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VQR Wins Parnassus Award from CELJ

PUBLISHED: January 6, 2005

The Virginia Quarterly Review was honored as the winner of the Parnassus Award for Significant Editorial Achievement, presented by the Council of Editors of Learned Journals (CELJ).

CELJ is a professional organization of editors of scholarly journals devoted to study in the humanistic disciplines. Jana L. Argersinger, vice president of CELJ, notes that “the Parnassus competition specifically looks for a single issue, published within the previous three years, that realizes the journal’s mission to an unusual degree and at the same time meets the highest standards of ‘learned’ editorial practice—understood to include selection of high-quality material; compelling arrangement of contents; and skillful attention to style, visual appeal, and readability. The judges for this category are of one enthusiastic mind: the Spring 2004 issue of the Virginia Quarterly Review fulfills these criteria to the full and is eminently worthy of the Parnassus Award.”

Members of the judging panel observed that VQR is “extremely readable,” “handsome and lavish,” and “full of visual and editorial vitality.” The Spring 2004 issue is “a dazzling realization of the journal’s mission to be a ‘national journal of literature and discussion,’ an accomplishment made only more impressive by the distinguished history of achievement supporting it.”

In the words of the judges, the Spring 2004 issue features

“both words and images that will promote thoughtful discussion. The dispatches from Iraq and Afghanistan coupled with Michael Chabon’s fiction and ‘Escapist’ comic book rooted in World War II place issues of war and illusion center stage and clearly intertwine perspectives of fact and history with the power of literature to comment upon it. The poetry and fiction are outstanding. The visual art—again bringing global awareness to national discourse—is superb. Science and values enter the dialog in Edward Larson’s essay on ‘Debating Evolution in the Age of DNA,’ and the reviews and notes on recent books remind us that literature exists within a cultural context, in this issue including history, current events, literary studies, general nonfiction, science, philosophy, and religious studies… .

The inclusion of the review of Harold Bloom’s selection of the ‘Best Poems in the English Language’ and the concluding essay by Jahan Ramazani on his editing of the Norton Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Poetry call overt attention to the editorial process. As we conclude the reading of this issue with Ramazani’s perceptive and reflective explanation of his editorial process—complex, intelligent, and in many ways inspiring—we find ourselves admiring and appreciating not only Ramazani’s work, but the vision and achievements of [editor Ted] Genoways and the VQR editors.”

“We’re honored to receive this recognition from CELJ,” says Ted Genoways. “The award is a testament to the creativity and talent of our staff and authors. Receiving the Parnassus Award shows that the new VQR is continuing to honor the mission and legacy of the magazine as we enter our eighth decade.”

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