Prose With A Purpose Open for discussion with The Common Reader


Editor Gerald Early

Welcome to The Common Reader, Washington University in St. Louis’s interdisciplinary journal dedicated to fine writing and high thinking.

We hope to bring our readers a lively online publication that features essays, articles, reviews, blogs and interviews dealing with important issues and ideas of the day.

The Common Reader will always be themed; our first issue is “You Talkin’ To Me?! Controversies With Language.” It features pieces ranging from the global language of hip hop, to why online dictionaries will be the undoing of dictionaries, from whether we should bother preserving marginal languages to how the Internet affects language, protest and politics, from how the use of offensive language was at the root of Jackie Robinson’s court-martial, to why the great detective Chen finds it so hard to describe his scrumptious Chinese meals in English. We will always have a featured columnist (WUSTL creative writing professor Edward McPherson for this issue) and at least one book review/essay per issue (WUSTL professor of Near Eastern Languages and Literature Nancy Berg). But our fall issue is just one aspect of the online experience with The Common Reader. There will be a steady stream of book reviews and blogs, so come back and visit us every week or so to read new material.

There will also be a print annual of The Common Reader, compiling the best of digital content. We have no intention of abandoning print culture, but to celebrate it by publishing not only a print annual, but also limited-edition reprints of classic works. The Common Reader will sponsor panel discussions and special gatherings around certain themes of the journal. Keep on the watch for announcements about these events. The Common Reader aspires not to be just a good journal but a constellation of smart activity for the hungry mind.

We hope you enjoy the world of The Common Reader.