'Eighteenth-Century Fiction' recognized for excellence in research

By Anqi Shen, February 22, 2012

    Fall 2011 edition of Eighteenth-Century Fiction, based in the Department of English & Cultural Studies
McMaster's own Eighteenth-Century Fiction has received the Voyager Award from the Council of Editors of Learned Journals for its contributions to 18th century studies.

The publication is an international quarterly journal based in the Department of English & Cultural Studies. Since its inception in 1988, the journal has published scholarly articles and book reviews in French and English. It continues to be devoted to the critical investigation of literature and culture from 1660 to 1832.

Eighteenth-Century Fiction received the 2011 CELJ Voyager Award for its interdisciplinary approach, as well as high-quality, original contributions to 18th century studies. The Voyager Award annually recognizes excellence in journals in the humanities covering the period between 1500 and 1800.

Peter Walmsley and Eugenia Zuroski-Jenkins, co-editors of Eighteenth-Century Fiction, said the journal's research output provides important insights into the origins of modernity and popular culture.

"What our authors are doing is engaging with texts of all kinds - scientific, fiction, philosophical - and tending carefully to the articulation of ideas while putting them in a rich cultural context," said Walmsley. "It's about studying literary works and how they can contribute to a bigger understanding of where we are today."

The journal's academic focus began to shift around 2003 with the emergence of a more interdisciplinary perspective.

"The study of English literature has become more interdisciplinary in the past 10 to 20 years," said Managing Editor Jacqueline Langille. "We [the editorial team] decided to broaden our definition of 'fiction' because it doesn't have to apply only to novels. It can certainly apply to other forms of literary production, as well as different cultural histories."

In addition, Thomson Reuters has added Eighteenth-Century Fiction to its Web of Science index. Web of Science is part of the largest citation index available, containing 12,000 of the highest impact journals spanning several disciplines. Indices like these provide scholars with bibliographic information to quickly find relevant, comprehensive research.

In the 2011 SSHRC Aid to Scholarly Journals competition, Eighteenth-Century Fiction was awarded funding representing one quarter of its not-for-profit operating budget for a three-year period.

"The Voyager Award and the success we've had is really a mark from our peers that were excelling at what we do, and that's a good feeling," said Langille. "We hope to continue to expand our readership and we're always looking for new eyes on our research."

Eighteenth-Century Fiction is available for open access through McMaster University's Digital Commons