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An Art Historian Walks into a Journal . . . | posted February 11, 2013

Copyright The Captain Christie Crawfurd English Civil War Collection / Supplied by The Public Catalogue FoundationIt was with a sense of nervous anticipation that I accepted an invitation to join the editorial team at JNR.

Having carried out some research into the role of the Reviews Editor my nerves were not exactly calmed. One article on the subject, from the Library Quarterly, advised that “occupying the position of book review editor makes one vulnerable to all sorts of attacks.” Reading on, I learned of the threat of the disgruntled author, who feels their work has been unfairly assessed or, even worse, ignored altogether; and of the hazards of the temperamental reviewer who takes umbrage at harsh editing. Was I ready for such a position? Could I cope with the demands of maintaining this careful balance between prima donna authors and volatile reviewers? Well, the answer was yes. And, as yet, I have still to encounter the wrath of either – although I do have a copy of Marla Johnson’s A Book Review Editor’s Apologia at hand, should the need arise.

My arrival at JNR also augurs the development and extension of the Journal’s art historical focus, starting shortly with a series of exhibition reviews. Since both the words and images of the Northern Renaissance were shaped by the shifting political, social, religious and intellectual conditions of early modern Europe, it is hoped that this additional emphasis will encourage cross-disciplinary connections and promote a reassessment of just what that monolithic term, “renaissance culture”, actually involved. If you have any ideas for book, film, performance or exhibition reviews, would like to volunteer your services as a reviewer or simply want to get in touch, please do submit a comment below or e-mail me.

Catriona Murray (Associate Editor, Reviews).