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