A Short History (Reflections on Arden in its 13th Year)

The idea of Arden occurred in the fall of 1998.  The original vision was very simple, a journal of creative writings and visual art. I asked around and the learned of The Spectrum, an earlier literary magazine on campus from the 1980s and used that as a precedent. Dr. Noreen Lape agreed to be the sponsor and recommended a list of approvals and permissions I needed for an on-campus publication. The list looked like a who’s-who of the current campus administration. They all approved and, with the support of the English department, this project was born.

The name of the journal came from a Shakespeare class I was taking at the time. The naming of the journal proved to be a great challenge; no idea seemed to fit. Then while reading As You Like It, we talked about Northrop Frye’s idea of the “green world.” This world was an unruly place that erases all of the conflicts made by the rules of society. In the play, the Forest of Arden served as the setting for this world. I thought the name fit the vision I had for the journal as a great equalizer — professors and students submitting and publishing work on an equal field.

Thumbing through the last 12 issues, I see many outstanding aspects of what Arden has become. I admire the aesthetics and the quality of the work. Then I open to the table of contents for each one and read the names. That’s where I find that which I admire the most. I read the names of people who have sought the outlet that I always hoped this little journal would one day become. I see the names of students directly above those of professors, equals on the page. I see the names of colleagues, the names of classmates, even the names of former students. I see the names of some of this town’s best English teachers and the names of those who have left to pursue greatness elsewhere. All of these contributors chose to share their voice through the pages of Arden, and to all of them, I am grateful. The journal has become the wonderful representation it is today because of the hard work of every editor, every adviser, and every member of the English Department, past and present. To all of them, likewise, I am grateful.

John Kocian,

First Editor-in-Chief

Published in Arden  2011



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