The New Criterion

The New Criterion is a New York–based monthly literary magazine and journal of artistic and cultural criticism, edited by Roger Kimball (editor and publisher) and James Panero (executive editor). It has sections for criticism of poetry, theater, art, music, the media, and books. It was founded in 1982 by Hilton Kramer, former art critic for The New York Times, and Samuel Lipman, a pianist and music critic. The name is a reference to The Criterion, a British literary magazine edited by T. S. Eliot from 1922 to 1939.

The New Criterion
Editor and publisherRoger Kimball
CategoriesLiterary magazine
PublisherFoundation for Cultural Review
Year founded1982
CountryUnited States
Based inNew York City, New York

The magazine describes itself as a "monthly review of the arts and intellectual life ... in the forefront both of championing what is best and most humanely vital in our cultural inheritance and in exposing what is mendacious, corrosive, and spurious."[2] It evinces an artistic classicism and political conservatism that are rare among other publications of its type.[3][4]

It regularly publishes "special pamphlets", or compilations of published material organized into themes. Some past examples have been Corrupt Humanitarianism; Religion, Manners, and Morals in the U.S. and Great Britain; and Reflections on Anti-Americanism.

Since 1999, The New Criterion has been running the New Criterion Poetry Prize, a poetry contest with a cash prize. In 2004, The New Criterion contributors began publishing a blog, known as Dispatch (previously known as ArmaVirumque).


The New Criterion was founded in 1982 by The New York Times art critic Hilton Kramer. He cited his reasons for leaving the paper to start The New Criterion as "the disgusting and deleterious doctrines with which the most popular of our Reviews disgraces its pages", as well as "the dishonesties and hypocrisies and disfiguring ideologies that nowadays afflict the criticism of the arts, [which] are deeply rooted in both our commercial and our academic culture". "It is therefore all the more urgent", he went on to say, "that a dissenting critical voice be heard, and it is for the purpose of providing such a voice that The New Criterion has been created."[5]

Kramer's decision to leave The New York Times, where he had been the newspaper's chief art critic, and to start a magazine devoted to ideas and the arts "surprised a lot of people and was a statement in itself", according to Erich Eichmann.[6]

Contributors to the journal include Mark Steyn, as well as articles by Roger Scruton, David Pryce-Jones, Theodore Dalrymple, and Jay Nordlinger.

In its first issue, dated September 1982, the magazine set out "to speak plainly and vigorously about the problems that beset the life of the artists and the life of the mind in our society" while resisting "a more general cultural drift" that had in many cases, "condemned true seriousness to a fugitive existence".


According to the conservative publication The New York Sun, for a quarter of a century The New Criterion "has helped its readers distinguish achievement from failure in painting, music, dance, literature, theater, and other arts. The magazine, whose circulation is 6,500, has taken a leading role in the culture wars, publishing articles whose titles are an intellectual call to arms."[6]


Since the magazine's founding, many writers, poets, academics, commentators, and politicians - mostly drawn from the conservative end of the political spectrum - have written for it. Contributors include:


Hilton Kramer Fellowship

Since its inauguration in 2013, The New Criterion’s reader-funded[8] Hilton Kramer Fellowship has been awarded to promising writers with an interest in developing careers as critics.

Edmund Burke Annual Gala

First awarded in 2012, The New Criterion’s Edmund Burke Award for Service to Culture and Society is given annually to individuals “who have made conspicuous contributions to the defense of civilization.”[9]

The publication hosts an annual gala honoring recipients of the award. Edmund Burke Award recipients include:[10]

New Criterion anthologies

  • Counterpoints: 25 Years of The New Criterion on Culture and the Arts, edited by Roger Kimball and Hilton Kramer; Ivan R. Dee, 512 pages, (2007). ISBN 1-56663-706-6 ISBN 978-1566637060
  • Against the Grain: The New Criterion on Art and Intellect at the End of the 20th Century, edited by Hilton Kramer and Roger Kimball; Ivan R. Dee, 477 pages (1995). ISBN 1-56663-069-X ISBN 978-1566630696
  • The New Criterion Reader: The First Five Years, edited by Hilton Kramer; Free Press, 429 pages (1988). ISBN 0-02-917641-7 ISBN 978-0029176412

New Criterion books

  • Lengthened Shadows: America and Its Institutions in the Twenty-First Century, edited by Roger Kimball and Hilton Kramer; Encounter Books, 266 pages (2004). ISBN 1-59403-054-5 ISBN 978-1594030543
  • The Survival of Culture: Permanent Values in a Virtual Age, edited by Hilton Kramer and Roger Kimball; Ivan R. Dee, 256 pages (2002). ISBN 1-56663-466-0, ISBN 978-1-56663-466-3
  • The Betrayal of Liberalism: How the Disciples of Freedom and Equality Helped Foster the Illiberal Politics of Coercion and Control edited by Hilton Kramer and Roger Kimball; Ivan R. Dee, 256 pages (1999). ISBN 1-56663-257-9, ISBN 978-1-56663-257-7
  • The Future of the European Past edited by Hilton Kramer and Roger Kimball; Ivan R. Dee, 251 pages (1997). ISBN 1-56663-178-5, ISBN 978-1-56663-178-5

The New Criterion Poetry Prize

Since 2000 the magazine has been awarding its poetry prize to a poet for "a book-length manuscript of poems that pay close attention to form."[11]

The following poets have won the prize[12] and all have been published by Ivan R. Dee of Chicago:


  1. "The New Criterion". The New Criterion.
  2. "About Us". The New Criterion. Retrieved September 6, 2016.
  3. Knight, Christopher (December 29, 1991). "ART : COMMENTARY : The Little Journal That Can't : The New Criterion, now in its 10th year under Hilton Kramer, has looked to neoconservative doctrine as its muse". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved January 9, 2019.
  4. Honan, William H. (September 15, 2001). "THINK TANK; At 20, a Conservative Gadfly Can Still Bite". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 9, 2019.
  5. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on August 24, 2004. Retrieved August 18, 2004.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. Shapiro, Gary. Twenty-Five Years of Arts and Ideas, New York Sun, September 8, 2006
  7. Manne, Robert, "In Denial: the Stolen Generations and the Right", Quarterly Essay 1, April 2001.
  8. "Donate to The New Criterion - TNC". Retrieved January 11, 2017.
  9. "Edmund Burke Award - The New Criterion". Retrieved January 11, 2017.
  11. David Yezzi's post at the Armavirumque blog, "the New Criterion Poetry Prize", January 29, 2007, Retrieved February 1, 2007
  12. "Bookstore | The New Criterion". Retrieved June 26, 2018.
  13. Kelly, Brian P. (January 9, 2013). "Dick Allen wins 2013 New Criterion Poetry Prize by Brian P. Kelly". The New Criterion. Retrieved September 6, 2016.
  14. "Bookstore". The New Criterion. Retrieved September 6, 2016.
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