Our Story

 

At The Yale Review, we believe in the power of perspective. The power of connecting great minds—across disciplines, backgrounds, and generations—around thought-provoking writing. Under the direction of its new editor, Meghan O’Rourke, the critic, memoirist, and poet, The Yale Review is celebrating its 200th anniversary by pivoting to the digital age, with a new website, a forthcoming podcast, and a new series of in-person events with writers and thinkers at Yale University and at large. 

A pre-eminent journal of literature and ideas, The Yale Review has published writers such as Thomas Mann, Virginia Woolf, José Ortega y Gasset, Stanley Cavell, Robert Lowell, John Hersey, Bayard Rustin, Adrienne Rich, James Merrill, and Rita Dove. We began in 1819 as The Christian Spectator, became The New Englander in 1843, and then an economics-focused Yale Review in 1892. The modern history of the journal began on a rainy day in 1911, when the English professor Wilbur Cross ducked under the umbrella of Yale’s president, Arthur Twining Hadley, and outlined to him plans for a new and greater Yale Review, a journal that could house luminaries in their fields such as George Santayana and Edith Wharton, but also nurture unheralded beginners such as Eudora Welty and Elizabeth Hardwick. After Cross, the magazine had a succession of distinguished editors, including, most recently, the eminent sociologist Kai Erikson, literary critic Penelope Laurans, and the poet and librettist J. D. McClatchy. Each editor extended the journal’s rich tradition of literary excellence and broadened its reach. Entering its third century in 2020, The Yale Review is proud to be a space for the dynamic exchange of ideas, and a home to poetry, fiction, interviews, and incisive criticism and essays.  

We’re also a home for students interested in writing and editing at Yale University. Overlooking campus atop a hill in a rambling, cozy three-story house, we mentor students and writers who care about literature, the arts, and the craft of editing.Our student program allows Yale undergraduates and graduate students to apply to be “Yale Review Fellows,” and to receive in-depth training on what it takes to run a magazine, as well as plenty of hands-on experience. 

At the Review, we aim to engage diverse minds, experiences and points of view in enduring conversations and exceptional writing, to “keep the road open” as Cross once wrote, “for candid statements of different standpoints from writers of exceptional ability.” Because questions endure—it’s the answers that change.

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The Yale Review has published…

Henry Louis Gates Jr. at the beginning of his career and Leon Trotsky at the end of his.

Ford Madox Ford before he was Ford Madox Ford (he was Ford Madox Hueffer then).

Joyce Carol Oates when she led us to believe she was Rae Jolene Smith.

Anne Sexton before she won the Pulitzer Prize, and Thomas Mann after he won a Nobel Prize.