You are on page 1of 1

Hortulus: The Online Graduate Journal of Medieval Studies

Dear Readers,

Vol. 2, No. 1, 2006

In Italo Calvino’s short story “Henry Ford,” the famous industrialist states that technology should be used to simplify our lives so we have the time to enjoy nature.1 As I compose this letter and various emails from a grassy hill in Central Park in the heart of New York City, I can’t help but appreciate that sentiment. My laptop has permitted a substantial office upgrade: instead of four walls, rows of elms and beeches provide a graceful border, and I now have the best lighting system in the world. Birdsong and a cool breeze gentle the sun’s heat as I organize the final stages of this issue’s publication. My satisfaction with the locale is enhanced by the expediency of instant communication. The virtual connectivity provided by the platform of cyberspace is the determining factor of Hortulus’s existence. Although few of our staff live in proximity to each other and our writers hail from diverse universities, we can communicate and collaborate across the greatest, or the smallest, of distances. As Thomas L. Friedman writes in his recent history of the twenty-first century, our intellectual capital can be “disaggregated, delivered, distributed, produced, and put back together again” in a unique way that gives us a whole new freedom in the way we do work.2 Outsourcing, homesourcing, or, in my case, parksourcing, is steadily becoming the dominant trend in global data transactions. My executive summer suite bears witness to this technological triumph. Hortulus is rooted in this intersection of the convenience of electronic networking and new methods of perceiving and processing information, both of which are especially beneficial to the realm of education. The availability, speed, and openness of information on the Internet permit associations and interpretations of data heretofore unheard of. We try to incorporate the qualities of convergence and connectivity into each article by providing links to relevant web sites, as well as “Respond” buttons that allow you to provide feedback and create your own interface with the authors and their work. Of course the Internet offers many possibilities for expansion along these lines, and we look forward to utilizing more ground in cyberspace’s virtual garden with issue #3. The Internet is an extraordinary synthesis of heterogeneous constructs, from its fledgling existence as the government-sponsored ARPANet to its current efflorescence of millions of privately created pages of information. Our first essay contest featuring the topic of hybridity hearkens to that theme. In the Current Issue section you will find a selection of interesting articles on various blendings in philosophy, literature, religion, and science. The Lighter Fare section lives up to its name with a trip to the medieval kitchen as well as a collection of pieces on one of our favorite subjects, books. So with the unique applications and forms of exchange made available by cyberspace, the question is not whether it is worthwhile to go online, but from where would you like to go online? Hortulus can be enjoyed anywhere you can bring your connection and computer (or PDA, cell phone, etc.), but of course I recommend, like Calvino’s character Henry Ford, taking your equipment outdoors. You might be surprised at how pleasantly productive that can be; my afternoon has certainly been both. I wish you a constructive (and relaxing) summer, and I hope this little garden becomes a part of yours. Hayley Weiner Editor in Chief

Notes 1. See the collection of Italo Calvino’s short stories, Numbers in the Dark, trans. Tim Parks (New York: Vintage, 1996), p. 238. 2. Thomas L. Friedman, The World is Flat (New York: Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux, 2005), p. 7.

Hortulus: The Online Graduate Journal of Medieval Studies

Vol. 2, No. 1, 2006