The uses of Heidi Julavits

By NINA MACLAUGHLIN  |  November 15, 2006

Back to the Believer. How has the cultural landscape changed since you started the magazine?
I actually feel that there is this slightly more vibrant scene. n+1 showed up and there are a lot of really interesting lit mags. Also, there’s a magazine called Esopus that I adore. And even Post Road. I feel like there are a lot of buyable magazines, that are either strictly literary or critical or essayistic outlets, that suddenly feel like they matter. Suddenly it feels like there’s a space for this sort of thing. And maybe it doesn’t matter to that many people, but it does feel as if it’s on the cultural radar.

When I was actually doing research for that essay of mine, to realize that the Partisan Review — their circulation capped out at 10,000, I think, and maybe even less than that. It was something that you’re just like, wow, the cultural impact that they ended up having, and they still, in retrospect, seem to have had, with a fairly low circulation. It seems like there are interesting ways to measure cultural importance and maybe it’s not through circulation numbers.

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