Tamesis and the Thames

Guest post by Stephen M. Hart who joined UCL in 1998 and was invited to take up the post of General Editor of Tamesis the following year. He is UCL’s representative for the UK-China Alliance for the Humanities in Higher Education, and currently the Xiaoxiang Distinguished Professor at Hunan Normal University, Changsha, China. 

It began, like all good ideas, in the back of a London black cab, in November 1963. Professor John Varey had just heard about the substantial funding he had been awarded by the Leverhulme Trust to support a project on Fuentes para la Historia del Teatro. But, a point raised by Professor Alan Deyermond, where would they publish the results?

By the time John and Alan were dropped off in Malet Street the solution had floated to the surface. They would set up their own publishing company. On their way to the Senate House from the leafy suburbs of Hampstead where Westfield College nestled they had passed alongside the Thames, and so the name of their invention was obvious: Tamesis (which is the Latin name for “Thames”). The early days were heady and full of excitement. The idea was that Tamesis would put UK Hispanism on the map, and focus not only on the Fuentes but also on publishing the research of UK colleagues (hence the addition of the Monografias) as well as new editions of recently-discovered manuscripts (the Textos series) and more run-of-the-mill but also necessary fare (i.e. Research Bibliographies). UK Hispanists were only too happy to send in their proposals. Their manuscripts were sent off to the printing press more efficiently than was the order of the day. Colleagues in the United States and Spain soon joined in the fray. In order to enhance the international reach of Tamesis the decision was taken to publish the books in English, Spanish, Catalan or Portuguese, depending on the author’s preference. This decision created a lot of goodwill in the areas of the world where these languages were spoken and led to a number of co-sponsored publication projects.

By 1998, though, it was clear that Tamesis needed to diversify if it was going to survive in the more competitive world of the fin-de-siècle, so a new Companion Series was set up. A new generation of Hispanists were commissioned to write lively, readable and intellectually solid introductions to the best literary writers of Iberia and Latin America, from Cervantes to García Lorca and García Márquez. This popularizing strategy was expanded with the subsequent creation of a new series focussing not only on literary writers but including individuals from Iberia and Latin America who have made or are making a quantifiable difference in the world, from kings and queens to explorers, entertainers and sports celebrities, that is, Icons of the Luso-Hispanic World.

This was followed by a set of new series that focus on the analysis of world-wide trends in scholarship in the twenty-first century, such as Violence in the Hispanic and Lusophone Worlds and Tamesis Studies in Popular and Digital Cultures. Tamesis is alive to international research trends in the modern-day Luso-Hispanic World and continues to welcome book proposals in these fields but it is also committed to keeping alive its rooted interests: we are delighted to announce that Professor Jonathan Thacker, King Alfonso XIII Professor of Spanish Studies and Fellow of Exeter College, Oxford, has generously agreed to take on the directorship of the newly re-launched Fuentes para la Historia del Teatro series for Tamesis.  

STEPHEN M. HART is the General Editor of Tamesis and author of the following books: Philip IV and the World of Spain’s Rey Planeta, Gender Violence in Twenty-First-Century Latin American Women’s Writing, Latin American Popular Culture and César Vallejo.

Do not hesitate to get in touch with our Editor Dr Megan Milan if you are researching aspects of Hispanic and Lusophone history and culture, and would like to publish with us.

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