The Modern Humanities Research Association (MHRA), an academic publisher and scholarly association for modern languages and English studies, turns one hundred in 2018.
The MHRA was one of the first scholarly associations to recognise the value of interdisciplinary study, now central to so much of academic life. It is also a key source of financial and academic support for scholars in an area of the academy that is increasingly under threat on a national level, as Modern Languages in particular suffers a recruitment crisis.
The Association was founded in Cambridge in the summer of 1918, when Europe could hardly have been more divided. The members named their new gathering the Modern Humanities Research Association — ‘Modern’ to distinguish it from the classical Humanities of Latin and Greek, and ‘Humanities’ rather than ‘Languages’ to be inclusive of English.
The modern incarnation of the Association has two main branches: supporting scholarship through grants and funding, and publishing journals and books, including the flagship Modern Language Review (now in its 113th volume), the Legenda monographs, and a series of edited Texts and Translations. As it enters its centenary, MHRA has 1432 publications, including 51,181 articles by 12,242 scholars.
Scholarly editing nevertheless remains only one of its activities, which also include funding and support for early career scholars — today's successors, at much the same stage of their careers, of the founders who first met in 1918.