Florida Atlantic University Faculty Help Acquire Valuable Literary Journal
Florida Atlantic University Faculty Help Acquire
Valuable Literary Journal
While the journal's innovative form is a delight to its readers, the real treat is the text contained within its innovative packaging. "Some issues incorporate previously unpublished or uncollected fiction by contemporary authors," says Dr. Hess. " McSweeney's Quarterly Concern 36, for example, includes an excerpt of Michael Chabon's abandoned second novel. This novel had remained unpublished since Chabon discarded it to write Wonder Boys (1995). McSweeney's 36 is therefore the only available resource for Chabon scholars interested in this otherwise unpublished work."
Upon becoming a member of the English faculty on the MacArthur Campus, Dr. Ulin was approached by Ethan Allan, the Director of the Jupiter Campus Library, and asked to provide recommendations for research materials to be implemented in the MacArthur Campus collection. She was quick to recommend McSweeney's, and the library staff began working diligently to acquire the journal. Although subscribing to the journal was a relatively easy process, Allen and the other library staff members felt that it was important to also acquire as many of the available back issues as possible. "Getting the back issues was difficult," Allen explains. "Some are available and some aren't, some have just been taken out of print." However, after a great deal of time spent researching all the journal's issues on the McSweeney's website and working with the acquisitions staff on the Boca Raton Campus, the MacArthur Campus Library was able to acquire almost all of the previously-published issues, providing students and faculty with an extensive collection of McSweeney's publications. Allen feels that the journal has brought something truly unique to the Jupiter Library. "It's definitely a keeper," he states. Although the library is beginning to downsize its collection of print journals due to the proliferation of online journals, Allen insists that McSweeney's is here to stay. "You can't replace it with an online version. The text could be replicated, but it wouldn't be the same," he states.
Both Dr. Hess and Dr. Ulin feel that the journal has the potential to greatly enhance literary research on the MacArthur Campus. Dr. Ulin has already begun to implement McSweeney's as a research tool with her students, using it as the basis for the major research project in her class on American contemporary literature. As a result, she has seen students develop many exciting research topics on works published in McSweeney's or the nature of the journal itself, allowing them to connect to contemporary literature in new ways. Dr. Hess has also begun to assign research projects for his students, based on texts from McSweeney's Quarterly Concern. Furthermore, both professors feel that the journal could be very useful for their own research. "I'm currently working on an article on James Joyce's use of specific musician in Ulysses that is based upon an article about this musician featured in a McSweeney's imprint," explains Dr. Ulin. Dr. Hess also anticipates great potential for research from the journal. "Due to its significance to contemporary literary culture, McSweeney's Quarterly Concern is important to my own research on contemporary U.S. literature. I am delighted that Florida Atlantic University possesses a nearly complete collection."
McSweeney's Quarterly Concern is a showcase of innovative book design and great contemporary literature. However, its acquisition for the MacArthur Campus Library displays the willingness of Honors College faculty and staff to work diligently with their partners throughout the University to provide the very best research materials to their students, and to promote the use of new and exciting research tools. The Honors College community expects a great deal of excellent scholarship to develop as a result of the dedication and hard work of Florida Atlantic University's talented research faculty and capable resource staff.
Byline: Megan Geiger (HC student)