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LFQ at 50!: reflections on the journey so far


One of the things I really appreciate about LFQ is the wide-ranging and eclectic nature of the conversation that’s taken place in its pages over the last five decades. And you see this of course over the long arc of its publication history but you can also look at individual issues to see this diversity and complexity of ideas and approaches at play. Take this issue as an example from 1986, volume 14, number one, where you'll find an essay on the experimental filmmaker Maya Deren (one of my personal heroes) looking at her work as almost a form of imagist poetry alongside an essay on aesthetic tripling in the films and novels of Marguerite Duras. Or another issue where you might find an essay on the anti-pastoral in the Rambo films alongside an essay on horror film fanzines and the importance of fan literature to film studies. So, this kind of appetite for a diversity of ideas and novel approaches that LFQ has had from the very beginning. At the same time, it's really interesting to think about some of the ways that the journal actually hasn't changed over the years. So, just as the most obvious example, you have the look and feel of the journal, and some of it has changed a little bit over the years like the color palette, but you have over the decades pretty much the same formal motif with the film strip with the sprocket holes on the sides, the content up front. For many years the logo didn't really change up until recently… and on the back (this was actually one of the elements that Walter Metz talked about in the recent special plenary on LFQ's 50th anniversary at the Literature & Film association conference this year) the postage information, and so on. And just this kind of scrappy design and layout with an almost pamphlet format stapled together… this kind of scrappy look and feel, but there's this personal feeling to it and also just a sense that a lot of love and care went into each issue. You can also think about the fact that the title of the journal has stayed the same over 50 years—Literature/Film Quarterly. In the print version at least, the scrunched mast head and the table of contents, very little about that has changed, and the sort of nicotine-stained papyrus of the of the pages. Of course, for the first three decades of its history two men were at the helm of the journal: Jim Welsh and Tom Erskine. But despite these areas of continuity, it's remained this site of change and a sense of an ongoing process not only within the journal itself but within the broader field of adaptation studies. And that importance of change and sense of novelty, privileging new ideas and emerging scholars, continues to be one of the missions of Literature/Film Quarterly.