Founded in 1857, The Atlantic Monthly is one of the USA’s most venerable journals, covering a wide range of topics from culture and politics, to food and travel. The Atlantic’s website is made up of three sections: Atlantic Unbound, the online journal which focuses on books, literature and culture; In the Magazine, which contains a selection of articles from the current print magazine; and From the Archives, a dip into The Atlantic’s extensive archive. Each section appears on every page, but the sections are colour-coded, easing navigation around this meaty site.
The pages most likely to interest book lovers, Books & Critics, Poetry Pages and Fiction, which showcases original short stories, are all easily found from the left-hand navigation bar. Each piece of writing has links to related items, both at The Atlantic site and elsewhere. Registration is required for Transatlantic, the free weekly newsletter. The quality of writing at this site is all that you would expect from a journal that has become a cultural institution in the United States with debates at the Post & Riposte reader forum matching the wide-ranging and articulate debates in the magazines.
From the Archives All issues of the online journal, Atlantic Unbound, are archived, together with selected articles from the print magazine stretching back to its inception. From the Archives presents highlights on each category homepage, ranging from an essay on journalism and morality from the June 1926 issue of The Atlantic Monthly, to a review of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, dated January 1882. The archive homepage, reached from the left-hand navigation bar, features a useful set of topic indexes, including a small section on classic book reviews. You will now be charged a small fee to search and freely access the archives but the richness of their content makes it well worth it.
Poetry Pages this section of The Atlantic Unbound is particularly rich in content, with reviews, interviews, essays and appreciations. The In the Magazine section feature poems commissioned for The Atlantic, alongside work from established and classic poets. Poems labelled Soundings have audio clips, although sound quality can vary. You’ll need Real Player software if you want to listen to these and there’s help available if you need to download it.
Fiction Short stories commissioned by The Atlantic can be found on the Fiction pages, alongside selections from the archive which might include work by John Updike, Vladimir Nabokov or Louisa May Alcott.
Post & Riposte The Atlantic Unbound’s discussion area can be reached via Forum on the left-hand navigation bar. Conference areas are ranged by subject, although registration entitles you to post messages in any area. Debates are lively, informed and articulate with occasional lapses into frivolity or name-calling, roundly castigated. Registration is free and personal details can be included when registering. Both these and email addresses are displayed by clicking on the name of the contributor but this facility is restricted to fellow members.