September (The Mixtape)

Greetings from the Fordham office of Modernism/modernity!

This is my first editor’s note to you in my new role as Print+ editor. After five years of heroic service, Christopher Bush has stepped down as co-editor of the journal. As you look at Print+ and read the print issue itself and marvel at the range and diversity of articles we now publish, you can thank Chris for his extraordinary gifts. He brought expertise in and commitment to global modernisms as well as commitment to being a generous developmental editor. He saw the merit in pieces that still needed revision and did so much to help shepherd them through the process in ways that benefit us all. I am so grateful to him, and to my predecessor, Debra Rae Cohen. You will not be surprised to know that I still have both on speed dial. Not to worry, though, Chris is still here: I'm happy to say that he has joined the Editorial Board.

It’s November on the calendar, but it’s still September in our hearts. Or rather, the September issue of the print journal is making its way to your home now. When we plan these print issues, we think of them like a mixtape, striving to find that perfect balance of logic and surprise, that mix of eight articles that will offer something you are already interested in and a new discovery. But when I sat down with my Fordham team--my managing editor, Julia Cosacchi, our digital managing editor, Clemence Sfadj, and the doctoral students who help us on occasion--correct the proofs, we were delighted and amazed at the harmony of this issue in particular. We start off with a pair of essays on Cather, then two essays on Woolf. The second Woolf essay’s interest in poetry in The Years raises formal questions that show us new ways to read that novel while reminding us of all that we can gain from attention to how tiny fragments of language ring in our ears, challenging our ideas of form and meaning. From there, we move to considerations of poetic form and verse drama in Langston Hughes, W. H. Auden, Stephen Spender, and Arnold Schoenberg. I know we made this list on purpose, but I’m still delighted by its harmonies: it’s a complex chord, but it works.  If you are not a print subscriber, we encourage you to renew your membership and subscribe. Your subscription supports the work we do here. 

Chris's departure makes room for our new co-editors, Stephen Ross of Concordia University and Alys Moody of Bard College. Their range and expertise in the field of global modernism is manifest in their MSA book-prize winning volume, Global Modernists on Modernism (Bloomsbury 2020). Together, they are co-editors in charge of book reviews for the next two years (and then two more years of their term after that). I have rotated into overseeing Print+ for the remaining two years of my term. I am happy to report that Harrington Weihl of Northwestern continues as Print+ digital editor. Alys and Stephen are already hard at work. They also have some really exciting ideas around developmental editing and mentoring junior scholars, so watch this space for that.

On Print+, in addition to the rich array of blogs we already publish, Chris added Black Spring, edited by Kevin Bell, on Black performance. To that, I am adding two more: Orientations, a blog on feminist/queer modernism to be edited by Janine Utell and Energy and the Environment, on climate change and the anthropocene. On the principle that we attend to the things we name, I hope that these new blogs encourage attention in these areas. While the blogs we currently have are methodological, cutting across national and other identity categories, the current crises we face called for an explicit declaration of commitment to these three topics. It's my hope and expectation that all of the blog editors will continue their commitment to using the blog posts to provoke and interest all of us, and to offer opportunities for publication and dissemination of ideas by early career scholars, BIPOC scholars, those at teaching institutions with little research support, and other precariously employed modernists.

Clusters continue: we have many on tap and many more in development. These continue to be an exciting way for us to be in conversation with each other and to publish provocative and interconnected work on the Print+ platform. I still miss conferences--so much--but in this strange moment where it remains hard to gather, the conversations among pieces in a cluster help populate our minds with the happy circumstance of ideas bumping into each other.

We are also expanding book reviews on Print+ in three exciting ways. First, we are publishing a few reviews of books that won't fit in the print journal--and have already done so with Amanda Golden’s review of Red Comet, the new biography of Sylvia Plath. Secondly, we have on deck--and are actively seeking more--reviews of new editions of modernist texts (such as those by Persephone Books, Broadview, or NYRB) that may ignite the interest of readers.  Recovery work proceeds in across multiple platforms--we need materials accessible in the archives, scholarship on the authors, publishers to make editions available, and we need straightforward reviews of the texts--why might a person want to read, engage with, teach, or "work on" a text now?

And finally, we are introducing The Little Reviews: capsule reviews of just 250 words, of new books. With so many books coming out every month and only space to interview ten or so in each print issue, we have long recognized the books we cannot review in full in a list of "Books of Interest." If you would like to write a capsule review (250-300 words) of one of the books featured in the Books of Interest section of our more recent print issues, we would welcome your submission at Please include the issue number in which the book is listed in your correspondence. At this time, we are only interested in self-commissions drawn from recent "books of interest" lists (the most recent four or five print issues of Modernism/modernity). We recognize that the cost-benefits of book reviewing are tricky: it's largely a service to the profession. Nevertheless, sometimes, one reads a monograph and wants to point attention in its direction. We welcome little reviews from faculty as well as graduate students. All submissions will be subject to editing and submission is no guarantee of publication.

As we live through the long tail of this miserable pandemic, we continue to marvel at the ideas you share with us in these pages--digital and print. Onward!

—Anne E. Fernald