Jaclyn Geller (Central Connecticut State University) and Kathleen Kincade (Indiana State University) are stepping down; we thank them for their contributions and help. We welcome Ashley Marshall (University of Nevada, Reno) as one of our Defoe Editors, and Jacob Lambert (Auburn University at Montgomery) as Editorial Assistant. And we especially thank Daniel C. McCloud for his aid.
At the 42nd Annual East Central ASECS Meeting, a luncheon in honor of my work on the Scriblerian was given by fellow editors W. Blake Gerard, E. Derek Taylor, David F. Venturo, and book review editor Mel New. Mel’s speech, a walk into the Scrib’s past that recalled reviews of his mentor and old colleagues, and of his own very first essay (reviewed “not unkindly,” he noted—I’m glad that we got that right), was so laudatory that it precluded any sort of immediate response.
Now, several years later, I am now able to say a few words. In its forty-four years, the Scrib has changed mightily. At the beginning, The Kit-Cats were not around. Nor were the novelists. Nor the abundance of women authors. Then almost all of the reviews of articles, along with many books, were written by the three editors (Peter A. Tasch, Arthur J. Weitzman and myself). Now we have some twenty contributing editors—which means much greater diversification and—even better—more informed specialists. Though our voice is different, readers are better served. Our book reviews have increased in scope, number, and variety; and our reviewers are just as often from Canada, England, Ireland, or Australia, as from the northeast corner of America.
I want to especially thank all of those who attended my luncheon. Although I was honored, the real honor goes to Scriblerian reviewers—the occasional contributors as well as the editors. The Scrib is a review journal, and so the reviewers are the journal. My main contribution is to try to keep the canoe on an even keel and moving swiftly. With a small editing group, we try to ensure that our reviews are “spot on” (to repeat a recent comment from David J. Vander Meulen), evaluative, concise, and well-written. I initially was unhappy that the journal was described as “useful”; now I am very pleased by that compliment. Despite the severe budget cuts in our profession, I want to keep our heavy cover, the laid paper, the Scrib’s feel—I want it to continue being a joy to hold in our hands. For that, we thank our generous sponsors and steady advertisers, our contributors and readers, and—most of all—our subscribers—so please think of suggesting the Scrib to graduate students.
In front of me is a facsimile edition of Pope’s Epistle to Arbuthnot, signed by all of those who were at my lunch, given to me as a remembrance of the occasion. It has Pope’s editorial interlineations for the new edition. To be so near Pope’s endless trolling to get the right word in the right place is eerily just for the Scriblerian.
Roy S. Wolper
Thomas Wolfe on Tristram Shandy
In a letter Thomas Wolfe wrote to F. Scott Fitzgerald, July 26, 1937, he responded to the notion that Flaubert’s selectivity was the key to all literary achievement by positing another tradition: “There are no novels of unselected incident. You couldn’t write about the inside of a telephone booth without selecting. . . . And I have mentioned Don Quixote and Pickwick and... Tristram Shandy to you . . . as examples of books that have become “immortal” and that boil and pour. Just remember that although Madame Bovary in your opinion may be a great book, Tristram Shandy is indubitably a great book, and that it is great for quite different reasons. It is great because it boils and pours—for the unselected quality of its selection . . .” [End Page 293] (quoted from The Crack-Up, ed. Edmund Wilson, NY: New Directions, 1993, p. 314).
Whalen on Dryden
Justifying D. H. Lawrence’s poetry, contemporary poetaster Sam Hamill wrote, “One can’t dismiss a mountain just because it seems out of fashion at the moment. I remember Paul Whalen telling a...