THE AUTHOR'S JOURNAL
The Journal began with a projected four issues. Two have been published, and the final two are in process. Publishing schedule is ad hoc.
We are still accepting submissions on all themes, as a book is also in the works.
The Life of Beasts
The Life of Trees
The Life of Books
The Life of Integrity
The Purpose of
This journal exists to serve the literary needs of a certain underserved English-reading population: those who love and delight in traditional language and literature, and whose vocabulary, syntax, and tastes are more expansive than strictly contemporary literacy could have produced. This population may include, but is not necessarily limited to, gifted readers and writers, homeschooled and self-educated people, traditionally religious people, and those educated or brought up in historical and traditional cultures.
Our editorial ethos can be summed up as follows:
First, consider that provoking contemplation is what art does. Good art skillfully provokes contemplation of goodness. We do not publish literary works that provoke contemplation of evil. Another way to put this is that the best literature is that which is most enjoyable to the highest number of the most virtuous people.
Although we publish works in Literary English, we are skeptical of literary developments in the past century or so; they seem grounded in a contempt, which we do not share, for ordinary human nature and its values.
We seek to publish the following:
Works in Literary English (ennobling the mind)
Works using language in traditional ways (clarifying the thoughts)
Works of high inventive and imaginative power (delighting the soul)
Works of moral beauty (consoling the pure in heart)
This latter, not generally considered a literary or artistic matter, deserves some further explanation.
What we mean by moral beauty is not an attitude of rule-following. Rather, we regard the moral capacity of human beings as encompassing the following:
everything about us by which we prefer one thing over another as "better"
everything about us by which we seek the better in despite of the worse
everything about us by which we feel that we "ought" to do so
While moral teaching may be the purview of teachers, and moral correction the purview of officers and parents, there is an aspect to human morality which cannot be treated anywhere else than in art - and that is the aspect of moral preference. Moral preference is a heart-felt response toward the beauty of goodness. It is the ability to enjoy what is good, and not merely to feel duty toward it.
That goodness is beautiful in itself is above dispute by all who are uncorrupted. That art is primarily concerned with aesthetic virtue, rather than other kinds, is the general witness of the ages.
What work of man, then, should engage us in the appreciation of goodness as beautiful (and not just as necessary or required) if art does not?
Readers may wonder: what is our standard of goodness and moral beauty? While we do not subscribe, as an institution or a publication, to any particular religious creed, we practice editorial preference for a basic human morality witnessed in general by the traditional religions of the world, as described in C. S. Lewis' essay 'The Abolition of Man.'
A strange thing happens, in our observation, when language is used to express untruth, or when literary art is bent to the service of moral corruption or ugliness. Its aesthetic value decreases; its literary value declines. This observation can hardly be surprising when we recall that language grew up, not as an isolated tradition, but inextricably involved with all the other traditions that inform healthy cultures - food, religion, family, courtship, learning, king and court, warfare, ethical philosophy, and more. Thus, to use language untraditionally is to force it, to ravage it, and to twist it out of grace.
In our view, contemporary art (literary and otherwise) has commonly been so corrupted, and consequently become so ugly and unmeaning, that art theorists have been forced to forsake beauty in order to continue accepting it as art.
This is hardly a new thought, but it is not one that is habitually expressed by anyone who wishes to maintain stature and legitimacy in the literary and artistic worlds. Here, the Academy of Inventive Literature aims at defiance.
To sum up, we do not believe that language can be really well-used - artistically, literarily, or otherwise - unless it is oriented toward truth, beauty, and goodness. Therefore, our determination to publish morally beautiful works of literary quality reflects, not a religious position per se, but rather a position regarding the questions of linguistic philosophy.
Religion, then, does not provide the reason or cause for what we are doing. Instead, it acts as a witness to the critical processes of an essentially literary activity.
Where it is not clear what the traditional position might be on any contemporary ethical or moral question, the editors reserve the right to publish poetry, essays, and stories reflecting traditionally-informed questioning and a diversity of opinion and belief, within what those editors consider the bounds of traditional possibilities.
To trace this thought yet further back: Tradition is meant to be a sifting process whereby only the best, most practical, and noblest practices and beliefs are preserved. It is as much a collection of practices as a collection of beliefs. It is an expression of piety, not only religious, but familial and cultural as well.
The history of the English language, with the tradition of its best literature, is the object of such piety as we here at the Academy of Inventive Literature feel and practice in common, and wish to express in our publication.
We are open to publishing authors of various backgrounds and convictions. We simply ask that those authors tailor their writing, when submitting to this journal, to our specific reading public.
Similarly, we encourage writers who are capable of writing in ways that might not be acceptable to the average writing professor or journal editor, and which are informed by wide reading outside the merely contemporary canon or catalogue, to submit such writing. We are interested in helping along the development and careers of such writers.