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Issue 17 of The Republic of Letters

Our friends at News from The Republic of Letters have entrusted The Toby Press with the publication of their outstanding and unusual journal, published twice yearly. TRoL was founded by Saul Bellow and Keith Botsford, and continues to be edited by Botsford in his unique and imperious way. Now in journal form, TRoL will be available in bookstores as well as to its long term subscribers. TRoL features both new and newly discovered writings from American and European writers undeservedly lesser known. Idiosyncratic and unique, TRoL will find a welcome in all literate homes.

Saul Bellow on the journal:

One of the more attractive oddities of the United States is that our minorities are so numerous, so huge. A minority of millions is not at all unusual. But there are in fact millions of literate Americans in a state of separation from others of their kind. They are, if you like, the readers of Cheever, a crowd of them too large to be hidden in the woods. Departments of literature across the country have not succeeded in alienating them from books, works old and new. My friend Keith Botsford and I felt strongly that if the woods were filled with readers gone astray, among those readers there were probably writers as well.

To learn in detail of their existence you have only to publish a magazine like The Republic of Letters. Given encouragement, unknown writers, formerly without hope, materialize. One early reader wrote that our paper, "with its contents so fresh, person-to-person," was "real, non-synthetic, undistracting." Noting that there were no ads, she asked, "Is it possible, can it last?" and called it "an antidote to the shrinking of the human being in every one of us." And toward the end of her letter our correspondent added, "It behooves the elder generation to come up with reminders of who we used to be and need to be." This is what Keith Botsford and I had hoped that our "tabloid for literates" would be. And for two years it has been just that. We are a pair of utopian codgers who feel we have a duty to literature. I hope we are not like those humane do-gooders who, when the horse was vanishing, still donated troughs in City Hall Square for thirsty nags.
- Saul Bellow, 1988

Issue 17 of The Republic of Letters (Current Issue)
Issue 16 of The Republic of Letters
Issue 14/15 of The Republic of Letters
Issue 13 of The Republic of Letters
Issue 12 of The Republic of Letters

Click here for a video of Bellow and Botsford in Conversation

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