The MHRA's flagship journal, Modern Language Review, spans all the major European languages, and editing it is a major enterprise. MLR not only carries articles but, as the name suggests, very many book reviews: as such, it serves the entire profession. The journal is organised by a team of eight scholarly editors, each looking after one language area. The General Editor, who customarily also takes the General and Comparative desk, has overall charge and works closely with MLR's indispensable production editor John Waś to sign off each issue. The quarterly appearance of MLR has been part of the rhythm of MHRA life for over a century now, and the overlapping teams of editors form an unbroken succession.
With Derek Connon, MLR's former General Editor, having been elected Hon. Chair of the Association, a succession is indeed going on. Formally, Derek's final issue will be 117.1, which appears in January, but of course our issues are edited well ahead of time. We can now announce that Derek's successor as General Editor is Lucy O'Meara, who formally takes over from 117.2, an issue whose editing is just getting under way.
Previously the section editor for French, and already a Trustee of the Association, Lucy O'Meara is Senior Lecturer at the University of Kent. In her own research, she has a particular interest in the relationship between literature and theory and works mainly on twentieth-century topics, including Roland Barthes, French literary and cultural responses to Japan, crime fiction, and the Oulipo group.
Following Lucy's appointment we were surprised to realise that she would be the first woman to serve as MLR's General Editor. Of the eight members of the current team, four are women and four are men, as is typical of the gender balance for all of MHRA's editors and Trustees. Women have played a significant role in leading the Association in recent years through election to the principal offices of the committee of Trustees; Barbara Burns, for instance, was Derek's predecessor as Hon. Chair. Even so, we feel that Lucy's taking of office as the first woman to chair MLR is more than a historical footnote.
Editorial activities play a vital role in shaping and maintaining research culture. I had always been impressed by the very high standards of MLR and its immense breadth of coverage. During my time as French editor, I grew to appreciate the skill and dedication of the highly collaborative team behind the journal’s success all the more. It’s been a great privilege to learn from Derek Connon, and I’m delighted to take over the General Editorship from him. I look forward to working with the editorial committee in continuing the MLR’s outstanding reputation in publishing research across a wide range of European literatures, cultures and languages.
Succeeding Lucy as French section editor is a newcomer to the committee: Claire Moran, of Queen's University Belfast, who was appointed after an open recruitment exercise over the summer. (Claire is not new to the MHRA: indeed, her edition of the writings of the painter Odilon Redon inaugurated our Critical Texts series.) One other change was also made this summer: as announced earlier, Muireann Maguire of the University of Exeter has now taken on the Slavonic desk. And so the new line-up is:
- General Editor: Dr Lucy O'Meara
- English Co-Editor: Professor Andrew Hiscock
- English Co-Editor: Dr Samuel Rogers
- Italian Editor: Professor Guido Bonsaver
- Germanic Editor: Professor Frank Finlay
- French Editor: Dr Claire Moran
- Hispanic Editor: Professor Duncan Wheeler
- Slavonic Editor: Dr Muireann Maguire
MLR has been an iconic presence in the field since October 1905. Its foundation, under the General Editorship of John G. Robertson, played a significant part in the emergence of the study of modern European literature as a University discipline. Another key role was played by the MHRA, founded in the final months of the First World War, which assumed the editing of MLR from volume 17 (1922) and became the publisher of record from volume 60 (1965). For a fuller account, see Malcolm Cook's introduction to the centenary supplement One Hundred Years of MLR.