Laurence W. Mazzeno
Whether the adjective in the title of this article is an appropriate modifier for its noun may be open to question, but it is an incontrovertible fact that the journal now published as Nineteenth-Century Prose has been much like the Hebrews expelled from Egypt. After nearly forty years, it is still wandering about from home to home, but it has survived because it remains the special child of those who have chosen to embrace it for the professional opportunities it has afforded to produce high-quality scholarship on important British, American, and Continetnal figures of the ‘long nineteenth century.’
Nineteenth-Century Prose is actually the metaphorical grandchild of a simple newsletter established by a group of scholars looking for a way to keep in touch with colleagues who shared a common interest in the life and work of Matthew Arnold. In 1972 Nadean Bishop, an assistant professor at Eastern Michigan University, organized a seminar at the annual MLA convention to celebrate the sesquicentennial of Arnold’s birth. A number of distinguished Arnoldians attended. Among those absent, however, was University of Virginia professor A.K. Davis, who had died just weeks before the meeting. Davis had spent his career working on an edition of Arnold’s letters, and the collection of originals and facsimiles at Virginia was notable. Much work was yet to be done, however, and those in attendance unanimously agreed that the man to handle the task was Cecil Y. Lang, already distinguished as the editor of Swinburne’s letters.
As a means of sharing information about work on the edition of Arnold’s letters and keeping each other up-to-date about other ongoing scholarship, conferees agreed to support a new publication, The Arnold Newsletter. Bishop was named its first editor. The original Advisory Board read like a veritable “Who’s Who” in Arnold Scholarship for the middle decades of the century: A. Dwight Culler, David DeLaura, Park Honan, Patrick McCarthy, and Fraser Neiman, all men whose publications on Arnold had made (or would soon make) significant contributions to understanding Arnold both as a poet and critic of literature and culture.
The slim, cheaply produced newsletter was to be issued quarterly, at an annual subscription rate of $3.00. A glance at the first numbers reveals a chatty, conversational tone. Brief articles and notices did little more than hint at what scholars were doing, or indicate the contents of collections containing materials by and about Arnold. The first number included a brief obituary on Davis, a thumbnail sketch of Lang’s career, a note on recent Arnold scholarship, and a listing of entries on Arnold published in the Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature. Beginning with the second number, more substantive material began appearing, including DeLaura’s note, “Some Needs and Opportunities in Arnold Scholarship,” in which he called for work on a comprehensive bibliography of secondary sources, a new handbook to update Tinker and Lowry, an assessment of Arnold’s reading, and a study of Arnold’s poetic techniques.
Within a year, having produced only two issues, Bishop found it necessary to give up the editorship. An enterprising and energetic professor at the U.S. Naval Academy, Allan B. Lefcowitz, agreed to take over those duties, and Bishop joined the Advisory Board. Lefcowitz had written a dissertation on Arnold and had shown interest in continuing to write about Arnold’s criticism. Those unfamiliar with the composition of the faculty at the USNA may have thought it a strange home for a journal devoted to one of the previous century’s great intellectual figures. Fortunately, the Naval Academy faculty (unlike those at other service academies) is made up of approximately fifty percent civilians (the other half being professional military officers), and the English Department is nearly 75% civilian faculty. These men and women are recruited in the same fashion as professors at other colleges, and are held to similar standards for teaching, research, and service. Hence, Lefcowitz had a group of colleagues who, like himself, were committed to scholarly pursuits – a circumstance that would be important in the coming years to the continuance of the Newsletter and its eventual evolution into a full-fledged scholarly journal.
