Articles of Faith

Neil BerryPublication: October 23rd, 2008


Neil Berry’s Articles of Faith is a selective study of British intellectual journals and their editors, among them the pioneering Edinburgh Review as edited by Francis Jeffrey at the beginning of the nineteenth century, the New Statesman as edited by Kingsley Martin during the middle of the twentieth century, and the London Review of Books as edited by Karl Miller in the 1980s. The book argues that the ‘higher journalism’ did much to prepare the way for the civic-minded Britain that emerged after the Second World War and that its exponents were unofficial civil servants with a mission to enlighten society. In a postscript, Berry considers the embattled position of such journalism in today’s commercialised media culture, with its fixation on celebrities and gossip and its unremitting hostility to serious discussion. This updated and expanded edition of Articles of Faith includes an afterword that discusses the furious controversy precipitated by the London Review of Books when, in 2006, it published a massive polemic by the political scientists John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt on the subject of America’s so-called ‘Israel Lobby’. Berry argues that the furore caused by this article re-affirmed the value of intellectual journalism, demonstrating that, on occasion, at least, it can still have a powerful impact on mainstream public debate.

ISBN: 978-1-904130-32-1 Extent: 272pp Category: Tag:

Articles of Faith

"Neil Berry has an interesting tale to tell …" John Gross, Times Literary Supplement

"He is full of good stories." Nicholas Bagnall, New Statesman

"There has never been a great magazine without a great editor, and Neil Berry’s study of ‘the higher journalism’ is also a series of vivid portraits of intellectual impresarios … Articles of Faith is written for the inquisitive lay reader rather than the specialist, like the periodicals it commemorates …’ Francis Wheen, Times Higher Education Supplement

"Berry has given us an enjoyable introduction to the subject and a taste for more research on our own parts … I recommend Articles of Faith … most warmly." Hazhir Teimourian, New Humanist

"Articles of Faith is a much-needed assessment of the power of the review and of its intellectual leadership". NewsStead: A Journal of History and Literature

"Intellectual journalism in Britain can be traced back to the beginning of the 19th century. Berry, a freelance journalist who contributes to contemporary journals, covers the prominent intellectual periodicals and their key editors of the movement. Beginning with Frances Jeffrey’s editorship of the Edinburgh Review, a quarterly, from 1802 to 1829, Berry details how British journals of opinion exercised worldwide influence on political and literary journalism. Under Jeffrey, the Edinburgh Review established the precedent for editorial independence, and it regularly criticized popular authors such as Wordsworth and Coleridge. As the tempo of communication changed, quarterlies were upstaged in the late 1800s by monthlies such as the Fortnightly Review and the Review of Reviews. Continuing the chronology into the 20th century, Berry relates the strange history of the anti-Communist cultural review, Encounter, founded in 1953 and funded by the CIA. The narrative closes with an overview of the London Review of Books, which began in 1979, and concludes with an open question about the future of intellectual journalism in a commercialized media culture. Readers who have a strong background in British cultural history and an interest in the history of publishing will appreciate this book. Academic libraries with strong collections in these areas should consider." Judy Solberg, The George Washington Univ. Libs., Washington, DC