Editing the Twentieth Century

The British Library

5 September 2017

Call for Papers

What do editors actually do? What makes a good editor? And more importantly, what makes a successful editor? From the Times Literary Supplement to Les Temps Modernes and Novyi Mir, from The Criterion to Die neue Rundschau and Spare Rib, there can be no doubting the influence of literary-intellectual magazines in selecting and shaping our cultural knowledge, our beliefs and values. But we still know surprisingly little about how these crucial cultural institutions were led and managed and even how day-to-day editorial duties were undertaken in practice. Above all, we lack any kind of comparative perspective on the role of the periodical editor, both across national and historical boundaries and across different types of publications. How does the role of editor compare between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, for example, or between the French and British intellectual fields? How does it vary across literary reviews, newspapers, academic journals and commercial magazines? And in all these cases, how can we reconcile the reality of editorial practice – so often mundane and resolutely collective –with the stubbornly persistent myth of the singular charismatic editor?

As part of the British Academy funded project, Editing the Twentieth Century, we invite papers and workshop contributions addressing these issues for a one-day event to be held at the British Library on 5 September 2017 exploring the key role played by the editors of periodical publications throughout the long twentieth century. As well as specific studies of individual editors and publications, we particularly welcome comparative analyses (both chronological and geographical), theoretical approaches, and reflections from practitioners. Contributors may choose to address one or more of the following issues:

  • Editorial success and failure
  • Editorial responsibilities, competences and dispositions
  • Editorial foundations, programmes, and manifestos
  • Editorial succession
  • Editorial leadership and administration
  • Editorial creativity and sociability
  • Editorship as authorship
  • Collective and uncredited editorship
  • Comparative studies across periodical genres, national contexts, and historical periods

Proposals of around 250 words for 20-minute papers should be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by 15 March 2017. We also welcome proposals for joint panels of three or four related papers or other forms of presentation and discussion.

Professor Matthew Philpotts
University of Liverpool

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Mediating American Modernist Literature:
The case of/ for Big Magazines
Aix-Marseille Université, LERMA (EA 853)
Aix-en-Provence, France, October 5- 7, 2018

This interdisciplinary conference seeks to explore the role played by “Big Magazines” in the production, publication, circulation, and reception of American literature between 1880 and 1960.

The study of modernism’s relations to the press and periodical culture is certainly not new to Modernist Studies. Over the last three decades, sustained interest in the role played by “little magazines” has been instrumental in reorienting the conventional reading of magazines “merely as containers of concrete bits of information” to an approach that considers them as “autonomous objects of study,” comparable with individual books (Latham and Scholes) in the field of modernism.

However, this interest has, so far, been directed mostly towards little magazines, as if these were the only periodicals intersecting with modernist practices. In doing so, it has tended to insulate little magazines as a field separate from other kinds of contemporary periodicals (the lowbrow pulps, the middlebrow slick/smart/mainstream/big periodicals), reducing the latter, at best, to a kind of dim cultural fringe or hinterland of modernism. It is only recently that modernist studies have begun to deal directly with the institutional overlap of literary modernism and middlebrow culture, enriching our understanding of their deep affiliations, by focusing on such middlebrow and smart magazines as Life (in its first form), The Smart Set, Vanity Fair or The New Yorker.

In the wake of such studies, the purpose of this conference is to expand consideration of the connection between American literature and mainstream print culture so as to include “an eclectic range of periodical genres having in common, beyond the necessary qualification of being unapologetically commercial, …a conscious effort to expand their readerships by way of their textual and visual styles rather than their content (Harris, 6). Mainstream print culture includes a vast array of diverse magazines, united by their ambition to speak to a wide national audience and, often, to forge the cultural, literary and political tastes of the middle class, with periodicals such as Harper’s, Scribner’s, Saturday Evening Post, Atlantic Monthly, Reader’s Digest, Life or Henry Luce’s Time. To this same field of national periodicals one can also relate magazines with a narrower editorial scope, selecting their audience on an ideological (McClure’s) or ethnic (The Crisis) basis, or along gender lines, as with the women-oriented Munsey’s and Ladies’ Home Journal and the more masculine Esquire, a precursor in many ways of the men’s magazines that emerged with and around Playboy in the early 1950s.

We invite papers that explore the interaction between mass-market magazines and modernist literary and aesthetic preoccupations over the time span of eighty years, from the emergence of industrialized journalism and the “fully-fledged magazine” (Scholes) to the rise of television as a most influential medium, and the coincident decline of the magazine as “the major form of repeated cultural experience for people in the United States” (Ohmann, 29). Taking into account transatlantic influences – such as Vu’s influence on Henry Luce’s decision to remodel Life after 1936, or connections between Condé Nast and Lucien Vogel, creator of the French edition of Vogue – we would also like to encourage transatlantic perspectives involving French magazines.

Subjects might include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • overlaps, parallels & points of intersection between “little”, “middlebrow”, & “pulp” magazines;
  • the influence of magazine work on literary work (form, content, imagination);
  • the role of magazines in fostering creative nonfiction stories;
  • the role of aesthetic, financial, & commercial preoccupations in shaping editorial policies & contents;
  • the links, interactions, & networks among writers, publishers, editors, & agents;
  • the construction of “complex literary milieus” (Ohmann);
  • the identification of style as a promotional tool;
  • the link with the phenomenon of celebrity & the rise of popular celebrity culture;
  • the role of interviews and portraits in fashioning authorial personae;
  • the role of magazines in creating literary institutionalization & professionalization;
  • transatlantic exchanges & influences with French magazines (Vu, Voilà, Match, or Marie Claire).