Transferring an academic publication to an institution designed to prepare young men and women for armed naval combat was not without its initial frustrations, however. Managing to turn out four issues a year while teaching a full load of classes and participating in departmental and campus-wide activities can be a daunting task, and no course reductions were available for any scholar’s individual pursuits. Almost immediately, Lefcowitz found it necessary to recruit help. Richard R. Wohlschleager, who had joined the department as a naval officer and was now an assistant professor, became managing editor, and eventually succeeded Lefcowitz as editor. The practice of involving junior faculty in producing the journal would be continued for as long as the publication remained at the Naval Academy. Department members were often asked to write reviews, and some were approached to serve as assistant editors. While many did not have specific expertise in nineteenth-century British literature – and none were Arnold specialists – the practice proved beneficial, as it spread the administrative workload, something everyone found helpful at an institution where teaching was a priority.
When Wohlschlaeger became editor, Lefcowitz continued to perform rather amorphous duties as Advisory Editor – but not before he became embroiled in a wrangle with the naval bureaucracy over his seemingly innocuous scholarly enterprise. As the person who had brought the newsletter to Annapolis, Lefcowitz was considered the “responsible party” for the enterprise within the English Department. Consequently, it was he who received the rather irate call from someone within the Naval Academy hierarchy. Apparently someone outside the Department had noticed that this publication now bore a USNA return address – and government postage was being used to distribute it. Did Professor Lefcowitz realize, the official asked, that he needed official permission to use government postage? Did he have authorization to print this work? Did it conform to the official standards established by the Department of the Navy for official newsletters? Who had authorized him to charge a subscription fee for a “government publication,” and where was the money going?
Having served in the Army during the Korean War, Lefcowitz was not totally shocked that there would be rules governing official publications; he just thought they would not apply to a scholarly journal being produced for the academic community. He asked for advice and was directed to call the publications division at the Department of the Navy in Washington, DC. Predictably, he was nervous about prospects for keeping the journal alive.
Lefcowitz claimed to have been bewildered by all this fuss, but whether he was truly nonplussed is open to question. A man with an impish streak who appreciated a good fight with bureaucrats, he may well have been acting with full knowledge that he was manipulating government regulations (albeit for highminded purposes) in mixing government and private funds to produce the Newsletter. Neither he nor anyone else was taking a salary for work on the journal, and the paltry amount of government funds required to mail the journal was not making a material difference in the Naval Academy’s budget. In later years, he remarked on more than one occasion that he thought the journal initially passed muster with military brass because they had assumed that the publication was about Henry “Hap” Arnold, commander of the Army Air Corps in World War II and father of the United States Air Force. Now that he had been found out, he had no choice but to contact the authorities to plead his case.
Lefcowitz called the person in Washington who had been identified to him as the one who could adjudicate this matter. The man on the other end of the phone listened patiently as Lefcowitz provided some background about the Newsletter. He admitted he was collecting subscription monies for publication but using official franking to mail out copies. He had not sought authority from anyone, although his department chair knew of the publication and approved – at least by his silence. Throughout the conversation, Lefcowitz avoided detailed information about the literary nature of the publication (hoping, perhaps, that this bureaucrat would make the false assumption that the publication was military in nature). At the end of Lefcowitz’s explanation, the government official paused for a moment, then asked: “This Arnold Newsletter – do you mean Matthew Arnold, the author of ‘Dover Beach’ and Culture and Anarchy?” Lefcowitz knew that, miraculously perhaps, he had found a kindred spirit.
The advice he received was simple, but profound in its impact on the continuance of the publication. Since the Navy had very specific guidelines for publishing newsletters but not for many other publications, he was urged to change the name of the journal to something that would not be subject to strict regulation. While it was a violation of regulation to mix funding for these kinds of publications, there was no prohibition in having the Navy pay all publication and distribution costs, as long as an official would authorize expenditure of funds and review the content of each issue.
