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  • Foreword
  • Gary Scharnhorst

The 37th annual edition of American Literary Scholarship, like each of its predecessors, proves that the discipline of American literary study remains a vital part of the intellectual life of the university and the nation. Despite the rumored "death of the novel" and the proclaimed "death of the author" and the long-prophesied decline of the English department, the 1999 MLA Bibliography lists some 7,750 entries devoted to American literature, an increase of nearly 20 percent over the past two years and an increase of over 40 percent over the past four years. Of necessity, AmLS selectively reviews this scholarship.

The quality of the annual has always been a measure of the caliber of its contributors, and this year is no exception. Contributors new to AmLS 1999 are Thomas Wortham, UCLA, who takes over "Early-19th-Century Literature" from Kevin J. Hayes, University of Central Oklahoma; and Suzanne Clark, University of Oregon, who takes over "Poetry: 1900 to the Present" from Timothy Materer, University of Missouri. Returning to AmLS after a hiatus of four years is Gary Lee Stonum, Case Western University, who resumes the task of writing "Themes, Topics, Criticism" from Joycelyn Moody and Caroline Chung Simpson, University of Washington. Six other scholars depart from our roster of contributors with their contributions to this volume. Philip Cohen, University of Texas at Arlington, who has collaborated with Joseph R. Urgo on "Faulkner" the past few years, is retiring and Urgo will assume sole authorship of the chapter. Daneen Wardrop, Western Michigan State University, who has contributed the Dickinson section of chapter 4 in recent years, is also retiring and M. Jimmie Killingsworth will take sole responsibility for "Whitman and Dickinson." Daniel Royot, Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris, who has collaborated recently with Françoise Clary on the "French Contributions" section of chapter 21, is also retiring with our [End Page 1] profound thanks. In addition, Wortham; Anita Plath Helle, Oregon State University ("Poetry: The 1940s to the Present"); and Axel Nissen, Oslo University (one of the contributors to the "Scandinavian Contributions" section of chapter 21), are also departing.

The routine changes in the roster of contributors will continue next year. Donna Campbell, Gonzaga University, will succeed Jeanne Campbell Reesman, University of Texas at San Antonio, as the author of "Fiction: 1900 to the 1930s." J. Gerald Kennedy, Louisiana State University, will take over "Early-19th-Century Literature" from Wortham. Theodore Mason Jr., Kenyon College, will join Gary Lee Stonum, Case Western Reserve University, in covering "Themes, Topics, Criticism." In addition, "Scholarship in Languages Other Than English" in AmLS 2000 will include a section on Americanist scholarship in Japan contributed by Keiko Beppu, Matsuyama Shinonome College; and scholarship in Central Europe and the Baltics will be covered by Zoltán Abádi-Nagy, University of Nebrecen, and El.zbieta Oleksy, University of Łódź. Thanks to all—those who are departing, continuing, or joining the annual project. The scholars who devote their summers to writing these chapters are rewarded with little more than our collective good will and a stipend sufficient to enjoy a decent meal at a three-star restaurant.

Authors and publishers can assist us in assuring that AmLS continues to cover all relevant materials by forwarding offprints and review copies to David J. Nordloh, Department of English, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47505.

The editors are grateful for both the moral and financial support they receive from colleagues and administrators at the University of New Mexico and Indiana University toward the preparation of these volumes and the continuing administration of the series. My particular thanks to Andy Smith, my former assistant, and Andy Flood, my current assistant, for their help. Their rewards will be great in heaven, if not on the job market. I am also grateful to Terence Ford and the staff of the MLA Bibliographic Information Services for supplying a preprint of the 1999 MLA Bibliography for our use. And, as ever, I am indebted to the indefatigable Bob Mirandon and Pam Morrison of Duke University Press, with whom I biennially converse and electronically correspond, for expediting the production of this volume and for saving me from an embarrassment of errors. [End Page 2]

Gary Scharnhorst...


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