This paper takes a typological approach to one of the essential forms of publication in the cultural field, namely the literary journal. More specifically, it develops a theoretical distinction between ‘thick’ and ‘thin’ journals which runs through the content, form and function of these key publishing institutions in the twentieth century. Informed by Pierre Bourdieu’s theorisation of the cultural field and drawing on specific examples from German literary history, the paper will argue for a fundamental reconceptualisation of the journal as a dynamic agent in its own right, rather than as simply a neutral vessel for publishing activity. While the innovative agency of the short-lived ‘thin’ journals usually associated with the avant-garde has been widely acknowledged, especially at moments of cultural change, much less attention has been paid to longer-standing, high-prestige ‘thick’ journals. And yet, as I shall demonstrate, the high levels of symbolic capital associated with these journals and their established mediating role in the field lends them a unique capacity to shape the prevailing values of the field in and beyond periods of flux.
|Keywords:||Literary Journals, Cultural Change, Bourdieu, Publishing Field, Typology|
Lecturer in German Studies, School of Languages, Linguistics and Cultures, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
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