The implicit theme of this volume is the relation of the present to the past. Conscious that our access to the eighteenth century is mediated by visual, verbal, and material representations, contributors re-examine those representations for the ways in which contemporaries used the media at their disposal to disseminate new labor practices or construct new public selves, as well as to co-opt or adapt diverse pasts to make sense of their present and possible future. Many contributors also discuss how we ourselves represent and might re-conceive links between our present and eighteenth-century texts, intentions, images, or ideas. Contributors work with letters, diaries, manuals, engravings, pottery, portraits, interior design, book illustrations, newspaper reports, posters, and policy papers as well as with philosophical, literary, historical, religious, and pornographic texts, in Italy, Ireland, Spain, France, Britain, and Arabia.
This journal has almost attained its new format. This volume contains the late Srinivas Aravamudan’s stirring Presidential Address from last year’s ASECS meeting, together with a tribute by Felicity Nussbaum, and the BSECS/ASECS lecture by Shearer West, as well as stimulating panels, forums (roundtables), and individual essays. Future volumes will add the Clifford Lecture,—and hopefully include more individual essays. Unfortunately, too few of those submitted this year had been sufficiently revised from their original conference-paper form prior to submission. Unlike other journals, SECC has a short turn-around time of about two months between receiving reader reports and putting its annual volume into production, and that deadline falls during the hectic end-of-semester-Christmas-and-New-Year season. The revisions requested by outside readers [End Page ix] have to be minor enough for a reasonably industrious person to be able to complete them within that time.
Here at the journal, we have been discussing the pros and cons of changing the journal’s language policy, and we would be grateful for your view. In practice, all articles submitted are in English. The policy to date has been to put quotations in other languages in the text of articles, English translations of them in the endnotes. We are considering reversing that placement: English translation in the text and original language in the endnotes. Several contributors both this year and last have asked to be allowed to present some or all of their quotations that way, to make their argument more readily accessible to readers who are not familiar with the other language with which they are working. As editors, we are inclined to favor whatever furthers the journal’s goal of sharing cutting-edge, eighteenth-century research across disciplinary, national, and linguistic boundaries, and to eliminate whatever might constitute a barrier to communication. Recent debates about treating English as a hegemonic language, however, give us pause. Putting both languages in the text might be a solution—but it is a very cumbersome one, especially when an author wants to integrate brief quotations into his/her English sentences. Please let us know what you think at email@example.com.
We want to thank Ronjana Khanna, Kathryn Desplanque, and Heidi Silcox for their assistance in obtaining images and reconstructing endnotes for Srinivas Aravamudan’s presidential address. Dean Kelly Damphouse at the University of Oklahoma generously helped to fund a graduate student assistant for the journal. [End Page x]