Changing the name was, in Lefcowitz’s view, a small price to pay for retaining the publication at the Naval Academy, and using government funds for publication seemed like a simple solution – and certainly one that subscribers would appreciate. Although the requirement to have an official review each issue sounded a bit like pre-publication censorship, Lefcowitz realized that if government funds were to underwrite the journal, it would be “official” and therefore would require such review. He did not deliberate long over this matter, but instead secured the cooperation of his department chair, who included the publication costs in the annual budget and agreed to sign off on each issue. Beginning with Vol. 3, No. 1, the newly rechristened Arnoldian appeared with an official statement inside the front cover, and the signatures of three USNA English Department chairs indicate that Volumes 3 through 11 were produced with the blessing of the government of the United States. Lefcowitz informed readers of the change in a diplomatic note: “To ease the paperwork burden associated with publishing the newsletter at the Naval Academy, we have had to change the name to The Arnoldian. This small step eliminates a major complication, and we hope it will not be confusing to you or your librarian” (3.1: 1).
Freed from the need to solicit and track payments, Lefcowitz and Wohlschlaeger concentrated on improving the quality of the journal. Initially they tried to produce a quarterly publication, but their ambitious plan was short-lived. Only Volume 2 contains four numbers; beginning with Volume 3, the newly christened Arnoldian appeared three times annually until Volume 7, which contained only two numbers. To compensate for the reduction in the number of issues, the editorial staff worked diligently to solicit more articles, notes, and reviews.
The larger publication still did not reach a size that would warrant “perfect” binding; individual numbers continued to be “staple stitched,” retaining the appearance of a newsletter. Some improvement was made in the quality of the printing, and eventually the idea of using the covers as well as inside pages for printing articles and texts was abandoned. That had been done initially on the theory that this publication was simply news; it was continued because the journal was being produced with government funds (always subject to be reduced), and the restrictions on charging for subscriptions made it impossible to supplement printing costs to improve the quality of the journal. By contrast, subscriptions to The Arnoldian increased steadily, as scholars and libraries learned they could receive copies at no cost.
Early issues of The Arnoldian, like its predecessor The Arnold Newsletter, were a mix of information and scholarship. In 1974 John M. Hill, a new assistant professor at the Academy, joined the editorial staff, and from that date forward, book reviews became a staple of the publication. In retrospect, there was no logic to the selection of titles reviewed. Some issues were devoted to specific topics, such as the fall 1976 issue (4.1), which contains summaries of papers to be presented at the Arnold section of the 1976 MLA conference, where scholars focused on the topic, “The Value of Arnold’s Poetry in the Last Quarter of the Twentieth Century.” Certainly this aided scholars in preparing for the session by providing advance information on the presentations – allowing dissenters to prepare questions, if nothing else. Beginning with Volume 2, the journal began publishing an annual review of the previous year’s scholarship on Arnold. The first summary was prepared by Fraser Neiman of William & Mary. Timothy R. Donovan of Northeastern University provided the annual summary for several subsequent years before Neiman resumed this task in 1979, continuing it until the focus of the journal changed radically in the 1980s.
A problem the journal faced then and for years to come was articulated by new editor Wohlschlaeger in the winter 1977 number (4.2), when he announced that the backlog of manuscript submissions was getting thin. The search for appropriate materials would occupy a succession of editors for the next decade, as the best material on Arnold’s poetry and prose was sent to other, ostensibly more prestigious publications such as Victorian Poetry and Victorian Studies. The most noted Arnold scholars, including those on the Advisory Board, would occasionally send notes, but few contributed anything of substance – and most sent nothing at all.
In 1979, Wohlschlaeger relinquished the editorship of the Arnoldian to Hill, and Hill’s colleague, Steven M. Ross, became book review editor. Hill was a medievalist with an interest in the interrelations between literature and science; Ross was an Americanist who had published on Faulkner and who was becoming deeply involved in the burgeoning field of critical theory. Since neither was a specialist in nineteenth-century British literature, Lefcowitz remained involved on the periphery, although his energies outside his teaching duties were focused on the creation and growth of The Writer’s Center, an organization he founded in 1976 in the Washington, DC area to promote creative and critical writing.
