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Editorial Intern for North Wind: A Journal of George MacDonald Studies

Name: Gretchen Panzer
Year of Graduation: 2012
Hometown: Appleton, WI
Major: English, Women's and Gender Studies

Name: Dr. John Pennington, Professor of English
Research Specialty: Victorian Fairy Tales and Children’s Fantasy Literature

As a freshman, I was given the opportunity to apply for one of several research assistant positions through the Research Fellowship Program. The description of North Wind immediately captured my interest, since I already knew I wanted to be an English major and was curious about the publishing process. North Wind is a scholarly journal devoted to studies and literary criticism of the Scottish author George MacDonald (1824-1905), noted for his fairy tales and fantasies that include Phantastes (1858) and At the Back of the North Wind (1872). The North Wind journal is published annually and edited by  John Pennington. As Professor Pennington’s editorial intern, my main tasks are to copyedit the articles and format them in a publishing program called InDesign. After several rounds of proofreading and adjustments, we send the finished product to the printers; finally, the printed copies are shipped to readers, an international audience.
Though the contributors and readers of North Wind represent a variety of countries and cultures, the fact that the journal has only been published in print limits its accessibility. Realizing this, Professor Pennington proposed an additional project for us: the digitalization of North Wind. After receiving a grant from the Student-Faculty Development Endowment Fund, we started the time-consuming—but rewarding—work of transferring each issue of North Wind from the printed page to a digital database: the North Wind Online Digital Archive.
My part in the process involves extensive copyediting and re-formatting the articles so that each issue is easy to read and consistent with the current North Wind style. I also created the digital archive using SNC’s Cascade server, and I maintain this site by adding each article to the database and organizing the material using folders and tags. Eventually, we will link our site to the online MLA International Bibliography and the Victorian Web to create a comprehensive, searchable database for George MacDonald enthusiasts and scholars around the world.
As we reviewed all twenty-four years’ worth of journals, Professor Pennington noticed a shift in contributors’ methods of criticism. Earlier issues of North Wind are comprised almost entirely of biographical articles on George MacDonald and reviews of books related to the author and his works. However, as the times changed, so did the journal. The rise of New Criticism played a key role in modifying the journal’s focus, and contributors began to focus on specific literary works rather than the author’s life. Today, North Wind features a blend of critical approaches to the texts, as well as book reviews and articles about MacDonald as a person. To more closely examine this shift and to celebrate the journal’s dynamic history, Professor Pennington and I plan to write a critical article that examines the development of MacDonald criticism. This article will be published in an upcoming issue of North Wind as a tribute to past and present contributors.
Through my collaborative work with Professor Pennington, I have learned a great deal about the publishing process and literary criticism. In addition, I have developed my computer skills by familiarizing myself with several new programs and learning the basics of web design. Even copyediting can be a learning opportunity: as I read the articles, I absorb information about George MacDonald, his contemporaries, the Victorian era, art, fantasy, theology . . . even unexpected subjects like ecology, archaeology, ancient Grecian urns, Kabbalistic legends, and ecology. For someone who loves literature and literary criticism as much as I do, the North Wind internship is a perfect fit.

Professor John Pennington
Gretchen and I are true collaborators on this project: we work together at every stage of the production of the journal North Wind: A Journal of George MacDonald Studies. Gretchen is doing editorial work that is normally assigned to those working on their MA or PhD in literature, and this experience will prove invaluable as she considers her future plans, whether to pursue graduate studies or other professional opportunities. While our collaborative production of the journal is exciting (and rewarding, as Gretchen indicates), I am particularly enthusiastic about the scholarly article that we are working on that traces the evolution of MacDonald literary criticism. This article will, we hope, will provide a foundation for the reassessment of George MacDonald as a major Victorian literary figure, and a reassessment of the importance of fairy tale and fantasy literature in the 19th century.
Gretchen Panzer
Gretchen Panzer

“For someone who loves literature and literary criticism as much as I do, the North Wind internship is a perfect fit.”

St. Norbert Collaborative

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