Persuasions #4, 1982 Page 2
In this, the fourth year of my editorship of Persuasions, it would seem appropriate to set down a statement of policy.
First, what is Persuasions not. It is not an academic sounding board. Abstruse dissertations on recondite themes do not belong here. (For an amusing comment in this connexion, see Walter Kerr on p. 8). Neither is Persuasions a reviewer of books. Other journals exist for that purpose. Nor does it purvey goods. No advertisements are accepted for the commercial marketplace. True, quite arbitrarily, certain objects or items will be drawn to the reader’s attention, which, entirely at the idiosyncratic whim of the editor, are deemed of amusement, interest or value, and of which, without mention in Persuasions, he might never hear. (See the end of this book.)
No, the object of Persuasions is to entertain: to amuse; to delight; to please; to publish new articles and to reprint old ones that many of our readers may not have seen. In short we aim to make this journal as “light, and bright and sparkling” as it is possible without Jane, herself, to write for us.
Speaking of Jane, this editor has a very pronounced dislike of hearing our author referred to as “Austen,” as if she were her father, her brother or her nephew. This rather recent vogue – of calling women by their surnames without title – indulged in by feminists and provincial newspapers, is seldom, I am happy to say, followed by the New York Times or The Times of London, and never, by that doyen of all Jane Austen scholars, R. W. Chapman. Henceforth in these pages, Jane Austen, the woman who has inspired this society, and engendered this journal, will be referred to as Jane Austen, J. A., or Jane, for Miss Austen she was not.
Letters, with some expression of opinion on the offerings in Persuasions would be helpful. If, in four years, I have never written an editorial, by the same token, in four years I have received hardly a word either of blame or of praise.
My personal thanks to J. David Grey whose encyclopedic knowledge not only of Jane Austen but of everything ever written about her has always, most graciously, been at my disposal.
The generosity of one or two individual members, and of the Toronto committee, has enabled us to increase the number of pages in Persuasions this year. These extra funds were donated in particular so that the speeches of Juliet McMaster (p. 26) and Enid Hildebrand (p. 34) might be published at greater length than would otherwise have been possible. To these people, our gratitude.