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Link: Denis Dutton & The Death Of Lingua Franca


by Dennis Loy Johnson

November 5, 2001 — The death, two weeks ago, of Lingua Franca, the great magazine about intellectual and literary life in the academy, was not only sad news for the magazine's followers and admirers — it was a shock.

…. Lingua Franca seemed to be the foundation for a steadily growing mini–empire of publications related to the academy and the world of letters. First it had grown to include a website version of the magazine.... in what might have been the most impressive move of them all, last year the company reputedly spent over $1 million to purchase the enormously popular website Arts & Letters Daily.

… the question of timing may be the more pertinent one, in light of the revelation of a $16.5 million lawsuit filed against Academic Partners, as well as Arts & Letters Daily founder and editor–in–chief Denis Dutton, just days before the news of Lingua Franca's "demise" broke.

The suit is being brought by former Arts & Letters Daily executive editor Nancy Strickland, who is being represented by attorney Roger Simmons ….. Simmons filed Strickland's suit in the U.S. District Court in Washington D.C. on October 12, and Dutton was served notice on October 16 — the day before Lingua Franca editor Hearst wrote his hurried letter to the MediaNews site. In it, Dutton and Academic Partners are accused of having "appropriated for themselves the fruits of Strickland's intellect and labor," and Dutton is called "a highly polished con–man" and "a cyber–predator of the most insidious sort."

For the full article see…


continued . . .

Denis Dutton answered my initial, e–mailed request to talk about the Nancy Strickland suit with a reply that came back in less than four minutes: a one–sentence response that pointed out a minor typo I'd made in my request. I'd left a digit out of my telephone number. Dutton's letter, signed "Denis," said nothing else, and left me to assume he wanted my correct number so he could call me. I immediately sent back the corrected number, thanking him for his quick response and offering to call him if he preferred because, as it so happens, Dutton, although born in the U.S., lives in New Zealand.



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