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Thursday, May 1, 2003

Acclaimed Literature/Film Journal Celebrates Three Decades

SALISBURY, MD--- On Thursday, May 1, Salisbury University celebrates the 30th anniversary of one of the most respected film journals in the United States, Literature/Film Quarterly.

To be honored are its founders and editors, Dr. James Welsh and Dr. Thomas Erskine of the English Department, and business manager Anne Welsh.

The idea for the journal was sparked in Erskine by Gerald Barrett, a colleague at the University of Delaware in the early 1970s. Barrett had interested Erskine in the adaptation of literary works to film, and the pair had subsequently co-authored three books on the subject.

Shortly after Erskine came to what was Salisbury State College in 1972, he hired Welsh, and the two, along with Barrett, began dreaming of producing a publication that would showcase their love for movies and adaptations. Erskine compared that dream to some of the movies themselves.

"It was like when Mickey Rooney would say to Judy Garland, 'Hey, let's start a band,'" he said. "We said, 'Hey, we should put out a journal.'"

The publication began at a time when universities nationwide were beginning to boost film programs, and huge information databases such as the Internet were still decades away.

"It was a good time for print journals to get started," said Erskine. "You have to be there when the interest is peaking. We were lucky."

Originally subsidized by the University in 1973, the journal was holding its own financially after just two years. Welsh became editor about that time and the publication continued to flourish.

According to the Rev. Gene D. Phillips of Chicago's Loyola University and a contributor to Literature/Film Quarterly, the new venture put SU on the map in the film studies world.

"The journal has steadily become very respected," he said. "I find the magazine extraordinarily interesting."

Towson University electronic media and film professor Peter Lev said Welsh and his wife, Anne, have been crucial to its success.

"Literature/Film Quarterly has for more than 30 years sustained a community of scholars devoted to the humanistic study of literature and film," he said. "I consider Jim a mentor and a friend. His great gift is an ability to bring scholars together in fruitful ways. Salisbury University should be very proud of Jim and Anne Welsh."

Throughout its history, Literature/Film Quarterly has provided each new generation of SU graduate and undergraduate students opportunities to learn about film studies and journal publishing through internships in its office.

Literature/Film Quarterly editor and proofreader Brenda Grodzicki earned her Bachelor and Master of Arts in English from SU. "I think the University is lucky to have Anne and Jim. They're wonderful to work for. And their publication is remarkable on many levels, certainly educationally, but also as a marketing tool for Salisbury University's name."

With issues featuring scholars from around the world, the Quarterly has drawn both national and international interest and can be found in libraries at Harvard, Yale, UCLA and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, among others. In all, circulation includes more than 30 countries.

Welsh's experiences have allowed him to rub elbows with his fair share of celebrities - from Jimmy Stewart to Rita Hayworth to Francis Ford Coppola. However, the scholar said meeting those stars brought him no particular excitement.

"The prestige comes not from rubbing elbows with movie stars and actors, but from earning the respect of other people in the film studies field," he said.

For more information call 410-677-5357 or visit the University's Web site at www.salisbury.edu.


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