Salmagundi celebrates 45th year

Posted by Noam Dagan

Salmagundi, noun: a dish composed of chopped meat, anchovies, eggs and onions with oil and condiments.

Delicious — and informative? That is right, Salmagundi is more than a salad dish originating in early 17th century England. It is also a periodical devoted to the humanities and social sciences published at Skidmore College.

While the similarities between a seemingly random assortment of culinary ingredients and a literary and polemical quarterly may not be strikingly obvious, Salmagundi may be the perfect name for Skidmore's very own "little magazine."

Founded in 1965 and first published in 1969, Salmagundi publishes everything from essays, to reviews, fiction, poetry, regular columns, polemics, debates and symposia.

Similar publications can be found at college campuses throughout the country, but what distinguishes Salmagundi from the rest is its commitment to provide the reader with a wide variety of literary content and political perspective.

Robert Boyers, editor-in-chief of Salmagundi and Tisch professor of Arts and Letters, explains that "what distinguishes Salmagundi from other ‘little magazines' is its obvious commitment not only to a very wide range of subjects and viewpoints, but to controversy. Though the magazine is politically left-leaning, its pages are given over to the unpredictable and contentious and its editors clearly avoid anything remotely resembling (or smelling like) ‘political correctness.'"

Perhaps the multiplicity of perspectives and ideas is why the magazine chose the hodge-podge arrangement of random foods as its name.

Contributors long associated with Salmagundi include Nadine Gordimer, J.M Coetzee, Tzvetan Todorov, George Steiner, Orlando Patterson, Norman Manea, Christopher Hitchens, Seamus Heaney, Mary Gordon, Susan Sontag, Benjamin Barber, Joyce Carol Oates, Richard Howard, Carolyn Forché, Martin Jay and David Rieff.

To celebrate the 45th anniversary of the magazine, which arrived this month, "the editors of Salmagundi brought out a special anniversary issue which features a ‘Who's Who' of American writers and a typically feisty mix of highly provocative articles," Boyers said.

Having Salmagundi published on campus has benefited the school in a number of ways.

Boyers explained, "Salmagundi has sponsored conferences and other public events on campus, bringing to the college many of the world's leading writers, thinkers, public intellectuals and artists of various kinds. Often those events have been the basis for special issues of the magazine, published a year or so after the campus events."

In addition to organizing great events here on campus, Salmagundi brings the name of the school to distant corners of the globe because it is sold in select stores all over the world and is held in collections of several foreign libraries.

Salmagundi's relationship with the college provides students with ample opportunities to get involved with the magazine.

"Students are often very much involved with the magazine in an intimate way. Six or seven students work on the staff of the magazine in any given year and some of them, upon graduation, move immediately into publishing jobs in New York City or elsewhere. Other students, of course, receive the magazine by subscription and attend events sponsored by Salmagundi," Boyers said.

To subscribe to Salmagundi, you can visit to its homepage on the Skidmore website.

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