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A note on the Fortnightly’s ‘periodicity’.

WE TEND TO VIEW the “periodical” aspect of this model somewhat differently from others. The traditional magazine – especially a serious review – makes a complex critical statement in serial form. Most online reviews borrow the publishing conventions from print models and apply them to publications distributed on the Web. While this New Series is updated very often, and the editors select or commission work that is sometimes thematically linked to other pieces (or juxtaposed with older, archival work), the New Series is not intended to be read as a series of single numbers, or as a site devoted to coverage of ‘current events’, but as one single issue that is always in the process of revision and expansion by means of aggregation.

We understand this seems to do further violence to the “fortnightly” aspiration of Anthony Trollope and the others, yet our “revisions” (in the form of major articles) do appear on a twice-monthly frequency, though approximately. Philosophically, perhaps this is not a radical departure from the traditional model. Nevertheless, it is surely a slow-motion approach to periodical publishing in an age of instant, online “content creation”.

As a publishing platform, the Web is nearing middle adolescence, if 1993 can be accepted as a rough date-of-birth (for background, please see this page by Matthew Gray of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology). Yet unlike other publishing platforms (the printed page, book-as-object, audio performances and files, video, visual and “concrete” poetry, and the like), the Web has created very few durable, extensible creative conventions with specific application to poetry, fiction or other literary forms. Development of these conventions is likely to lead to an examination of literary architecture and ultimately may provide a new way of looking at periodicity. The Fortnightly will participate actively in that discussion.

Our hope is that the Fortnightly Review will always be ahead of, or perpendicular to, or even above its own time, and appearing with a frequency as pleasing as “the stroke of an oar given in true time”.

More about the New Series.

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