Featured here in parts is the prospectus Murry drew up before the launch of the magazine, as quoted in The Life of John Middleton Murry:
The Adelphi aims at filling a place apart among contemporary magazine. Of magazines of fiction, or political and literary reviews, there are already enough and to spare. What is needed, and what The Adelphi is designed to supply, is a magazine in which subjects of vital interest to modern readers are treated with honesty and conviction. The standard by which the contents of The Adelphi will be decided is ‘significance for life.’
We are bored to death by modern dilettantism. We are sick of ‘Art.’ Inspired by no living purpose, it has brought us nowhere. If modern literature is to be anything better than a pastime for railway journeys or a parlour game for effete intellectuals, it must be built upon some active conviction. Those who have something to say will know how to say it. Therefore, we hope that although the contents of The Adelphi may not be ‘literary,’ they will be literature.
We believe that there is no such thing. There is science, and there is literature. What has lasted under the name of philosophy is either one or the other. But true literature and true science are always in a sense philosophical: they are occupied with reality. In this sense, The Adelphi will also be philosophical.
The Adelphi will not be a high-brow magazine. It aims at being comprehensible and interesting to as many people as possible. But it will not be written down to suit the needs of an imaginary audience of the semi-educated and half-witted. We believe that a magazine to be really interesting to its readers must be interesting to those who write it.