With this volume American Literary Scholarship celebrates, quietly and without loud incendiary devices, its 50th anniversary. Over the everlengthening period of my coeditorship of the series I’ve been fortunate to also mark the 30th and 40th years in its history. This anniversary, important enough certainly for the number, represents a kind of balance point for my coeditor, Gary Scharnhorst, and me: between us we have edited 24 of those 50 volumes, the same number also edited between them by the late James Woodress, the founding editor of this project, and his collaborator, the late J. Albert Robbins. (Warren French and Louis Owens each edited a volume during what became the transition from one team of editors to the other.) That bit of history is only history, not forewarning: Professor Scharnhorst and I are not initiating a transition of our own. We value our continuing role in a publication of such substantial importance to teaching and research in American literature, and we are especially fortunate in the many forms of support in our work directed to us by our colleagues, our universities, and especially by Duke University Press, our first and only publisher.
AmLS is made possible by the generous commitment of time and effort of the scholars preparing its chapters, some 31 of them in the present volume and more than 300 over the history of the series. For the majority of these participants taking on the assignment means interrupting other research plans, sacrificing time; for others it becomes a long-standing commitment and a fixture in their scholarly work. Most impressive in the latter group has been Keiko Beppu, who first prepared “Japanese Contributions” for AmLS 1974 and continued to do so, first alternating with Hiroko Sato and then alone, through her final essay in the 2010 volume. (This year’s essay has been prepared by Yoko Tsujimoto and Hitomi Nabae, younger colleagues whom Professor Sato [End Page vii] recruited.) I should mention other models of longevity. Five contributors to the present volume, Catherine Calloway, Sarah B. Daugherty, Jerome Klinkowitz, Alec Marsh, and Françoise Clary, were on the roster of the 40th-anniversary volume (2002), and Calloway, Daugherty, and Klinkowitz were also on the 30th-anniversary (1992) roster. Professor Klinkowitz is the current record-holder: he first contributed in 1979, and this year’s essay, if my English-professorial math is accurate, is his 34th.
These stalwarts will continue next year, as will the majority of this year’s participants. Inevitably, however, there are departures and arrivals. Peter Lurie (“Faulkner”) will be succeeded by Deborah Clarke, Arizona State University; Frances Dickey (the Eliot portion of “Pound and Eliot”) by Patrick Query, U.S. Military Academy; and Edward D. White (“Literature to 1800”) by Theresa Gaul, Texas Christian University. Michaela Sawyer, Utah Valley University, will revive “German Contributions,” and Debbie Cohn, Indiana University, will take up “Spanish Contributions,” two sections of “International Scholarship” that have been absent from recent volumes. Finally, in a modest adjustment of time periods, “Poetry: 1900 to the 1940s” will become “Poetry: 1900 to the 1950s,” to be undertaken by Jeff Westover, Boise State University, and “Poetry: The 1940s to the Present” will become “Poetry: The 1950s to the Present,” with James Cocola, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, replacing ten-year veteran Frank J. Kearful in that assignment. Grateful farewells and warm welcomes.
Professor Scharnhorst and I appreciate the assistance and resources both paper-based and electronic provided to us by the University of New Mexico and Indiana University. I am grateful to Jailyn Moreland for overseeing the production process and to Charles Brower and his staff for relentlessly pursuing perfection in the copyediting of this volume at Duke University Press. Authors and publishers can assist us in assuring the comprehensiveness of AmLS coverage by directing offprints, review copies, and publication notices to me at 495 Lake Dornoch Drive, Pinehurst, NC 28374. [End Page viii]