Hill announced in his initial issue that he was broadening the focus of the journal. No longer would its stated purpose be to support Arnold scholars exclusively; instead, it would serve as a forum for “Victorian cultural history, intellectual history and psychobiography,” welcoming submissions on Victorian friendships, “belletristic relationships” between English and Americans, concepts of culture, and (most notably for Hill) reactions to science and innovations in science (6.2: 1). It took several years, however, before contributions to the journal reflected the radical change Hill proposed. Hill also came up with a new subtitle for the journal, “A Review of Mid-Victorian Culture,” which began appearing on the title page with Volume 8. In the meantime, articles and notes on Arnold remained the staple of the publication, while the number of reviews grew and their quality improved.
Although it may not have been noticeable at the time of its appearance, Volume 7, Number 2 marked another turning point in the journal’s history. That issue was prepared not by the in-house staff of the Arnoldian, but by professors Jerrold Savory of Columbia College and Patricia Marks. This special issue, titled “A Charivari to Matthew Arnold,” includes British and American parodies of Arnold’s poetry and prose. While not repeated again for nearly a decade, the practice of working with guest editors on special topics would become the journal’s modus operandi as it was transformed from its narrow focus on Arnold to reach a wider audience of scholars.
In 1980, the editors announced officially that, beginning with Volume 8, there would be only two issues produced annually. At the same time, the editorial staff changed again, as two new USNA faculty were asked to join their colleagues in helping to produce the journal. Nancy R. Wicker, a recent University of Pennsylvania Ph.D. who had written a dissertation on Hopkins, was heavily recruited to become an assistant editor, and Hill and Lefcowitz saw her as eventually assuming the editorship. As it turned out, Wicker would contribute only modestly to the journal, serving as a consulting editor but concentrating on her teaching and on a book about Hopkins. Unfortunately, she died of cancer in 1985.
The second addition to the staff would have a much greater impact on the journal’s future. In the summer of 1980 Major Laurence W. Mazzeno was assigned to the Naval Academy as an Army exchange officer. Mazzeno had previously served on the faculty at the U.S. Military Academy, and while there he had completed his dissertation on Tennyson and Carlyle for Tulane University. Nevertheless, Hill and Lefcowitz, perhaps skeptical of asking a military officer to take on scholarly responsibilities, offered him the position of managing editor – meaning he would handle all administrative matters such as getting accepted manuscripts prepared for the press, dealing with the printers, and controlling distribution to subscribers. At that time the journal was being sent out for typesetting and printing, so transforming disparate typescripts into a readable journal was time-consuming.
Mazzeno saw himself doing more than taking care of business functions, however. Though not an Arnold scholar, his passionate interest in nineteenth-century literature drove him to become familiar with current and past Arnold scholarship, and he quickly volunteered to assist with other editorial responsibilities. Working closely with Hill, he helped solicit articles from established scholars and eventually took over Ross’ duties in soliciting reviews. He arranged for the first perfect-bound issue to be produced (8.1) in late fall 1980, a practice maintained since that date. He and Lefcowitz collaborated on several articles on Arnold and other nineteenth-century figures, publishing them in the Arnoldian and elsewhere. By the time he left the Academy in 1984 he had become the driving force behind the journal.
Mazzeno was scheduled to leave Annapolis for an assignment at the Pentagon in the fall of 1984. Therefore, when Hill took a sabbatical, editorial duties were passed temporarily to C. Herbert Gilliland, a Naval Reserve officer assigned to the English Department. He was assisted by Eileen T. Johnston, a Chicago Ph.D. who had taught at Bryn Mawr before joining the USNA faculty in 1982. Michael P. Parker, another Academy professor and frequent reviewer, took over book reviews. Johnston officially succeeded Hill as editor in the fall of 1984, remaining in that position for three years, and Gilliland became managing editor.
About the same time, the Reagan Administration’s “trickle down” theory came to affect The Arnoldian. Budget pressures on the military services trickled all the way down to individual units, including departments at the Academy. While the cost of producing the journal was not extravagant, military officials could not understand why government funds were being used for the enterprise. The editorial staff submitted justification for retaining the publication, but when it became inevitable that government funding would cease, they reached a compromise with Navy officials to allow them to return to charging for subscriptions. Beginning with the first number of Volume 12, the Arnoldian was once again a “pay to play” publication.
