Perspective magazine was one of the more interesting
literary magazines to emerge in the United States after World War II. It was
founded in 1947 by Jarvis Thurston and his wife, the poet Mona Van Duyn, while
they were teaching at the University of Louisville. When Thurston joined the
English faculty of Washington University in 1950, the magazine moved with
them to St. Louis. Thurston and Van Duyn operated the magazine, which appeared
quarterly, from St. Louis for over twenty years until 1975, the date of Perspective' s final issue. In 1982, the Washington University English Department produced a special dedicatory issue of Perspective. This issue, which honored Thurston on
his retirement and featured new work by his former students and contributors,
might be considered the magazine's true final issue.
Perspective' s 28-year run was quite lengthy,
compared to most little magazines. What made Perspective important,
however, was not the length of time it survived but the quality of the work
it published. Thurston, Van Duyn, and the various other editors who worked
on the magazine over the years demonstrated a keen eye for promising work
by emerging poets and fiction writers. Authors whose work Perspective helped
to introduce include William S. Merwin, Anthony Hecht, Douglas Woolf, Thomas
McAfee, William Gass, Stanley Elkin, Donald Finkel, and Constance Urdang,
the latter three serving on the editorial staff of the magazine for many years.
And, as the list below indicates, Perspective' s
reputation as an important literary magazine helped it attract work from many
of the most prominent authors of the time.