We are pleased to announce the promotion of Melanie Holm to Managing Editor; we are fortunate to have her on the Scriblerian team.
We also wish to note the departure of Contributing Editors Daniel Ennis (Coastal Carolina University), Jack Lynch (Rutgers University– Newark), and Sarah Stein (Arkansas Tech University). All have been valued voices in our pages, and their perspectives will be missed.
And another indication of the ebb and flow of time, careful readers of the Scriblerian (there should be no other kind) will observe the disappearance of the traditional salutations Mr. and Ms. from our reviews. Style may change, but true significance lies in what does not.
Donald Mell, Jr., 1931–2019
On November 9, 2019. Donald C. Mell, Jr., in his eighty-eighth year, died shortly after the discovery of a serious illness. He is survived by Katherine, his wife of sixty-two years, and children Charles and Elizabeth. Mell was born and raised in Ohio, attended Yale, where he studied music with Paul Hindemith, and contemplated a musical career. After graduating in 1953, he served in the Army in Korea, and then returned to Yale to take an M.A.T. in 1956 and M.A. in 1959, before completing his Ph.D. at Penn in 1961. He taught at Rutgers (1961–1965) and Middlebury College (1965–1968) prior to joining the English faculty at Delaware, where he served for forty-seven years. For many years before his retirement in 2016, he chaired the Board of Editors of the University of Delaware Press.
His 1961 dissertation at Penn, directed by Maurice Johnson, was the basis of his first book, A Poetics of the Augustan Elegy: Studies of Poems by Dryden, Pope, Prior, Swift, Gray and Johnson (1974). His various publications on elegy offer outstanding explications and his critical focus is always on the ambiguities, complex ironies, paradoxes, and tensions inherent in the pastoral elegy. His inclination toward close analysis of poetry from multiple viewpoints while attending to readers' responses suited his next focus, Swift's poetry. His "Irony, Poetry, and Swift: Entrapment in On Poetry: A Rhapsody" demonstrated that entrapment was a "standard practice" in English literature 1660–1750 and that Swift was its master. Mell provided a clear account of "entrapment stylistics" in his Spring 1993 Scriblerian review of Reader Entrapment in Eighteenth-Century Literature, ed. Carl Kropf (1992).
Continuing his commitment to Swift, with John Irwin Fischer and assisted by David M. Vieth, Mell edited Contemporary Studies in Swift's Poetry (1981), the first essay collection devoted to Swift's poetry, which contains both his own examination of Swift's verse in terms of "the tradition of mimetic literature" and a co-authored survey of past criticism. In the 1980s and early 90s, Mell joined Fischer, James Woolley, and A. C. Elias, Jr., in what was then called the "Swift Poems Project," which built up an electronic archive of text and annotations on individual poems, now providing the ground floor of four volumes of Swift's poetry in the Cambridge Works of Jonathan Swift.
In 1996, Mell edited a collection of eleven essays, Pope, Swift, and Women Writers (1996; see Scriblerian, 30.2 [Spring 1998], 38–40), many challenging "anti-feminist stereotypes" about Pope's and Swift's views of women and relations with women authors. A decade later saw publication of The Poems of Patrick Delany (2006), which Mell coedited, completing the work of Robert Hogan, who had died in 1999.
Hermann J. Real offers a good characterization of Mell's critical essays: "In his thematic as well as generic analyses, Don, an expert musician all his life, gladly professed to have indulged his affinity with what in musical composition is called 'variation."' The impact [End Page 244] of all his writings on poetry—and his many reviews as well—is appreciative celebration, indepth reading of relevant scholarship and, above all, clarity of argument, construction, and phrase.
Mell's broad reading of scholarship led to his compiling bibliographies and writing reviews. His English Poetry, 1660–1800 (1982) surveys scholarship on most major and minor figures and includes nearly 300 entries for Pope, 200 for Dryden. A. J. Sambrook in...