Johnston was a conscientious editor who convinced well respected Victorian scholar Elizabeth Helsinger of the University of Chicago to join the editorial board. Like her predecessors, Johnston struggled to balance a full teaching load, a scholarly career, departmental and campus-wide responsibilities, and a family. She remained in the editor’s position for three years, while Gilliland continued to assist her as managing editor. But she, too, discovered what Wohlschlaeger and Hill had lamented: While reviews were plentiful, articles and notes were hard to come by. Submissions on Arnold were received infrequently, and those on other figures were even more rare.
Although he was no longer on the Academy faculty, Mazzeno continued to assist in producing the Arnoldian, providing reviews and helping with editorial functions. Then in 1985, in a move that surprised a number of the civilian faculty in the English Department, the Superintendent of the Naval Academy suspended the department’s traditional practice of selecting its own leadership and asked Mazzeno, now a lieutenant colonel, to return to the USNA in the fall of 1986 as department chair. Mazzeno took the opportunity to resume an active role in managing the journal, assisting Johnston and Gilliland, who were officially responsible for producing the semi-annual numbers.
Part of the pressure to attract quality submissions was relieved when the second number of Volume 15 became a “special issue” – by default. In 1984, in anticipation of the centennial of Arnold’s death, Mazzeno and Lefcowitz had proposed to bring out a collection of essays on Arnold. The University of Iowa Press offered them a contract for the work. The two began immediately to solicit submissions, with a deadline of December 1986. Top Arnold scholars were contacted, as were a number of promising young critics.
For reasons about which we can only speculate, quite a number of scholars politely declined the invitation to submit an essay for the volume. Of those who initially said they would contribute, only a handful followed through; at the deadline for submissions, a mere seven had been received, too few to make a book that would justify the publisher’s investment of time and money. Lefcowitz and Mazzeno contacted the editor at Iowa Press and withdrew their proposal. They then contacted the scholars who had submitted work and asked if they would agree to publication in the Arnoldian. All but one said yes. The editors asked other scholars to write special, retrospective reviews of books that had shaped Arnold studies in the twentieth century. The finished product was one of the journal’s best issues to date. Distinguished Arnold scholars such as Miriam Allott, Sidney Coulling, Howard Fulweiler, David Riede, Ruth apRoberts, and Fraser Neiman were among those who contributed articles and retrospective book reviews. Additionally, while other journals and several scholars brought out centenary tributes to Arnold, the special issue of the Arnoldian had the distinction of being the first to appear.
Despite the success of the special issue, everyone associated with The Arnoldian knew that something had to be done to increase the number of submissions. While the quality of work remained good, there simply was not much new unsolicited material arriving in the editor’s mailbox. Some on the editorial staff thought the journal had lost its focus and become simply a catch-all for original work and reviews on any Victorian (or Romantic, or sometimes modern) writer or topic. Given falling subscriptions and the need to “float on its own bottom,” the journal would be in financial difficulty if something were not done to rejuvenate interest among subscribers. Johnston, Gilliland, and Mazzeno could see that there was little future in continuing a journal devoted to Matthew Arnold – especially if established and emerging Arnold scholars were not supporting it regularly. But all three were concerned that any radical change might offend Lefcowitz, who had devoted much of his scholarly energy to the journal for more than a decade. When Mazzeno approached him to explain the concerns he and his colleagues had about The Arnoldian’s future, Lefcowitz was not only not resentful, but actually enthusiastic in endorsing a change in direction that would give the journal a focus not shared by any other scholarly publication at the time.
