One of my favorite characteristics of Buenos Aires are the many kiosks selling newspapers and magazines. Unlike North America you cannot buy magazines in the bookstores. I’m sure some expats miss the leisurely free reading of magazines while lounging in the coffeshop of a Barnes &Noble but I always was one for buying my magazines and taking them home, anyway. Of course, there’s not a lot of high-quality magazines to buy but that’s always been true of magazine publishing anywhere.

Buenos Aires is well-known for its vibrant intellectual life and magazines played an important role in the early-twentieth-century development of the city’s culture. A large number of literary magazines appeared during this time, though most lasted only briefly and some only one or two issues. (Literary magazines obviously are not known for being profitable endeavors). Some of the titles include Nosotros, Revista de America, El Mercurio de America, Ideas, El Grabado, Iniciales, Proa, Martín Fierro, and Sur, along with many others.

Nosotros was the most important of the early literary journals. Nosotros first appeared 98 years ago, having its first issue on August 1, 1907. Its full title was Nosotros: Revista mesual de letras, arte, historia, filosofia y ciencias sociales. So, like most literary magazines, Nosotros wasn’t just about literature but covered a range of intellectual thought. The editors of Nosotros were Alfredo Bianchi and Roberto Giusti, both in their early twenties when they founded the publication. In typical Porteño fashion Bianchi and Giusti conceived the idea for Nosotros at a cafe on Corrientes.

While Bianchi and Giusti had socialist leanings, Nosotros was not considered a radical publication. Indeed, Nosotros utlimately became the voice of the cultural establishment in Buenos Aires during the first quarter of the century. Throughout its 393 issues Nosotros would publish the leading writers in Argentina including Alberto Gerchunoff, Roberto Payro, Manuel Galvez, Ricardo Rojas, among others. One of the lesser known writers to be published in Nosotros was Jorge Guillermo Borges, father of a boy who would eventually become a world famous writer.

In the 1920s Nosotros, as the representative of culture in Buenos Aires, came under attack from the new generation of writers. Nosotros ceased publication in 1943 after the death of Bianchi.

In later posts I’ll be examining some of the other magazines that came after Nosotros in more detail, particularly Martín Fierro and Sur. Taking its name from the José Hernándes poem, Martín Fierro was the major cultural magazine of the 1920s Buenos Aires whereas Sur would become the most important Argentine journal of the 20th century.