For more information, and to submit an abstract, follow the link:


What is the role of games and play in 19thC culture? How do games and play reveal cultural values or anxieties? What forces undergirded the development of different games? The editors seek essays for a proposed collection on games and play in the long nineteenth century in England, the U.S., and Canada. They are particularly interested in essays examining the material and/or visual culture of games.

500-word abstracts (or full papers) due by Friday, October 2, 2015 to the editors—Dr. Ann R. Hawkins and Dr. Allison Whitney—at the following email address (also for questions):  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


animé à l’Ecole Normale Supérieure par Evanghelia Stead

            Dans la continuité de l’année 2015-2016, le séminaire du TIGRE considérera les livres, les revues et les estampes comme des objets culturels parlants et complexes en Europe et ailleurs, portant en eux «les bornes de leur possible réception», selon le mot de Roger Chartier concernant les livres (Pratiques de la lecture, 1985:79). En partant de la matérialité, des relations intersémiotiques et des contextes mouvants de la circulation des œuvres, il réfléchira aux usages et aux publics.

            Le séminaire du TIGRE encourage de tradition le dialogue entre plusieurs disciplines (littérature et littérature comparée, histoire du livre, histoire de l’art, histoire, médiologie et études culturelles) et fait place à la lecture et à l’interprétation. Il accueillera cette année des études qui vont des œuvres, des créateurs et des éditeurs marquants aux mythes et aux motifs, leur transmission et leur circulation en Europe et en dehors des frontières européennes, et fera place à la manière dont imprimés et estampes sont transmis, lus, relus et retravaillés à travers différents supports et moyens, que ce soit dans des éditions et des tirages de luxe ou dans la presse imprimée.

            Séminaire ouvert aux étudiants à partir du Master. Début : 8 octobre 2015, fin : 4 février 2017. Séances de 3h, le samedi matin, 10h-13h, ENS, 45, rue d’Ulm, 75005 Paris.

            Le séminaire du TIGRE se tient habituellement à la salle Simone Weil, sauf indication contraire.

            N.B. Peut être validé au titre du premier ou du second semestre (3 ECTS) ou être suivi comme séminaire libre.

            Contact : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

8 octobre 2016, ENS, 10h-13h, salle Simone Weil : Les écrivains et l’estampe

Nathalie Ferrand (CNRS), «Rousseau et l’estampe»

Claire Chagniot (docteur en Lettres, Paris IV Sorbonne), «Baudelaire et l’estampe»

15 octobre 2016, ENS, 10-13 h, salle Simone Weil : Études culturelles maghrébines

            Mourad Yelles (INaLCO) : «Le sexe des anges. Traversée des genres dans le Texte maghrébin»

5 novembre 2016, 13h30-19h, Bibliothèque nationale de France, salle 70 (entrée Est)


Soutenance de la thèse de doctorat de Philipp Leu (UVSQ, BnF, Fondation Patrima), Les revues artistiques et littéraires (1880-1900) : questions de conservation et de numérisation

12 novembre 2016, ENS, 10-13 h, salle Simone Weil : Revues grecques, revues européennes

Kalliopi Sfakianaki (Université de Crète, doctorante), «Tériade et son réseau de revues d’art pendant l’entre-deux-guerres»

Lucile Arnoux-Farnoux (Université de Tours), «Réseaux des revues grecques dans les années 1930»

19 novembre 2016, ENS, 10-13 h, salle à préciser: Créativité du livre d’artiste

Kathryn Brown (Loughborough University, R-U), «Matisse and the Poets»

Gaëlle Theval (Thalim et programme ANR "littépub"): «Les livres d’un poète sonore : des objets paradoxaux ?» (à propos de Bernard Heidsieck)

10 décembre  2016, ENS, 10-13 h, salle Simone Weil : Éditeurs de revues en Europe

Matthew Philpotts (University of Liverpool), «Plural Actors: Editorial Practice as Social Practice: T.S. Eliot (The Criterion), Thomas Mann (Maß und Wert), and Jean Paul Sartre (Les Temps modernes


21 janvier 2017, ENS, 10-13 h, salle Simone Weil : Photobook et Toybook

Paul Edwards (Université Paris VII), «Grandes étapes dans l’élaboration matérielle du photobook de fiction littéraire»

François Fièvre (docteur en histoire de l’art, chercheur associé Intru, Un. de Tours), «Une édition critique numérique pour un toybook de Walter Crane : pourquoi et comment ?»

4 février 2017, ENS, 10-13 h, salle Simone Weil : Les éphémères, objets culturels

Olivier Belin et Florence Ferran (Un. de Cergy, projet PatrimEph, Fondation des Sciences du Patrimoine), «Lire les éphémères comme des objets culturels»

On 15-17 October 2015 the Institut National d'Histore d'Art et Sorbonne (Paris) will hold a symposium on "Les représentations du livre aux époques carolingienne et ottonienne".

Find more information at their website.