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Speculation begins over Lapham's replacement at Harper's

Last week, Lewis Lapham announced his decision to step down from his 24-year-long post as editor-in-chief of Harper’s, saying to The New York Times, “I have a certain number of years left and a number of things I’ve left undone.”

Creator of popular sections in the magazine that include the ever-imitated Harper’s Index — and largely responsible for the magazine’s current mix of essays, fiction, and snippets, as well as its left-leaning stance — Lapham’s presence at the helm of one of America’s oldest magazines will be missed.

But the fun part — speculation on successors — has only really begun, and Jim Hanas of the blog Encyclopedia Hanasiana conjectures that Harper’s and Saturday Night alum and This American Life senior editor Paul Tough is likely a candidate, as well as other Harper’s alums Jack Hitt and Michael Pollan. In response to Hanas’s call for “some irresponsible conjecture, dammit,” Bookslut’s Michael Schaub throws in a pick of his own: “Notre Dame head football coach Charlie Weis. He turned the Fighting Irish from also-rans to BCS contenders. Can he do the same for one of America’s most beloved magazines?”

Related links:
Click here for the official word from Harper’s
Click here for The New York Times‘ take on the news
Click here for Jim Hanas’s speculations on Encyclopedia Hanasiana
Click here for the posting by Bookslut’s Michael Schaub