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Scholarly Journal Published at Holy Cross Receives Parnassus Award

'Interfaces' co-edited by English professor Maurice Géracht for past decade
January 21st, 2011 by 

The Council of Editors of Learned Journals, an allied organization of the Modern Language Association, has awarded “Interfaces,” a bilingual illustrated journal co-edited by a Holy Cross professor, with the Parnassus Award for Significant Editorial Achievement.

The award is only given every three years.

Maurice Géracht has served as co-editor of the French-English journal “Interfaces” since 2000, and has been involved with the publication since it was founded in 1990 by the late Michel Baridon, professor emeritus of the University of Burgundy, professor of the gardens at l’Ecole du Louvre, and at the Versailles National School of Landscape Architecture. “Interfaces” earned the imprimatur of the National Center for Scientific Research in 1995. It is now published jointly by Holy Cross and the Université Paris Diderot. Frédéric Ogée, professor of English literature at Université Paris Diderot, is the other editor of the journal.

The Parnassus Award is based on a single issue of a journal published within the previous three years, and organizers emphasize that it recognizes “significant realization of editorial mission” and the highest standards of editorial practice, including high-quality content, compelling arrangement of contents, style, visual appeal and readability.

Géracht accepted his award at the Modern Language Association Convention in Los Angeles on Jan. 8.

“The CELJ Parnassus Award for Significant Editorial Achievement is assessment and recognition by peer editors; it is therefore at once humbling, satisfying, affirming and energizing,” says Geracht. “I must say I was stunned when I first received the news. It is certainly a signal that we are doing something right, that we are doing something special, and that we can, and that we must push ahead to do much more.

“In the letter announcing the award, and at the ceremony, “Interfaces” was praised for the high quality of its content and scholarship, the readability of both its French and English contributions. Noted as well was ‘the amount of editorial care and detail in assembling the scholarship, the art, and the prose that form each issue.’ I was pleased about that last point. For me, good criticism and scholarship and belles-lettres are not mutually exclusive.”

The Stephen J. Prior Professor of Humanities in the English department, Géracht earned his doctorate from the University of Wisconsin. Fluent in French, he was born and raised in Paris and moved to America as an adolescent. He has been teaching in the Holy Cross English department since 1966.

“Interfaces” focuses on the dividing line — the “interface” — between language and the image, two means of expression different and yet inseparable. This interface was displaced when the cinema made the image move, then speak, thus making time its medium and creating a new type of discourse. But the old interface between language and the static image still remains and its power is enhanced by modern technology.

Two issues are published per year, centered on a theme or author with full bibliography. “Interfaces” is innovative as it contains a CD which allows it to include as many images as its contributors have rights to publish, as well as film frames, and, as in a recent issue, a 20 minute original video. More, “Interfaces” also includes in every copy of every issue an original signed and numbered work of art (e.g., lithograph, photograph, etching) appropriate to the theme of the volume. Some of the art offerings have been by famous international artists, including Arakawa, Calum Colvin, Dara Gellman, and print maker Michael Phillips, who created several fascimiles from Blake’s “Songs of Innocence and Experience.” Others have national or more local reputations. All are very collectible. “Interfaces” is printed by the Graphic Arts department at Holy Cross.

Many staff members at Holy Cross share in the award, says Géracht. They include: Mary Morrisard-Larkin, CD designer (director of Educational Technology); Sharon D. Matys, layout designer (desktop publishing, Graphic Arts); Margaret Nelson, cover designer (academic computing support specialist, Educational Technology); and Pamela Reponen, copy editor (assistant editor, Holy Cross Magazine).

Numerous faculty members serve as advisory editors, including John Cull, professor of Spanish; James Kee, professor of English; Ambroise Kom, professor of French; Richard Matlak, director of the Center for Interdisciplinary and Special Studies and professor of English; Stephen Vineberg, professor of theatre; Helen M. Whall, professor of English; and Rev. Thomas Worcester, S.J., professor of history.

Photography by John Buckingham

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