By consensus, The Arnoldian was to be transformed into a journal devoted to scholarship on nonfiction prose of the nineteenth century. While the editors would clear the backlog of accepted articles during the next two years, a concerted effort would be made to advertise for submissions on figures such as Carlyle, Macaulay, Ruskin, Pater – and Arnold, of course. Next in order was to select a new name to reflect the changed focus. After much discussion, Nineteenth-Century Prose was chosen. At least one editor thought the title might generate confusion among potential contributors, since “prose” encompassed fiction as well as nonfiction. But the time to change was upon them, so the editorial staff agreed to accept the new title unless a better one could be found. There was some discussion as well about whether to begin anew with the volume numbers – in deference to librarians, who frequently have problems cataloging and shelving journals with multiple names – but in the end, the editors decided to continue the consecutive numbering, partly as a way to show continuity with the “new” journal’s immediate predecessor.
Other changes were on the horizon, too. As Lefcowitz and Mazzeno were shepherding their special issue through the press, Tyler indicated that she wished to relinquish the editorship. Gilliland did not express interest in succeeding her, and in fact suggested that someone else may wish to take his place as well. Despite his duties as department chair, Mazzeno felt he could make time to take on the editor’s role. He did so with the second number of Volume 15, announcing the impending name change and encouraging scholars to spread the word about the its new direction.
Once the final regular issue of The Arnoldian was mailed to subscribers, Mazzeno asked David P. Smith, a navy lieutenant commander serving a second tour in the department, to serve as managing editor. The two were responsible for Volume 16. Unfortunately, these two issues were plagued with errors, largely because the editors had decided to begin preparing camera-ready copy themselves. Computer technology made such work much easier than it had been in the past. Costs for typesetting were rising rapidly, and funds from subscriptions were not keeping pace. But the two editors did not have sufficient expertise in the new technology, nor could they devote sufficient time to make these first issues “clean”; both were filled with mistakes, some of which made articles and notes unintelligible. It would be more than a year before the journal once again achieved the professional look and accuracy that had characterized earlier volumes.
Although by the spring of 1989 the first issue of NCP had been mailed and the second was being prepared, there was one last hurrah for The Arnoldian: the publication of a special issue edited by the venerable Cecil Y. Lang, whose long-awaited edition of Arnold’s letters was finally being prepared for publication. More than two years earlier, Lang had invited Lefcowitz and Mazzeno to join him for dinner in northwest Washington, DC at the home of one of Arnold’s great-nieces. On a warm August evening, on a porch that provided viewers a panorama of the nation’s capitol, Lang asked the editors of the Arnoldian to underwrite the production of a special book he wished to bring out as a by-product of his work on the Arnold letters. Arnold Whitridge, Matthew Arnold’s grandson, had given Lang a letter book Arnold had assembled in 1881 for his daughter Eleanor. It contained a variety of correspondence, from a veritable “who’s who” – Wordsworth, Gladstone, Tennyson, Thackeray, and dozens of others. Since most of this correspondence was not addressed to Arnold, Lang wanted to bring out an edition of this letter book as a separate publication. His grandiose plans included reproducing each letter in facsimile, with a typeset copy next on the facing page. He asked that the editors of the Arnoldian serve as his publishers, not only arranging for the production of the book but also assuming all costs.
After months of discussion, Lang and the editors came to an agreement: the number of facsimiles would be reduced drastically, but the Arnoldian staff would produce the book. Mazzeno sought financial assistance from the Naval Academy’s Office of Institutional Research, which generously provided a $2,500.00 grant to cover printing and distribution costs. A limited number of hardbound copies were published, with a paperbound run large enough to send all subscribers this special – and final – number of The Arnoldian.
Meanwhile, Mazzeno and Smith were producing regular issues, and Mazzeno was preparing for his retirement from the Army. Finding a successor for him as department chair was no problem; the new Superintendent and new academic dean had already agreed to allow department faculty to hold an election. Replacing him as editor of Nineteenth-Century Prose was another matter altogether. Since 1974, when an editor had indicated a desire to relinquish the position, another member of the English Department faculty was available and willing to take over. In the spring of 1989, however, no one expressed such a desire. Charles J. Nolan, a civilian professor in the department who had been selected to replace Mazzeno as chair, was most eager to keep the journal at the Academy. Nolan recognized the value to his department of having an academic journal housed there, especially for junior faculty who had the opportunity to participate in this scholarly venture. However, neither he nor Mazzeno were able to convince any of their colleagues to assume the responsibility as editor. Therefore, when Mazzeno left the USNA for his new position as a dean at Mesa State College in Grand Junction, Colorado, the journal moved with him.
