With shock and sadness, we note the death of Joseph Rago, a valued collaborator at The New Criterion and a friend to all of us at the magazine. A member of The Wall Street Journal editorial page and winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing, Joe has been a contributor to the pages of The New Criterion since 2006 and, at the time of his death, was the author of our Fiction Chronicle. His final column appeared in our May 2017 number.
Joe was a frequent speaker to the Friends and Young Friends of The New Criterion and a regular presence in our efforts at the magazine. His friendship with several members of our staff goes back to his undergraduate years at Dartmouth College. At The Dartmouth Review, the off-campus publication, where I was board chairman and he was an editor, Joe displayed literary and critical gifts that were sui generis and full-formed. His writing was a force of nature, landing him at The Wall Street Journal upon graduation and a Pulitzer before he was thirty. But Joe was also modest about his gifts, bemused by his talents, and a welcome and unassuming companion. His brilliance burned bright and was extinguished too soon.
Our fuller notice will run in the September 2017 edition of The New Criterion. His obituary appears inThe Wall Street Journal this weekend.