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  • Editor's Note
  • Bernadette Fort

In this my last issue as editor of Eighteenth-Century Studies, I would like to take stock of the achievements of the past six years and express my gratitude to all those who have worked with me on behalf of this journal. ECS was founded over three decades ago by two far-sighted assistant professors at the University of California, Davis, Arthur McGuinness and Robert Hopkins, who gave that new publication a programmatic subtitle: "An Interdisciplinary Journal." Their vision, written into the charter of ECS when it became the flagship publication of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, made interdisciplinary study the preeminent mission of the journal before that concept had become fashionable, and that vision has continued to inspire the work published in ECS ever since. We rejoice in the continued health of this journal at a time when many journals in the Humanities are experiencing difficulties in attracting submissions and in keeping their readers. With over 3,500 subscribers to the printed versionand far more scholars accessing ECS electronically (through the Muse platform of The Johns Hopkins University Press and back issues through JSTOR), this journal commands a vast readership in all fields of eighteenth-century studies. Beside North America, our authors and readers now come from the world over, from New Zealand, Australia, India, South Africa, Russia, and a dozen European countries. The expertise they bring is as diverse as their countries of origin, the educational systems in which they were trained, and their own disciplinary assumptions and cross-disciplinary efforts. The primary tasks of the editor of ECS, as I saw it, were to keep scholars from such diverse intellectual backgrounds eager to look over the fence and talk to each other, to promote the exploration of the interstices between adjoining fields of inquiry, to encourage the productive sharing of methodologies, and to prod reflection on the meaning, challenge, and possible pitfalls of interdisciplinary work. With due regard for the historical prominence of English studies in the journal, I have attempted to provide space for other national literatures and histories, for visual culture, for previously underrepresented [End Page v] disciplines and new methods of inquiry, and for new debates on issues of gender and race. The titles of ECS issues of the past six years speak to this pluralism: Constructions of Femininity; Sites and Margins of the Public Sphere; Eighteenth-Century Print Culture; Colonial Encounters; The Culture of Risk and Pleasure; Poetry and Poetics; Antiquaries, Connoisseurs, and Collectors; French Revolutionary Culture; Race and Slavery; Contested Exhibitions; False Arcadias; Print Matters; Political Interventions; Exploring Sentiment; Spaces of Enlightenment; Critical Networks; Artistic Interactions. Added to this list have been three special issues, The Politics of Friendship and Aesthetics and the Disciplines, superbly guest-edited by Peter Fenves, and the present exciting issue, a model of ECS interdisciplinary and international cultural inquiry, Hair, guest-edited by Angela Rosenthal. I would also highlight the many fascinating Forum pieces proposed and gathered by scholars on focused topics of current interest, as well as the numerous exhibition reviews, commissioned from expert art historians, which have borne witness to important though ephemeral cultural events and have assessed the state of research on major artists and artistic movements from Boucher to Goya. In these years ECS has also seen the substantial growth of the book review section under the able editorship of Clorinda Donato and Carl Fisher, who deserve most special thanks for their enormous efforts.

I would also like to extend warm thanks to the officers and past presidents of ASECS, most especially to J. Paul Hunter and Carol Blum, who encouraged my initial steps as editor, Ruth Perry, who promoted the expansion of book reviews, Daniel Brewer and Joan Landes, long-time friends and colleagues of mine in French studies, as well as Michael K. Baker, John Bender, and Margaret A. Doody, all of whom supported this journal in significant ways. My very special gratitude goes to Byron Wells, Executive Director of ASECS, for his unflinching support in times when I had to be the "femme-orchestre" of the journal. Special thanks are due also at Northwestern University to the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences...


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pp. v-vi
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