An easier form of assessment would be to go back to your first
principle of what sells. If the academic (or non-academic, for that matter)
were selling, then that might be evidence of its quality. Good, sound,
relevant, intelligent discussion does attract attention. Of course a little
help from Charlie Rose doesn't hurt either. And that's where Bloom comes in.
His only problem is he can't fit in at that table any more.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Carrol Cox" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, January 02, 2006 7:20 AM
Subject: Re: OT - Plagiarism and Literary Criticism
> Peter Montgomery wrote:
> > All the more evidence of the breakdown of literary culture.
> > You appear to be cynical about publishers as I am about the academic
> I did not intend it either as cynicism or as evidence for any
> "breakdown." Publishers are capitalist enterprises, and have been so
> since their rise in the late 17th century. They publish what they think
> will sell, just as a maker of shirts sells what it thinks will sell. No
> big deal. And no breakdown because "breakdown" presumes a pre-breakdwon
> stage when things were different.
> As to academic essays (but more particularly, academic books) there are
> too damn many of them, not from any fault of the writers but because of
> the hiring/promoting practices of universities. Quality is probably
> pretty damn high -- but that fact is invisible if one merely
> cherry-picks bad examples from the huge flood of publications. In order
> to make any reasonable statement about the general quality you would
> have to make a random sample of about a thousand books, read them all
> carefully, and separate them into categories. You would then have to
> read a similar selection of works from 1975, 1950, 1925, 1900, etc. No
> one has done that or is going to do anything like it. Hence an general
> assessment of the "academic essay" as a category (whether that
> assessment is positive or negative) is sheer unfounded arrogance.
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