Before arriving at Mesa State, Mazzeno had negotiated with officials there to have the costs of mailing the journal underwritten by the college. Since subscriptions had fallen drastically after government support had been lost, this move was critical to shoring up a bank account that was quickly being depleted. Nevertheless, establishing the journal at its new home while concurrently serving as a dean would prove to be a daunting task for Mazzeno. To ease the workload, he recruited a number of faculty and staff to assist him. Some became assistant editors, one with computer expertise became managing editor, another took over business operations.
Mazzeno knew, though, that the position most critical to the journal’s success was that of book review editor. The person acquiring titles for review and locating potential reviewers would be busier than anyone else associated with NCP. Fortunately, Mazzeno was able to recruit Barry Tharaud, who had been at Mesa State since 1976. Tharaud was a literary polymath whose interest in scholarly projects was wide-ranging. He had published in several literary fields, was deeply interested in Emerson and in the Turkish novelist Yaşar Kemal, and was completing a translation of Beowulf for the University of Colorado Press when Mazzeno arrived at Mesa State. Equally important, he was looking for some intellectual stimulation in a department that focused almost exclusively on teaching. The choice would prove to be fortuitous.
The first issue published at Mesa State College (17.1) reflected the changed focus on the journal, as both articles were on William Ewart Gladstone. Mazzeno had received assistance from John Powell, then an assistant professor at Hannibal-LaGrange College in Missouri, in obtaining the lead article from Professor Agatha Ramm of Oxford University. Powell contributed the second one. While continuing to solicit manuscripts, Mazzeno came to rely on Tharaud to generate reviews, and this area of the journal, though always a strength, improved notably. Unsolicited submissions were still trickling in, however, so Mazzeno became more aggressive in locating materials to flesh out individual issues. He found a source for an entire number in the papers presented at a conference on John Henry Newman held at Creighton University in 1990, which appeared as volume 18, number 2. He also accepted an offer from Powell to bring out a special issue, under Powell’s editorship, on “politicians and prose.” This format for producing individual issues would become a staple of the journal over the next decade.
Mazzeno served as a dean at Mesa State for only three years, moving on in 1992 to become the chief academic officer at Ursuline College in Ohio. Realizing that he would have even less time to devote to scholarly pursuits in his new position than he had managed to carve out at Mesa State, he decided it was time for him to sever ties with NCP. Fortunately, Tharaud was willing to become editor. Before he left Mesa State, however, Mazzeno negotiated an agreement for the journal to become part of the stable of publications brought out by the University Press of Colorado. The director of the press promised to take over all business operations, leaving Tharaud free to concentrate on editorial responsibilities. The arrangement seemed sensible, since both Mazzeno and Tharaud had found that their colleagues at Mesa State were not as enthusiastic about editorial responsibilities as they might have wished them to be. The two were handling almost all editorial tasks by themselves, and with Mazzeno’s departure, virtually all of the duties would fall to Tharaud.
It is questionable if Tharaud realized when he became editor in 1992 that his tenure would be the longest (by far) of anyone who had held the position. For a time he sought to involve colleagues from the department in the enterprise. The journal grew in size and scope gradually, but after three or four years Tharaud realized that he would be on his own in producing further issues of NCP. Additionally, the University Press of Colorado had decided that underwriting scholarly journals was a costly venture, and decided to cease publishing them. Moreover, they previously had raised the price of the journal substantially, tried to limit the number of pages per issue, and failed to give significant exposure to the journal when attempting to generate new subscriptions. Therefore, although there were additional responsibilities involved, there was also some additional freedom when Tharaud decided to assume all responsibilities for producing NCP, with Mesa State College as the journal’s home address once again.
