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Hove, Arthur (ed.) / Wisconsin alumnus
Volume 63, Number 8 (Dec. 1961)

The new idea and Cheshire,   p. [15]


Page [15]


N THE LAST 100 years, eight liter-
   ary magazines have lived and died
on the University of Wisconsin campus
-among them, The Aegis, Pegasus, and
the Wisconsin Idea. The newest of this
continually evolving genre is The New
Idea which began .five years ago as a
supplement to the Daily Cardinal. For
two years, the magazine was published
under this arrangement, and then, strug-
gling for an identity of its own, The
New Idea secured funds which would
allow it to publish on its own. The re-
sult has been a slick 32-page magazine
devoted to "stimulating thoughtful stu-
dent expression."
  The New Idea has explained its rai-
the new ide
son d'etre in the following way: "For
a student to publish means a great deal.
It means, among other things, that his
ideas or techniques will be subjected to
the stern test of the criticism of his fel-
low students. Surely, both authors and
readers must benefit from this experi-
ence. Students do not accept unquestion-
ingly the creative endeavors of their
contemporaries, and The New Idea be-
lieves it will stimulate many lively
critical discussions both within the for-
mat of the magazine and on the campus.
After all, if a reader disagrees with n
article in The New Idea or wishes to
question the author on some point, he
has only to call him up or discuss the
point over coffee in the Union. Simi-
larly, the magazine allows the writer a
splendid opportunity to meet his audi-
ence. In these ways, then, can The New
Idea claim with justification to comple-
ment the University's effort to 'develop
the students' critical faculties and their
verbal self-expression.' "
   The New Idea defines itself as a "cul-
tural" magazine, "since it is the policy
. . . to consider for publication non-
fiction articles from every department in
the arts and sciences, as well as the
usual literary magazine fare: short stor-
ies, poetry, and drama." As the present
editor, Nell Schmitz, a senior from
Kaukauna, explains it, The New Idea is
not the special interest of a single group
on campus. Students from every field of
study are encouraged to contribute and
i66es6&re
   the bulk of the staff does not consist of
   English majors. The content of The
   New Idea ranges from the short story,
   poetry, critical essay or review, to ex-
   amples of student art, photography, and
   political essays. Schmitz makes two ob-
   servations about the conten t of the
   magazine: it is strictly limited to under-
   graduates, and he feels that "the most
   sophisticated writing being done on the
   campus is in poetry."
      Like its predecessors, The New Idea
   is continually beset by financial prob-
   lems. However, a recent grant from the
   President's fund combined with the in-
   come from advertising, sales, and circu-
   lation has kept the magazine close to a
   reasonable level of solvency. With con-
   tinued support, The New Idea promises
   to continue to flourish and to exclaim:
"The spectrum of student writing, it
seems, is rich at both extremes, but its
middle is near to being void. Perhaps
this is stating the obvious. Generally,
student writers do 'not write to be
mildly, adequately successful. And very
likely this is the way it should be, ex-
cept that so often simple proficiency
becomes, at best, accidental. Still, this
is one of the reasons why The New Idea
is. When a craggy piece, for some merit,
does find its way into the magazine;
print, cold hard print relentlessly aerates
the bad and underlines the good. It's a
caution then, and a goad, and if the
writers are forthcoming, The New Idea
can  become the fascinating    halfway
house it periodically has been."
   The Milwaukee campus of the Uni-
versity of Wisconsin fosters a publica-
tion quite similar to The New Idea. The
UW-M version is called Cheshire. In a
recent issue, Cheshire's editor explained
the effect that magazine has on the Mil-
waukee campus: "Your magazine exists
only because of the long and growing
list of UW-M     students, faculty and
alumni who have interested themselves
in self-expression and communication
through its pages. Thus, Cheshire, by
reflecting that interest, has come to have
a mirror-like quality. Whether as editor,
writer, artist or reader, we are all con-
tributors to Cheshire. It is ourselves as
interested persons, as men and women
adapting to changing conditions, and as
unique individuals who have made this
magazine what it is. We can expect
therefore, to see ourselves here-per-
haps somewhat as we would like to be,
but more nearly, as we are."
   Through The New Idea and Cheshire
the University of Wisconsin continues
to seek to define its literary heritage.
Members of The New Idea staff-S. Barrett Williams, Neil Schmitz, and Barbara
Sanders.
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