- Editor’s Note
With this volume year (54) we mark the one-hundredth anniversary of Texas Studies in Literature and Language, which makes TSLL one of the oldest, if not the oldest, scholarly journals of its kind in North America. It began in 1911 as an annual entitled Studies in English and published monographs by University of Texas faculty. By 1924 the journal had moved from publishing monographs to serving as an annual collection of scholarly essays, again primarily by University of Texas faculty. In 1959, Texas Studies in Literature and Language took its current name and became a quarterly. Since then, it has been published in a continuous series by the University of Texas Press, for a number of those years assisted financially by the offices of the deans of Graduate Studies and of arts and sciences.
TSLL has long since, of course, been more than a vehicle for scholarly studies by Texas faculty and was never a journal that focused on matters Texan, despite having Texas in its title. As we prepare for our 101st year of publication, we continue to invite scholarly essays on all aspects of literary studies and on all language and linguistic studies that have pertinence for the study of literature. We do not usually accept short essays that are no more than reviews, but we have always been open to essays that are longer than most scholarly journals can print.
In this centenary year we are producing four special issues. Two are the result of annual symposia conducted by the Texas Institute for Literary and Textual Studies and held on the campus of The University of Texas at Austin. The first, which has already been published as 54.1, is “Literature and Religious Conflict in the English Renaissance”; the second is called “Linguistics and Literary Studies: Computation and Convergence” and will be published as the next issue following the present one. A final special issue, the last of the volume year, will focus on Turkish literature, particularly contemporary Turkish letters, and marks something of an innovation for us in that it includes not just scholarly articles but some translations of modern Turkish writings, none of which have before been translated into English.
The issue you are now reading returns us, I suppose, to our journal’s origins a hundred years ago, for it presents a monograph written by a University of Texas faculty member. It is the book left in manuscript form [End Page 217] by our late colleague Anthony Channell Hilfer, who died in an automobile accident in 2008, one month before his planned retirement from forty-five years of teaching at the university, where he held the Iris Howard Regents Professorship in English Literature. He also served as the editor and then coeditor of TSLL for fifteen years.
Tony was a renowned scholar of popular genres, including crime fiction and film noir—perhaps his most influential book was The Crime Novel: A Deviant Genre (University of Texas Press, 1990). The new manuscript was a bit of a departure for Tony, although its “ecocriticism” places the work squarely in one of the most dominant modes of American literature. “The Nothing That Is”: Representations of Nature in American Writing was finished enough at Tony’s death to be conditionally accepted for publication as a book, the condition being that Tony expand the work by a chapter or two, a labor he looked forward to completing in the first year of his retirement from teaching. As it turns out, the manuscript does, in our judgment, stand on its own as a long essay, and we publish it now in that spirit. One could even say that the title is a slight understatement, for the book is more than a book about “writing”; it is also about film and other cultural media, and of course about matters of environmental, not merely textual, concern.
The manuscript as published here has been gently and faithfully edited by Mary LaMotte Silverstein with some late assistance from TSLL Assistant Editor Tekla Hawkins, mainly with an aim to stylistic consistency, exactly the kind of editing Tony himself would have exercised. In the years since his death, Tony’s...