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Three Decades of VQR, Gratis


PUBLISHED: February 8, 2009

We just flipped the switch and made public every single poem, story, essay, and book review that appeared in VQR from 1975 through 2003—the whole of Staige Blackford’s tenure as editor—online for all the world to see. That’s 3,169 works in all. Some of these were already publicly available—1,608 in all, but the remaining 1,561 had only teaser previews available, and could be read in their entirety only by subscribers.

Here’s a selection of some works that caught my attention:

You can page through our last 34 years of issues and find some other gems. Three thousand articles is a lot of reading.

6 Comments

Matt Bell's picture
Thank you for doing this– I hope more magazines and publishers follow your lead. Open and free archives are good for readers, good for writers, and good for magazines. Thanks for being a part of that movement. And that Star Wars article is pretty great. I actually feel kind of bad for Wyatt. He must be so disappointed.
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Waldo Jaquith's picture
And that Star Wars article is pretty great. I actually feel kind of bad for Wyatt. He must be so disappointed.
I’ve been telling friends about that article over the past few days, and the consensus is that we must track him down and ask him. I mean, I watched episodes II and III on ABC, because they didn’t even seem worth renting, especially after the ghastly experience of seeing Phantom Menace in the theater. How painful must that have been for Wyatt?
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Matt Bell's picture
I think a follow up article might be sort of brilliant. Track him down and give him a couple thousand words and see what happens.
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Lee's picture
Lee · 9 years ago
Kudos, Waldo, you’ve been listening!
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Waldo Jaquith's picture
Those who enjoyed Horowitz’s “Printed Words, Computers, and Democratic Societies” will also enjoy Glen O. Robinson’s “The New Communications: Planning for Abundance,” from 1977. On e-mail:
A postal system based on physical delivery holds only modest promise since such delivery is likely soon to be obsolete for much of the mail that is most remunerative to the service, namely first-class mail. Some 70 per cent of all first-class mail consists of so-called “transactions mail” (financial statements, bills, checks, etc.), much of which requires no physical message form at all. It is probable that a large part of this mail will shift to electronic communications.
On broadband:
How will we use it? Who should control the system and on what terms? For example, apart from the obvious use of broadband television in providing more outlets for Norman Lear, what are the uses and application of this new superhighway? What kinds of public services should we expect and how can they be secured? What is the role of regulation in this new system? Beyond customary regulation of common carrier obligations and assuring reasonable access to the system by users, is there any role for regulation? In a system which provides not only dozens of different channels but also the means for the selection of programs by the individual viewer from a central library, is there any basis for a fairness doctrine, or an equal time rule, or a family viewing hour?
On mobile phones:
NASA has successfully developed a hand-held trans-ceiver capable of communication with a domestic satellite; with this radio, a person on the street in Bangor, Maine can talk via satellite to San Diego, California. The economic implications of such a system are apparent: the entire telephone industry as we know it (and as some love it) could become technologically obsolete in a very short period of time (shorter than the amortization for current investment rates contemplate). Should we be concerned? Economic questions to one side, what are the social implications of such a system? Do we want telephones in every car? In every pocket? […] To add still further to the complexity, the increased use of high frequency radio may conceivably present a health problem as a consequence of radiation. Unfortunately, little is known about the dangers of nonionizing microwave radiation, but enough is known to justify concern and further study.
On the transition from print to reading online:
Yet the concern over the fate of the print media clearly expresses more than a utilitarian consideration. There is also an anxiety about the cultural implications of reducing Melville and Dr. Seuss to magnetic tapes, or of relegating The Virginia Quarterly Review and Donnesbury entirely to television. Probably the anxiety reflects a romantic attachment to the traditions of the printed page, and perhaps an elitist attachment as well (electronic communication, as we now know it, is preeminently a popular medium), But even in a technologically modern and thoroughly democratic society, there is surely some room for romanticism, tradition, and even elitism; and if the print media reflect no other values than these, perhaps we should reserve some room for them in the coming electronic age. Still, even assuming some government intervention is appropriate, what can be done without compromising the tradition of independence on which the value of newspapers, magazines, and books rests?
On Congress’ inability to deal with the problem of net neutrality:
If Congress is to play an important role in the future of telecommunications, it will have to transcend its past preoccupation with television programming and grapple with other issues such as I have mentioned— issues not as colorful and publicly notorious as televised sex, but probably more fundamental to the operation of the system.
Honestly, I’m a bit stunned. I had to double-check the date of the article in the database. I looked the author up, and he’s a law professor here at UVa and a former commissioner of the FCC 1974-76).
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