The Atlantic will expand its book coverage, citing its heritage as a major force in American intellectual culture.
"Expect more book reviews and essays — plus provocative arguments, reported stories, profiles, original fiction and poetry, and, of course, recommendations for your every reading need," said Jane Yong Kim, the venerable publication's literary editor, in announcing the expansion.
Founded in 1857 in Boston amid the country's turmoil that led to the Civil War, the Atlantic Monthly published many of the landmark pieces of American literature.
With founders like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow William Dean Howells and James Russell Lowell, it set the abolitionist agenda that led to the Union victory and the end of slavery.
In its early years, it published landmark work by Harriet Beecher Stowe, Mark Twain, Howells, John Greenleaf Whittier and Julia Ward Howell. It later published work by a galaxy of American writers through the 20th century and first decades of the 21st.
The publication galvanized the civil rights movement by publishing Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letter from Birmingham Jail."
Emerging from years struggling to survive, the Atlantic is one of America's traditional media companies enjoying a renaissance in the online publishing world.
After Apple founder Steve Jobs' widow Laurene Powell Jobs bought the company through her Emerson Collective, the company gained profitability from a boost in Web site subscriptions. Under editor Jeffrey Goldberg, the publication has hired a vibrant lineup of writers and regained prevalence in political and cultural debates.
As general book readership declines and publishing industry consolidation increases, the Atlantic is seeking to draw from a shrinking audience of book readers. Many Atlantic subscribers likely also read Harpers, the New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review, the New York Review of Books, the Times Literary Supplement and the London Review of Books.
While many of those readers are members of an aging elite, the Atlantic's younger writers appeal to a rising generation who seem returning to books in some degree. Younger novelists, mainly women, and non-fiction writers keep publishing a strong offering of books.
Along with books appealing to urban liberals, a Fox News-bred publishing industry churns out books condemned as factually spurious.
The decline of daily newspapers has brought a decline in book coverage. The Los Angeles Times and Washington Post still cover books in depth, with strong reviews, and journals like the Los Angeles Review of Books have proliferated online.
After a move from literary Boston to Washington, D.C., in 2005, the Atlantic retrenched. Cutting back to 10 issues a year, it changed its name from the Atlantic Monthly to the Atlantic.
Focusing more on politics and social issues, it also stopped publishing fiction and poetry, leaving the New Yorker and Harper's as the sole mass-audience journals offering short stories and poems. The rise of university literary magazines filled the void as creative writing programs proliferated.
The Atlantic's return to publishing fiction, essays and poetry is welcome news for a rising generation of young writers and the readers they hope to reach. As in the past, the Atlantic aims to set the standard for American literature.