Novel Ideas: Modern Musings on the Long Nineteenth Century stands on the conviction that long-nineteenth-century studies, and, by extension, literary studies and the humanities in general, offer insightful and timely perspectives on current events and debates through the concept of “historical reciprocity”: the idea that the past informs the present just as much as the present informs the past via contemporary biases often channeled into modern interpretations of history. For coherent and consistent coverage, the blog is divided into two major sections – “Reason & Romanticism” and “Virtually Victorian” – each of which encompasses roughly half of the long nineteenth century. We seek to participate in and bolster interdisciplinary conversations both within and without scholarly and educational communities.
To this purpose, Novel Ideas promotes accessible writing. All posts use academic jargon and shorthand sparingly, but without sacrificing substance, precision, and creativity; clear explanations always accompany any specialized language for reader convenience. The designated Novel Ideas “publicist,” Sassy Jane (whose photo greets visitors on the home page), periodically conveys procedural updates, such as upcoming themes and guest contributors, on behalf of the blog’s editors. Novel Ideas also maintains a list of germane recommended resources to facilitate scholarly interconnectivity and independent inquiry.
Most importantly, Novel Ideas encourages, nay, thrives on conversation. As we reject academic insularity, all readers – from established professors to homegrown bibliophiles – should feel free to share thoughts and questions. This isn’t a forum for a small cabal of like-minded scholars; it’s for anyone who harbors an interest in the written word and the human experience. Faced with increasingly vigorous criticism, the humanities should not retreat into circular, elitist arguments, but should instead address and open up to the community at large. Novel Ideas provides an ideal way to blend this important service with specialized research, which too often takes precedence over the academic’s traditional role as a public intellectual.
To ensure constructive and convivial discourse, participants must adhere to standard netiquette guidelines. The editors reserve the right to modify or delete any responses that they deem to contain offensive, disrespectful, or vitriolic language, as well as any responses that veer disruptively off-topic. Lastly, we ask that responders keep to a reasonable length and proofread before uploading comments. We look forward to interacting with readers and expanding the conversation about the long nineteenth century!