- Editors’ Note
With “The Public and the Nation” we meet a goal set when we began editing Eighteenth-Century Studies in Chapel Hill: to make each issue of ECS as coherent as possible by centering it on some topic or current problem of special interest to our readers. We are now able to arrange the articles that have been accepted so that future issues will also be focused. What pleases us most is that the focal points have emerged from the essays submitted and accepted through the normal process of evaluation. In fulfilling our editorial function, we have done little more than order and publish the articles that our colleagues have furnished us. That little more consists in filling the gaps by commissioning forums, introductions, or review essays from colleagues particularly able to address the subjects of our issues. “The Public and the Nation,” then, is not a special issue, but it is the first in a series of publications organized by editors Mary Sheriff and James Thompson in Chapel Hill. Our goal is to draw attention to the many common interests of eighteenth-century scholars working in their different fields with all their different assumptions and methods.
We wish to assure our readers that articles are accepted on their intrinsic merits and that only the publication order is, within reason, determined by the subject or topic addressed. Obviously the essays in some issues can be more closely related and tightly organized, but the challenge of shaping and directing the backlog will, we hope, produce unexpected insights and useful connections. We also wish to assure our readers that organizing the backlog will not be the single determining factor for commissioning forums and review essays. We will continue to plan these features with an eye to expanding our range of offerings and to serving the interests of the ASECS membership. We also hope to provide you with lively and provocative reading. As always, we invite your suggestions.