It would be nice to be taking over as editors of The Spenser Review at any time, but now feels like a very good moment. The Spenser Review has been a feature of all Spenserians’ lives and calendars since its inauguration in 1970 but it is a tribute to the previous editorial team that the online platform has been used to such good effect that the Review is now a major player in the world of Renaissance studies. Between the wide-ranging, lengthy book reviews, and the thoughtful, often provocative essays, the carefully curated online form has brought Spenser scholarship into new areas (analytic philosophy, political economy), and revived old ones (allegory, teaching). David Lee Miller has made the forum a lively and accessible space, encouraging a variety of submissions. Richard Danson Brown, who will continue as Reviews Editor, and his predecessor, Julian Lethbridge, have done tremendous work in broadening the international range of books reviewed and so led many new readers to the site. Craig Berry, as Digital Reviews Editor, has ably expanded our reach into the world of digital humanities, and will also stay on in this role in the short-term. Jessica Junquiera was a model editorial assistant to David Lee Miller, while Douglas Knox continues to be a wonderful support to the journal, part of the crucial technical and intellectual support offered by Washington University at St Louis. He is now joined by Tomasz Kowalczyk; we are grateful for support from Sussex University in securing his services.
But as David Lee Miller wrote in his final editorial, the work of The Spenser Review has been ‘a collective work of the Spenser community’ – a co-operative venture that we will do our best to continue and expand further. We will continue to include features such as ‘Editor’s choice’, discussions of significant issues or events relating to Spenser (similar to the excellent items on Spenser and Philosophy, overseen by the previous editors), and articles on new potential approaches to Spenser. The current issue, therefore, includes a new essay on Spenser’s interest in popular culture, one which explores the connections between Spenser and Thomas Churchyard, as well as nine short reflections on ‘Spenser, Poetry and Performance’, which took place at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, London, in June 2017. (Interested readers should also note that a curated selection of podcasts from the event is now available on Spenser Online, under ‘Scholarly Resources’, for use in research or teaching; our great thanks to Nathan Szymanski, Mike Liffey (Real Smart Media) and Doug Knox for making that possible.) And we aim to widen our reach internationally, both in terms of readership and subjects; we encourage submissions accordingly. Thus, this issue also features a wonderful review-essay by Toshiyuki Suzuki on a new translation of The Faerie Queene in Japanese verse.
The ‘Reviews’ section anchors the journal, of course, and together with the ‘Reviews’ editor, Richard Danson Brown, we are committed to expanding and strengthening that still further. We are keen, too, to build on our links with the International Spenser Society, and are pleased to announce a new partnership with the Society in relation to a new graduate paper prize. This will help us continue the Review’s long tradition of supporting emerging scholars internationally, not just in its bibliographical research resources but in the warm welcome that the Spenser community has always given younger scholars. We encourage readers to contact us and to send in ideas for any contributions, whether these be for already established series, ideas for new ones, or one-off contributions (firstname.lastname@example.org). After all, an online journal has the advantage over a printed one of being able to encourage interaction between writers and readers. There will also be some readjustment of the ‘Briefly Noted’ category, now renamed ‘News’, and, finally, we have decided to suspend the ‘Forum’ for now, as we are going to explore ways of relaunching this feature to make it more interactive, and invite suggestions from readers about how this might best be done.
We look forward to our journey over the next five years, and ask for your company, comments and suggestions along the way, ‘whilest wether serues and winde’!