Academic journal article Mosaic (Winnipeg)

Introduction

Academic journal article Mosaic (Winnipeg)

Introduction

Article excerpt

The Letter. Both a thing written on paper bordering on obsolescence and a material mark--an a, b, c--now more than ever shot through by the electronic, the two-fold letter lives on. With its strange capacity to travel through time and across distances, it would seem that the essential impulse of the letter is to connect people, histories, and worlds. But as the essays in this issue of Mosaic suggest, these lines of transmission and connection are far more fraught than we would like to think.

The Letters issue was conceived by Dr. Dawne McCance, who has served as Editor of Mosaic for 18 years and who now hands over the editorship to me. Over the course of Dawne's tenure the journal has grown into one of the most respected critical forums in academic publishing. As the new Editor of Mosaic I would not only like to acknowledge Dawne's tremendous legacy, but also hope to further it in some small way. At this juncture the only way forward I see is to follow in what I imagine to be Dawne's footsteps. Combing the prairie grasses and forest floor for her trace will be the crux. With the Letters issue before me now I see a kind of path that is both a map and at one and the same time an analytic of sorts.

In these pages I recognize the letter as that thing we write on paper to another person, the record of a working collaboration, or, as in the case of Keats, a space where the writer is at liberty to admit their failings and uncertainties. I note a real preference for the love letter, which provides so many of the authors a kind of heuristic for thinking outside of ontology. I recognize deconstruction's attempt to isolate the materiality of the letter. Thematically this letter is pushed toward metonymy. …

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