The Life and Death of A Literary Legend
Everybody who was anybody in the cultural world was there, including a few celebrities whose names I knew but couldn't recall. A woman with an enormous hat wept as she told me how compulsively she read every issue of New York Literary Review (formerly Etheria). Flowery speeches were made. One tearful man became so demonstrative he had to be helped back to the wine bar. The death of New York Literary Review (formerly Etheria) was viewed as the collapse of Western Civilization, along with the loss of independent bookstores and at least three international crises, one of which the history professor on the dais with me never heard of. Poems were read in my honor. My favorite was the villanelle by a startlingly thin woman who explained how New York Literary Review had kept her alive during a painful breakup with a novelist who thought he was too good for her because he had been published in NYLR. "But I won't hold that against you," she said, smiling sweetly, as the audience chuckled.
She raised a glass and toasted "the legendary magazine and the legendary man who created it." Glasses clinked. "New York Literary Review had something no other magazine has," she said. "Hard to put your finger on, perhaps, but that's why we loved it so."
Before the evening was over I had an offer to teach at a prestigious liberal arts college. They said they wanted me to revitalize a moribund English department and bring the prestige of my magazine, which had long been a favorite of the department chairman.
They hinted rather broadly that I should revive New York Literary Review (formerly Etheria) on campus. I said that if I did it would be a magazine the likes of which they'd never seen.
They said that was exactly what they had in mind.
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