Founded in 1932 by the Phi Beta Kappa Society, one of the country's best-respected fraternities, the American Scholar comes out four times a year, loaded each time with deep articles taking a scholarly look at literature, science, history, public affairs and even culture. As you might expect from such a prestigious magazine, there have been many awards and nominations in the magazine's past, with five National Magazine Awards won in recent years alone. It's also not uncommon for essays first published in the American Scholar to be reprinted in their year's Best American anthology.
Still, those anthologies can't carry everything published in the pages of the American Scholar, and rather than run the risk of missing out, countless students, academics, and others arrange to receive discount magazine subscriptions every year.
In addition to the well-researched articles and beautifully structured essays that have been the hallmark of the magazine since its creation over eighty years ago, a recent development has been the addition of fiction, beginning just nine years ago - but in those nine years, luminaries like Alice Munro, Dennis McFarland, Steven Milhauser, Louis Begley, David Leavitt, David Guterson and Ann Beattie, among others, have all graced the pages of the American Scholar.
That's an impressive early array, even when you consider that the poetry in each issue had already earned the magazine a strong literary reputation. But, of course, the magazine takes its name from a speech made by poet Ralph Waldo Emerson to the Harvard College chapter of the fraternity in 1837.
In this speech he lade out ideals that any American scholar, whether they learn through academia or are self-taught, should aspire to - independent thinking, self-knowledge, and an understanding and engagement with current events as strong as the natural scholarly attachment to science, history and the arts.
With that as the magazine's goal it's easy to see why it's gone from strength to strength in over eight decades, developing a reputation for learning and encouraging many regular readers, the majority of whom now take advantage of discount magazine subscriptions so that they never miss an issue.