The parlor metaphor? Really? Isn’t that a little obvious? A little too pious?
Sure, it is appropriate: KB Journal is in effect the parlor of the Kenneth Burke Society, the place where the interminable discussion takes place. And it is newly refurbished. Thanks to the painstaking work of Dave Blakesley, the site is everything you’d want in a parlor: it’s inviting, warm, tastefully appointed and productively arranged. Still, a reference to the parlor metaphor on the occasion of the site’s re-launch? Isn’t that a bit clichéd? You’re not likely to inspire much confidence as the incoming editors if that’s the best you can do.
Perhaps. But there are particular passages of the parlor metaphor that seem appropriate to the beginning of our editorship:
When you arrive, others have long preceded you…. In fact, the discussion had already begun long before any of them got there, so that no one present is qualified to retrace for you all the steps that had gone before.
Those first words capture our feeling as we begin to edit KB Journal. We know that others—perhaps most of the readers of this journal—have long preceded us as Burkologists, and that knowledge makes us humble. We also have some big shoes to fill. Andrew King has done a marvelous job editing the journal for the past few years, so we have a lot to live up to. Special issue 8.1 is no exception. We ourselves do have some accomplishments in Burke studies: Nathaniel, along with Ryan Weber (our new book editor) published Literature as Equipment for Living: The Literary Reviews of Kenneth Burke. They are also past winners of the Emerging Burke Scholars award. For his part, Paul has published in the journal before. Yet we know that we come to this work as students of Burke rather than experts. And we are comforted by the idea that, in this conversation, no one present is qualified to retrace all the steps of Burkology. We are all students of Burke, though some of us arrived a shorter time ago.
Our endeavor, then, is to be the most welcoming hosts we can be. We invite work on any aspect of Burke’s work and in nearly any form. Moreover, an online presence allows us to cast the net even more widely. We seek to publish work not only in text form, but also in audio and video form. In fact, we plan on publishing multimedia work in our first issue in Fall 2012. We also hope for work that extends the range of Burkean scholarship. As our new mission statement suggests:
KB Journal takes as its mission the exploration of what it means to be "Burkean." To this end, KB Journal publishes original scholarship that addresses, applies, extends, repurposes, or challenges the writings of Kenneth Burke, which include but are not limited to the major books and hundreds of articles by Burke, as well as the growing corpus of research material about Burke. It provides an outlet for integrating and critiquing the gamut of Burkean studies in communication, composition, English, gender, literature, philosophy, psychology, sociology, and technical writing. In light of this, Kenneth Burke need not be the sole focus of a submission, but Burke should be integral to the structure of the argument.