From the Archives:
A letter to subscribers from George Plimpton.
Those who in 1953 chose to buy the first issue of the literary magazine, the Paris Review, paid 75 cents for it. The issue had 120 pages (including three of advertising) featuring the work of Peter Matthiessen, Terry Southern, George Steiner and Robert Bly, among others, and an interview with E.M. Forster on the craft of writing. A single copy of that first issue is now worth, I am told, well over $200—a financial as well as an intellectual windfall for those who prudently kept the issue on their shelves.
If you subscribe to the Paris Review immediately, the twelve issues you will receive for a three-year subscription will be worth TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS by the year 2020. A shelf of the Paris Review can be an important addition to the family heirlooms—a valuable collection, in the jargon of the times. And this can happen without ever having to crack open an issue.
For those who enjoy intellectual stimulus as well as monetary gain, the Paris Review has been, from its earliest years, a showcase for the brightest writers, poets, and artists of our time. Time called it “the biggest little magazine in history.”
The Paris Review is more than a magazine. As it gains value over the years, like a work of art, or a vintage wine, it behooves one (a word I rarely use, but here it is just right) to clear a space on the library shelves and start laying in a supply.