Textual Cultures 2.1 went to the compositor in February 2007. First pages came back in mid-March, but with an unannounced and—for the editors—dramatic change in format from Textual Cultures 1.1 and 1.2: the abstracts were sandwiched between the title and the beginning of the essay. The effect is especially noticeable in John Bryant's piece, whose text begins a page after its title. The editors made every reasonable attempt to serve aesthetics, maintain the journal's consistent layout, and benefit from electronic distribution, but the digital forces proved adamantine.
INscribe, the new e-delivery service of Indiana University Press, was launched in March 2007, and the current placement and formatting of the abstracts is, for now, a consequence of converting primarily print journals into electronic format through the current software.
The "new look" of John's and the others' essays will no doubt have the effect of quickly forcing the reader deeper into the text, not unlike the mountain of Purgatory's flight from Satan in Inferno 34. Psychologists call this "paradoxical growth". But the larger question of how electronic reformatting of print purely for electronic distribution is forcing structural changes and sometimes inelegant accommodation of the limitations of electronic programs onto the layout of already established print journals is, in fact, a topic ripe for examination in this journal.