966–1980
  • William Whitworth, 1980–1999
  • Michael Kelly
    Michael Kelly (editor)
    Michael Thomas Kelly was an American journalist, a columnist for The Washington Post, and an editor at The New Republic, National Journal, and The Atlantic. He came to prominence via his reporting on the first Gulf War, but suffered professional embarrassment for his role in the Stephen Glass...

    , 1999–2003
  • Cullen Murphy
    Cullen Murphy
    John Cullen Murphy, Jr. is an American writer and editor probably best known for his work at The Atlantic, where he served as managing editor and editor ....

    , 2003–2006 (interim editor, never named editor-in-chief)
  • James Bennet
    James Bennet
    James Douglas Bennet is an American journalist. Since 2006, he has been the editor-in-chief of The Atlantic.-Background and family:...

    , 2006—

Contributors

  • Marjorie Pickthall
    Marjorie Pickthall
    Marjorie Lowry Christie Pickthall , was a Canadian writer who was born in England but lived in Canada from the time she was seven...

     During the 1900s and 1910s, the Anglo-Canadian poet, story writer and essayist was a regular contributor.

External links