Modernist Serialities


Volume 1, Issue 2

What is a journal “issue”?  Glancing over to my bookshelf with its arrayed white rows of M/ms past, I see what James Mussell has called the periodical’s “dynamic of seriality” made manifest: each issue is new, unique, yet advertises its newness within a framework of repetition. With this second “issue”—perhaps better termed “cycle”—of M/m’s Print Plus platform, we begin to embrace the mode of seriality made possible by digital publication: rather than one discrete and contained “issue,” this and future cycles comprise a set of staggered uploads over the course of the life of, and complementing, augmenting, and even answering, the concurrent print issue. The experience of reading M/m across its platforms will thus change continually throughout the cycle, be made new with each successive visit.

It seems only appropriate, then, that this cycle’s featured article from the April print issue is itself concerned with overlapping serialities: Ruth Mayer’s “‘Never twice the same”: Fantômas’s Early Seriality” examines the transmedial “dynamics of spread” of the image of the fictional master criminal, whom Mayer characterizes as a “medial phantasm.” Mayer’s article, too, serves to illustrate some of the possibilities of the Print Plus platform for scholarly publication, incorporating clips from the first Fantômas film in the place of the stills included with the article in print.

Here too to augment the experience of the print journal are full-color reproductions of the futurist art featured in Ara Merjian’s article on Marinetti’s Mafarka and illustrations for Meg Boulton’s Joseph Cornell gallery review.

Over the next weeks the platform will feature exclusive peer-reviewed articles by Asato Ikeda and Leif Sorensen, and the debut of Roger Rothman’s “Aesthetic Turns” blog, as well as new contributions to the “Process” and “Field Reports” blogs and some innovative additions to “What Are You Reading?” In the meantime, readers should find ample scope for comment, discussion, and play in Jonathan Goodwin’s “Topic Modeling Modernism/modernity.” This contribution to Laura Heffernan’s “Discipline” blog brings quantitative methods to disciplinary history, through an analysis of M/m itself, while offering readers of this site the opportunity for interactive exploration of their own. If Goodwin’s earlier foray into M/m raised (perhaps perennial) issues of academic exclusivity, the Print Plus platform by its very nature offers multiple opportunities for pushing back against such tendencies.

Indeed, we hope that engaging with Goodwin’s visualizations leads readers to contemplate other possibilities for exploiting the capabilities of the platform—both those we’ve already provided for (do you have responses to the Camp Modernism pieces in the January issue? would you be interested in developing a peer-reviewed cluster? have you recently rediscovered a book that deserves exposure in “What Are You Reading”?)—and those we haven’t even thought of yet.

--Debra Rae Cohen

--Debra Rae Cohen
--Debra Rae Cohen