Foucault and the European Journal that never was

Caricature: Foucault

While looking in my papers for something else entirely, I’ve just come across a few copies of the pilot issue of Das Europäische Journal der Bücher & Autoren, published in January 1999, printed on 42 g/m2 paper at 245 mm x 400 mm. The Journal was intended as an implementation in German of the publishing model pioneered by the New York Review of Books and the London Review of Books. With a print run of 60,000 copies and a minimum of 48 pages per issue, the monthly was going to retail for 8 Deutsche Mark, 8 Swiss Francs, or 56 Austrian Schilling.

By the time I met the journal’s prospective publisher and editor in chief, a middle-aged academic from Southern Germany, he seemed anxious rather than hopeful about the project. He had made a huge investment of time, effort and enthusiasm into a project that may have been doomed from the beginning. He was worn down by protracted battles over funding. Knowledgeable people with whom I discussed the project told me it didn’t stand a chance as its market was too small.

Regardless, I contributed a few illustrations to the effort, one of which was the caricature of Michel Foucault flashing a wide grin, posing with an archaeologist’s spade.

The caricature is not a patch on the great David Levine‘s work for the New York Review of Books, but what ever is?

Das Europäische Journal der Bücher & Autoren never made it beyond its pilot issue.