Reviewing for Enfilade

Posted in books, opinion pages, reviews, site information by Editor on January 22, 2011

From the Editor

I recently received three books with requests that I consider publishing reviews of them here at Enfilade. Given that expanding the site’s original content is one goal, I’m certainly open to the idea. Consequently, I’m writing to solicit reviewers. In many ways, Enfilade remains a work-in-progress, and I would imagine this new direction (even if it succeeds) will call for adjustments along the way. I would like to propose the following ideas as a starting point. I welcome any feedback or advice readers might have.

A. Reviewers must be HECAA members in good standing.

B. Given that Enfilade is intended to serve as a newsletter for those interested in eighteenth-century art and architecture — as opposed to serving as an academic journal in its own right — it seems that the goal of a review at Enfilade is different than a review published in an academic journal. Description of contents and assessment of potential audiences are probably more important, for instance, than teasing out the nuances of a particular argument. An informed characterization premised on the scholarly expertise of the reviewer should still be an important goal, but the model for emulation might be more akin to a brief notice in The New York Review of Books or the TLS than The Art Bulletin or Eighteenth-Century Studies.

C. The blog format lends itself to relatively brief postings: 400-800 words might be an appropriate length. Prompt turn-around seems especially important for a newsletter format, and again the brevity should help in this regard.

D. One big problem: HECAA has no budget to fund the logistics of reviewing books (Enfilade costs absolutely nothing to produce). If publishers send me books, I have no money to send out copies to reviewers. In the case of the three books at hand, I’m happy to haul them to New York with me for CAA and distribute copies there (likewise with ASECS in Vancouver). Otherwise, I think the cost of shipping would have to be paid by the reviewer. It’s less than ideal, but given the cost of art books (easily ranging from $50 to 125), paying several dollars for shipping is perhaps not unreasonable.

The three books I presently have address two current exhibitions in the United States and the topic of eighteenth-century furniture. If you would like to be added to the list of potential reviewers, please send me an email outlining your particular areas of expertise (a brief CV would be helpful, too). Graduate students are encouraged to contribute, though any member of HECAA should feel free to volunteer. Again, I welcome your suggestions. -C.H.

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