Reviewed by: Cheryl LaGuardia, Research Librarian, Widener Library, Harvard University
ESC: English Studies in Canada is the official journal of the Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English, and is based at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. It publishes original articles “contribu[ting] to scholarly and theoretical debates of current interest and ongoing significance to members of the discipline of English Studies and the humanities more generally,” especially in the fields of literary and cultural studies. The editors are all based at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, while the distinguished editorial board includes members from Canada, Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. There is both a print version and an online version; both are published quarterly.
Two different recent issues were examined for the purposes of this review: Volume 41, Issue 1, March 2015, Special Issue: Magazines and /as Media: The Aesthetics and Politics of Serial Form,and Volume 41, Issue 4, December 2015, The Forty on Forty Project (a celebration of forty years of publishing history for ESC). The first, on Magazines and/as Media, examines the magazine’s function as a medium, considering the fragmentation of the medium, its continuity (under a unifying title), periodicity, readability, competing media rhythms, radicality, costs, role as a social network, and multiple other issues about the magazine format. Articles in this issue include, “Remediating the Past: Doing “Periodical Studies” in the Digital Era,” “American Little Magazines of the 1890s and the Rise of the Professional-Managerial Class,” ‘”Of the making of magazines there is no end”: W.T. Stead, Newness, and the Archival Imagination,” “Assembly Lines: Researching Radical Print Networks,” and “Place, Platform, and Value: Periodicals and the Pacific in Late Colonial Modernity,” among others.
In The Forty on Forty Project, the ESC co-editors “decided to initiate what is either an exercise in free-form, collaborative narration or an inductive experiment with few controls” by inviting a diverse sampling of 40 scholars to “identify, in no more than 150 words, a work, idea, or event of the past forty years that has been key to the project of literary, cultural, and theoretical inquiry.” Their objective was “arguably cartographic: to map the contours of the field we inhabit, with ESC as sextant.” Respondents identified a spectrum of works, ideas, and events, including: Theory, “On the Abolition of the English Department,” Feminism, the Yale School of critics, Multiculturalism, Deconstruction, Cultural Studies, Difference, the Internet, Postcolonialism, Indigenous Literatures, and the Writable Web, to name a selection. The issue contains several research articles, as well, including: “Othello’s Testicles, Sybil’s Womb: The Interracial Child in Harlem Duet and its Progenitor,” “A Retrospective Futurity: Daniel MacIvor’s Marion Bridge,” “Northrup Frye and Edmund Blunden,” and “The DJ as Critic, ‘constructing a sort of argument’.” Seven scholarly book reviews round out the issue.
The writing and scholarship of ESC is first rate, the publication format is both attractive and functional, and everything about this journal bespeaks quality. ESC will be of great interest to anyone involved in scholarly English literary and cultural studies.