In November 2014, the IAAS welcomed postgraduate and early-career scholars from across Ireland and the UK to Trinity College Dublin for the annual postgraduate symposium. Unlike previous IAAS events, the symposium did not have a specific theme, preferring instead to showcase the breadth of research being done in American Studies at the moment. ‘New Wave Coming’ was an unqualified success, allowing postgraduates to present their work in a positive environment and forge new connections with scholars in other institutions. Such was the standard of research on display that the Editorial Committee suggested to us, in our capacity as PG & ECR reps, that a special issue of the journal might be possible arising from the conference proceedings. We are pleased to present here articles from five participants at ‘New Wave Coming’, that testify to the broad range of exciting research currently being undertaken in American Studies.
Although there is no official theme for the issue, all five articles address ideas of identity in some way. Katie Ahern’s article on the writing of Anzia Yezierska examines the Jewish immigrant experience in New York and the pressures faced by immigrant women in the early twentieth century, particularly in relation to issues of space and identity. Similar topics of identity and nationality are addressed in Kate Smyth’s piece on the Linnet Muir cycle of short stories by the Canadian author, Mavis Gallant. Tim Groenland writes about the editing career of Gordon Lish, the cultivation of his persona, and the impact he had on the careers of various writers. Rachael Alexander analyses the concept of beauty and advertising in American and Canadian magazines of the early twentieth century, while Laura Byrne also discusses notions of consumerism, beauty, and image in her article on Lolita.
Also included in this issue is the winner of the 2013 WTM Riches Essay Prize. Sarah Cullen is a graduate of the School of English, Drama, and Film at University College Dublin. Her article on Toni Morrison’s Paradise also touches on many of the same themes as the other pieces, such as the search for a sense of home and belonging.
Owing to the special nature of this issue, the reviews section is smaller than usual. However, we are particularly delighted to feature reviews of two books recently published by prominent American Studies academics in Ireland. Ann Patten reviews Dr. Dara Downey’s American Women’s Ghost Stories in the Gilded Age, which was nominated for the Peggy O’Brien Book Prize. Gillian Groszewski reviews Dr. Lee Jenkins’ The American Lawrence. Dr. Jenkins delivered the Alan Graham Memorial Lecture at the IAAS Annual Conference in April 2015. These are just a small indication of the innovative and important work currently being produced by IAAS members. A more detailed reviews section is forthcoming in the next issue of the journal and will include the other nominees and winner of the Peggy O’Brien Book Prize.
The work of the Irish Journal of American Studies is solely funded by the IAAS. In order to continue supporting and publishing the work of scholars in the field, we would encourage you to join the IAAS if you are not already a member. All of the association’s activities – from conferences to book awards to travel bursaries to the maintenance of this website – are financed entirely through membership subscriptions. As part of a new initiative, you can now also donate to the association via the website here. The Editorial Committee is also pleased to welcome submissions on any topic relating to American Studies for inclusion in the next general issue of the journal. Details about submitting an article can be found here.
We would like to thank all of our authors for their hard work in bringing their articles to publication. Special thanks are also due to the Editorial Committee for providing us with the opportunity to publish the work of emerging academics and for their support and guidance in compiling this issue. We hope that you will enjoy it.
Jennifer Daly and Rosemary Gallagher