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The Past Is Not Even Past

In this issue, we have called upon innovative thinkers to write about where literature is headed as a field and business. We wanted essays that were well reasoned, however speculative in nature. We wanted them to be aggressive, even edgy, yet fair and defendable not just on their merits but their facts. Toward that end, we open with a thought-provoking lead essay by Richard Nash.

Illustration by John Ritter

What Is the Business of Literature?

Most other accounts of the contemporary business of literature are autobiographical, hagiographic, or histories of literature, avoiding the business and economics of it all. So why study a business that is sui generis, that isn’t even really a business—that, like America, is exceptional?