The record of growth and improvement in quality of Nineteenth-Century Prose under Tharaud’s editorship was both steady and notable. The first several volumes (19, 20, and 21) were short on new scholarship but filled with reviews and review essays. Tharaud soon learned to make savvy use of connections with various scholars who had reviewed for the journal to increase the number of articles. His tactic was one that frequently appealed to those who had a special interest in a topic but who did not want to take on the task of independently contracting with a publisher to bring out a collection of essays. He would ask scholars to serve as guest editors for an issue, holding them responsible for soliciting essays on specific topics. Additionally, he actively sought contributions on American and Continental prose writers of the nineteenth century, thereby expanding his audience.
Although the first of those issues (22.2) was a venture suggested to Tharaud by John Powell, then at Penn State, Erie, other special issues soon followed, each edited by a scholar noted for expertise on the topic: Patrick McCarthy on Dickens’s American Notes (23.2), Rosemary Van Arsdel on Victorian periodicals (24.1), Billie Andrews Inman on Walter Pater (24.2), Sander Gilman on Victorian discourse about illness (25.1), Donald E. Hall on Victorian culture and cultural studies (26.1), William B. Thesing on the Victorians and gender (26.2), William Wright on Victorian rhetoric (27.2), Martin Hewitt on Victorian platform culture (29.1), Carrie Tirado Bramen on Victorian concepts of the picturesque (29.2), Rosemary Lloyd on Continental prose of the nineteenth century (32.1), Patrick Brantlinger and Andrew Libby on imperialism in the nineteenth century (32.2) Perhaps the most notable special issue was a double number (30.1/2) edited by Tharaud himself: a collection of sixteen essays by established and emerging Emerson scholars issued to commemorate the bicentenary of Emerson’s birth. The following year Sandy Petrulionis and Laura Dassow Walls edited a special number to celebrate the sesquicentennial of the publication of Thoreau’s Walden (31.2).
A major benefit of having so many issues handled by guest editors was that the number of articles increased markedly. Some of these recent issues contain no reviews at all. One drawback to the increased wealth of articles is that at one point a backlog of reviews developed, which was cleaned out in one mammoth issue (27.1) that contained reviews of more than fifty books. On balance, however, the policy proved most beneficial. The size of the journal increased, so that by the turn of the century it was commonplace for each issue to contain 200 pages or more. Notable, too, was the variety of interests among scholars who contributed, and the range of institutions they represented. By 2005, the journal had become truly cosmopolitan, attracting scholars from prestigious American and British institutions to its list of essayists and reviewers.
Having others take on responsibilities for identifying contributors and vetting the quality of the work did not relieve Tharaud of his editorial duties, however. He continued to solicit reviews, produce regular issues in-between special issues, and also continued to do content and copy editing on the special issues as well. In addition, when rising publishing costs and the increased size of the journal ran production into the red, Tharaud changed printers and printing techniques, and took on himself all the compositing of the journal, which now continues to turn a profit.
As he managed the affairs of Nineteenth-Century Prose, Tharaud was also busy managing his own career. In 2001 he retired from Mesa State College, but unlike Mazzeno, he made no attempt to leave the journal behind. Not ready to give up the academic life, he secured a position at San Diego State University as an Adjunct Professor, and transferred the offices of NCP to that institution. Opportunities for appointments at overseas institutions soon became available to him, but again he managed to keep the journal going even from places as far away as Morocco, where he served as a Senior Fulbright Professor for two years, and Turkey, where he served for several years as a Professor of English at Doğuş University, İstanbul, and he has recently moved to Fatih University, also in İstanbul. In 2002, realizing that the journal was approaching its thirtieth anniversary, Tharaud contacted Mazzeno to ask him to prepare a special issue of NCP to celebrate its past and provide an annotated index to its contents over the past several decades. The completion of that project resulted in the production of volume 37, which annotates the contents of 36 years of journal issues.