- Editor’s Introduction: Re-assessing, Breaking, Transcending Genres
This issue of jml is concerned with various sorts of literary positioning with respect to established genres. We begin with Jerome Boyd Maunsell’s discussion of Susan Sontag’s use of the diary form to fashion a self-conscious persona, one that would be essential to her literary voice. There follow three essays explicitly concerned with re-assessing genre conventions: Victoria Stewart looks afresh at mid-twentieth-century middlebrow novels about women; Will Norman explores how Martin Amis’s crime novel Night Train creatively exploits conventional distinctions between mass market and literary fiction; and Christina Root shows how Ian McEwan’s Saturday bridges the divide between science and literature. The next two essays take genre-breaking into a more ethereal realm, with Andrew Radford on Mary Butts’s imaginative mapping of interwar Paris in two of her stories and Michelle Neimann on Oni Buchanan’s original use of organic form and ecological metaphor in her poems “The Mandrake Vehicles.” The next three pieces are concerned with spatial grids and their relationship to literary form. Peter Monacell explores how certain modern poets used the suburbs to create a new pastoral mode, even as others saw this site as an insurmountable obstacle to the pastoral and to free expression; Paul Stephens examines the neglected modernist writer Bob Brown’s “reading machine” as a prescient treatment of a technological, information-driven landscape; and finally, Adrienne R. Brown discusses the skyscraper as a motif resisted in modernist literature but embraced by weird fiction where it connected with earlier myths of American landscape.
Thus this issue begins with the self-conscious fashioning of a self and ends, quite literally, in the clouds.
We are deeply saddened to report the death of our beloved Executive Editor, Ellen Rose (June 3, 1938–October 10, 2011). Ellen died as this issue went to press. We will be including tributes to her life and work in our next issue, JML 35.2. [End Page vi]