Letter from the Editor

Dear Readers,

Welcome to the eighth volume of Hortulus! As was stated in our previous issue, 2012 has been (and continues to be) a year full of change and growth here at Hortulus. Our last issue saw the introduction of a new website as well as an expanded staff, larger submissions numbers, and increases in readership. We are happy to say that the autumn issue has brought us steady and continuous growth in these areas yet again—and also brings a few new additions!

Firstly, this volume is the first non-themed issue of Hortulus since 2007—so this change is more of an act of renewal and re-cultivation than outright transformation. Thus the autumnal publication before you begins a new series for the journal in which we will have two issues per annum as opposed to one—with a themed issue in the spring and an open issue in the autumn. Hopefully the wide variety can stimulate connections among disparate areas.

Secondly, this issue sees a change of guard if you will, with the welcoming of a new co-editor and the departure of another. This issue says goodbye to Leanne Good, a formidable and steadfast editor of Hortulus for the past two years. Today Leanne is more commonly known as Dr. Good, a lecturer for the University of California—Los Angeles as she recently completed her doctoral degree this summer with a dissertation entitled Land and Landscape: The Transition from Agilolfing to Carolingian Bavaria, 700-900. Leanne was essential in building the bridge between the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ Hortulus, both in content, design, and rules and regulations. As with most organizations, sight must not be turned away from the original intentions and principles of its founding even in the face of a new and ever changing world. Hortulus began with the intention of creating a groundbreaking forum for medievalists in the electronic world years before ‘open-access’ became a catch-phrase commonly thrown about in academic discussions on publishing. Part of its unique charm was its born-digital status, its intentions to create a discursive community for its readers, and an arena that was for post-graduates only. Leanne was integral in assuring that Hortulus stood firmly behind these principles as we’ve continued to make changes to its structure, distribution, and format. Hopefully you still see these features as the backbone of Hortulus today.

Leanne’s departure allows Hortulus to bring in new blood however, and this issue welcomes our new co-editor Beth Fischer to the team. Beth is a graduate student in Art History at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and, as you may have noticed, was one of the assistant editors on our spring issue this past year. We were overjoyed to welcome her into a more senior role as co-editor for the next two years after her exemplary work as an assistant editor. Being a co-editor allows one to make their own unique mark on Hortulus, and Beth is no exception. Building upon the backbone of the new developments over the past year, Beth has brought her expertise in layout, design, and e-book publishing to our organization. Under her purview, the 2012 issue will be the inaugural e-book issue for the journal, with PDF, e-book, and HTML versions of each issue being retroactively published in the coming year.

In addition to the hand-over in the co-editors department, this issue also welcomes two assistant editors to our team who have both been steadfast and loyal readers of Hortulus for a number of years. Kit Kapphahn and Melissa Ridley Elmes. Kit is currently a PhD student at Aberystwyth University in Wales and Melissa is beginning her doctoral studies at the University of North Carolina. Justin Colvin also contributed editorial assistance for this issue.

Thirdly, in addition to the multitude of changes this issue has overseen: open-theme, e-book and PDF publishing, and a new editorial team, we have also instituted a ‘trial run’ with regards to making our reader’s online experience more interactive. You will notice that our articles and book reviews have incorporated a number of interactive hyperlinks in order to make your experience as a reader more fruitful an enjoyable. Every endnote in each article includes a hyperlink to the resource quoted—be it a book, journal article, video, music clip, or published image. The book reviews as well include a hyperlink in the title so that you can easily purchase the book or read more details about the publication should you so desire. This is an experiment which intends to use Hortulus’sstatus as a digital publication to its fullest extent. We welcome any feedback you may have about this new content—whether or not it was useful to you and if you’d like us to continue this process in the future, or if you have any additional ideas on how to make the journal more interactive—so please let us know your thoughts. As usual, we encourage you to comment and discuss the articles, both using the comment boxes at the bottom of each article and also using the google groups if you are a registered reader.

In other news, we have recently posted our call for papers for the themed spring 2013 issue on Wounds, Torture, and the Grotesque, and we are also welcoming applications for four open positions for Assistant Editors–so please do pass on the details to those who may be interested and perhaps think of contributing yourself! We have also finalized our presenters for the second ever sponsored session at Kalamazoo in 2013—so if you will be attending, do send us an email so we can get in touch about meeting up during the conference. We would also like to thank Dr. William Christopher Brown for his kind words in a recent article published in In Progress, a peer-reviewed online journal for graduate students—do click over and have a read about his experience publishing as a graduate student.

Finally, in this issue there are a number of very interesting articles for your perusal. Ryan Storr’s work analyzes the legal proceedings of the 1243 dispute between the Hospitallers and the bishop of Valencia, Arnau de Peralta, in his article “Compromise and Integration”. Our second article is written by Sarah J. Todd and concerns itself with one of Bocaccio’s lesser known works, Elegia di Madonna Fiametta and examines issues of authorship, gender, and manipulation in her article “Heroides and (Anti-)Heroines”. Our issue this season also features a work of Art History scholarship with Nicole Pulichene’s examination of medieval panel paintings and their representations of Christocentric touch in her article “To Touch the Divine”. Our final article is written by Brent LaPadula and boasts the use of identity formathion through memory application as its methodology of examining the Old English text The Wanderer in his article “Memory and Identity Formation”. We are also fortunate in the number of exemplary book reviews we have been able to publish in this issue including Charles Carroll’s review of Ronald G. Witt’s monograph The Two Latin Culturas and the Foundation of Renaissance Humanism in Medieval Italy, Stephen Barker’s review of C. Stephen Jaeger’s book Enchantment, Jacob Doss’s review of Liz Herbert McAvoy’s work Medieval Anchoritisms: Gender, Space and the Solitary Life, and finally Geneviève Pigeon’s review of Graham E. Steel’s piece King John: An Underrated King.

We here at Hortulus hope that you enjoy reading this issue as much as we have enjoyed putting it together

Meghan R. Glass
Co-Editor of Hortulus

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