Call for Papers: Issue 1: Beginnings

Call for Papers

Deadline for completed manuscripts: June 1 2020

The very first edition of a new journal will be launched this September.

Inscription is an innovative new journal which addresses the theme of the material text from a range of perspectives, bringing together the critical, historical, theoretical and creative. Inscription will be at home equally in the first century as the twenty-first and will feature work by practitioners – book artists, printmakers and writers – alongside academic discussion. Its focus is not just on the meanings and uses of the codex book, but also the nature of writing surfaces, the process of mark marking and printing. The journal’s theoretically aware, trans-historical and cross-disciplinary remit will break with the conventions of academic ghettoization, creating connections between areas that have much to say to one another – bibliography, the artist’s book, and media theory, for instance – enabling more wide-ranging conversation and unexpected juxtapositions. It promises not merely to add to the field but to set new agendas for the next phase of the development of the study of material texts.

In another break with the conventional academic journal, Inscription’s dos-à-dos format will be equally innovative: inspired by Edgar Alan Poe’s short story‘A Descent into the Maelstrom’, the first half of the journal will be printed in columns, to be read from left to right whilst rotating in a clockwise direction towards the central spine, while the other side of the journal will be rotated 180 degrees, printed in columns from left to right, rotating in a clockwise direction, travelling towards the centre. In effect, the journal has two beginnings and no end. It will also require the reader to rotate it in their hands, in order to read it. The centre fold will be the colophon, laid out in a spiral, with the publishing information disappearing into the gutter. Each edition will have a guest artist-in-residence, poet-in-residence & writer-in-residence; and each edition will be accompanied by a vinyl LP featuring an author reading from their work.

Our theme for the inaugural edition is ‘beginnings’. We are seeking articles of between 6-8,000 words that approach this theme from imaginative angles: the openings of books, front matter and title pages; the historical origins of particular book forms or writing technologies; the disciplinary origins of the traditions in which we work; or the knotty theoretical question of pinpointing ‘beginnings’in the messy context of the material text. The theme is intended to be suggestive rather than prescriptive, and other, more oblique, unexpected or creative approaches are encouraged. Authors are welcome to include images with their text but copyright permissions must be obtained by the author prior to the submission deadline.

The first edition will be issued in September 2020: this means we will need finished articles submitted to us by 1 June 2020. All contributions will be double-blind peer reviewed, and material will be available for Open Access. The properly diverse editorial board comprises some of most renowned and respected scholars and practitioners in their respective fields from across the globe. It includes:

Sean Ashton, Derek Beaulieu, Sarah Bodman, Christian Bök, Angie Butler, Felipe Cussen, Johanna Drucker, Dennis Duncan, Rob Fitterman, Jo Hamill, Nasser Hussain, Tina Lupton, Bonnie Mak, Kaja Marczewska, Brooke Palmieri, Craig Saper, Nick Thurston, Whitney Trettien, Daniel Wakelin, Patrick Wildgust, Abigail Williams.

Contributions (up to 8,000 words, but shorter pieces welcome too, across all forms) or expressions of interest should be emailed to the editors at:

Inscription: the Journal of Material Text – Theory, Practice, History

Editor: Gill Partington, Munby Fellow, 2018-19, Cambridge University Library & regular reviewer for the Times Literary Supplement 

Editor: Adam Smyth, Professor of English Literature and the History of the Book, Balliol College, Oxford University

Editor: Simon Morris, Professor of Art at Leeds Beckett University

Digital Designer (AR, VR & Coding): Dr Ian Truelove

Project Manager: Zara Worth

Cover artist for Issue 1: New York artistErica Baum

Artist-in-Residence for issue 1: Jérémie Bennequin

Poet-in-Residence for issue 1: Craig Dworkin

Writer-in-Residence for issue 1: Sean Ashton

Designer: The Fraser Muggeridge Studio, London

Publisher: Information as Material, York in partnership with Leeds Beckett University

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