This editor's note appears in the Winter–Fall 2012 issue of Modern Age. To subscribe now, go here.
This issue of Modern Age—four issues actually—manifests a number of unusual features, all related to changes within the journal’s sponsor, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute—some permanent, some a one-time recourse of this particular occasion. The new aspects of this volume have been agreed upon after intense consultation among the editors and publisher, with the aim of continuing to fulfill the traditional mission of the journal. Modern Age will maintain its effort to provide readers with discussions of current matters of interest to educated men and women in the arts, humane letters, philosophy, politics, affairs of culture and society, and scientific issues of general concern; but circumstances have made advisable some changes in our mode of operating.
The consolidation of all four numbers of the 2012 volume between the covers of a single book is a strictly temporary measure. The radically altered economic and financial situation that swept across America late in 2008 and affected numerous nonprofit foundations required a reorganization of the internal structure of ISI, and this in turn made it difficult to publish Modern Age in a timely fashion on its quarterly schedule. This very large issue, representing all the numbers of the 2012 volume, followed by a double issue for the winter and spring numbers of 2013, will have the journal back on schedule by the middle of 2013. Thenceforth we shall adhere to strict quarterly publication, reserving double issues for rare special occasions and topics, as in the past.
Another change, however, will be permanent: the editorial stance of the Intercollegiate Review is to be reoriented toward the interests of the student members of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. As a result, the long-standing mission of this our sister journal—to serve as a forum for ISI’s faculty associates—will be assimilated by Modern Age. Many readers may notice little difference: for quite some time now we have been actively encouraging contributions from academics, especially younger academics, both as reviewers and essayists; and it is our hope that Modern Age will be the journal to which conservative scholars, young and old, turn for relief from the politically constrained and merely academic malaise of professional publication “in the field.” Readers with no particular affiliation in higher education should not be put off by this subtle realignment of the journal’s attention. Beleaguered conservative professors, increasingly alienated from a university world that has deliberately (with malice aforethought, one might say) alienated itself from the best traditions of Western civilization, are seeking precisely an escape into a realm where devotion to learning is not subverted by a radical political and social agenda. Modern Age seeks to be the meeting place of sound scholarship, sophisticated appreciation of higher culture, and the nurture of spirited inquiry and the life of the mind that is in the best sense of the word amateur.
There is far too much between these covers for me to essay a summary of its contents. Two pieces, however, and a projected third require notice. The year 2011 saw the passing away of three very distinguished conservative thinkers with long associations with Modern Age: Thomas Molnar, Marion Montgomery, and Peter Stanlis. We expect to publish a memorial to the late Professor Molnar in a subsequent issue, and Michael Jordan has offered a fine tribute to the memory of Marion Montgomery. My essay on Robert Frost in this issue is the best offering that I could conceive: to put the incisive argument of Peter’s final, superb book on Robert Frost, The Poet as Philosopher, to continuing use; for it is in their ideas that thinkers live on in this world. —RVY