- Editor's Introduction:"It Must Change"
The seven articles that appear in this double issue are thematically, chronologically, and critically various. Matters associated with the emergence of modernism (Tischler, Troy), with narrative modes of analyzing modern art (Siedell), with the hidden impact of a modern master on a contemporary writer (Levitt), with postmodern poetry, ction, ethics and culture (Barbarese and Taylor) are all addressed with scholarly rigor but from different critical perspectives. The most striking departure for JML, however, is represented by Gina Masucci MacKenzie's "Under-Writing: Forming an American Minority Literature," our feature article (hence its position in the issue) and the one whose theme, American immigrant experience, is illustrated on this issue's cover. This article not only addresses this theme, which in the past JML has not addressed, but it does via a critical approach to Deleuze and Guattar's theory of "minor" (or minority) literature. Yet, this use of theory is not an application. Masucci MacKenzie uses theory to interrogate literature, and vice versa. Her aim, here carried out so effectively, is to produce a dialogue in which the genuine achievement of the novels she reads closely, Anzia Yezierska's Bread Givers (1925) and Pietro di Donato's Christ in Concrete (1939), can stand out against the background of social pressures and modernist innovations that they forward by their attention to literary language and the complex interplay between majority and minority discourses. Similarly, our interview section represents a change. This is not to say that the journal has not done interviews previously. Rather, that the interview with Geoffrey Hartman, a critic and theorist of romanticism, represents an expansion of what JML understands as modern. Finally, in our reviews and review-essays section, a similar innovation is at work to enlarge the scope of what the journal will consider and review. Just about all of the reviews and review-essays work in this way to some degree, but the two most innovative in terms of subject matter are Donald E. Pease's review of Constance Webb's Not Without Love, a memoir largely of her relationship with C.L.R. James, the important Caribbean critic, and Mort Levitt's review of Frederick Spotts' historical study Hitler and the Power of Aesthetics. Once again, the scope and approaches represented in the journal have been broadened, while maintaining its high standard of scholarship. As we hope our readers understand, JML is changing, but doing so without sacricing its tradition of publishing the best work we can nd.
Daniel T. O'Hara, Mellon Term Professor of Humanities and Professor of English at Temple University, is the author most recently of Empire Burlesque: The Fate of Critical Culture in Global America (Duke, 2003).