Thanks to everyone who joined the Modernist Studies Association’s online workshop “Publishing in Modernism/modernity” in mid-November, where panelists Santanu Das, Cherene Sherrard-Johnson, and Beryl Pong recounted their experiences with the journal and took questions from participants. Anne Fernald and I were there as Coeditors, also taking questions. As we said several times then: please feel free to reach out to Anne or me with questions or concerns about the journal. It might take a few days for us to get back, but we do respond to all queries. During that session, we mentioned a few new features coming to Print Plus, but more on those next time . . .
Because at the moment the Very Big News is that the board of the Modernist Studies Association has chosen the new Coeditor to replace me when I rotate out in summer 2021. Or rather Coeditors, plural: Alys Moody and Stephen J. Ross. As evidenced by their recent coedited Global Modernists on Modernism: An Anthology (Bloomsbury Academic, 2020), the duo have a proven commitment to working with a broad range of scholars in a broad range of fields. I am confident they will not only maintain, but dramatically expand the journal’s efforts to reflect more fully the breadth and depth of modernism and the people who study it. Despite their already impressive scholarly track records, however, Professors Moody and Ross are relatively early in their careers and will therefore also bring new and necessary energies and perspectives to the journal. Mindful of a recent tweet that asked, with a little snark, why academics are always “delighted” (fair enough), I will say that I am truly and completely psyched for their run.
Despite some pandemic-related delays here and there, Print Plus has been able to get back to a more robust publication schedule and we look forward to sustaining that. Since my last note we have published no fewer than three clusters: the diverse but uniformly brilliant set of reflections on Wartime edited by Beryl Pong; a group of polemical and timely takes on teaching and researching modernism in the age #Metoo, edited by Megan Quigley; and, most recently, the rich and generative Modernist Institutions, edited by Megan Faragher and Caroline Z. Krzakowski.
There have been too many blog posts for me to say something about each one individually: Patty Argyrides and Meindert Peters on “Movement Literacy”; Heather A. Love on “Modernism, Cybernetics, and Systems Theory”; Marijeta Bozovic on the Danube in Cold War film and after; and Lauren M. Rosenblum on feminist methodology in the archive. Cedric Van Dijck went “Rummaging through E. M. Forster’s Loot.”
I do, however, want to draw special attention to Alix Beeston’s editorial work on the Visualities blog. In addition to the latest regular installment—the lovely and lively “Typestruck: On Women and Writing Machines” by Amy E. Elkins and Glenn Adamson—Beeston also brought us a special series on Digital Archives, with contributions by Brandon Truett and Kate Saccone, as well as the multi-authored pieces, “Handiwork: Mina Loy, Collage, and the En Dehors Garde” and “New Hands on Old Papers: Modernist Publishing and the Archival Gaze.”
While this was a notable cycle for clusters and blogs, we’ve also continued to publish full-length articles (peer reviewed and exclusive to Print Plus!). The visual culture of the European avant-garde was well represented, with Raymond Spiteri’s contribution on surrealism and the Cahiers d’Art, Doug Singsen’s “The Historical Avant-Garde from 1830 to 1939: l’art pour l’art, blague, and Gesamtkunstwerk,” Brandon Pelcher on typography and ideology in the poetry of Kurt Schwitters, and Brandon’s Truett’s “Guernica, Inc.: Art, Exile, Recirculation.” We also published Valentino Gianuzzi’s archival revelations on the 1920s Andean avant-garde, “A Film of Landscapes,” as well as Chris Roulston’s “Translating Desire,” on the subtle role of André Gide and French literature in Dorothy Strachey’s long-neglected Olivia.
In closing, I would like to say something brief about something that is difficult to discuss at all, especially briefly. In early September, one of the new members of our editorial board, Robert Bird, was taken by a cancer that had been diagnosed less than a year earlier. We knew many of the same people, but I only had the pleasure of meeting Robert a handful of times. I was excited and honored that he was willing to join the board when I invited him; we discussed a few things he might do for the journal in the future, but then the in-person follow-up had to be postponed . . .
In the time of COVID-19, with fresh horrors seemingly every hour, it is difficult to find the right kind of space for even personal, much less professional, mourning and remembrance. Notices of Robert’s passing were published by the University of Chicago and Artforum, for example—and those who knew him well have written about him in ways that I could not. Still, I wanted to take a moment to mourn and remember publicly the loss of work that won’t be written, insights that won’t be shared, and relationships that might have been.
Since this note was written and edited the journal has learned of the passing of Lawrence Rainey, one of the journal’s founding editors. He will be remembered in the January 2021 print issue and in the near future here on Print Plus.