Category Archives: theory

July 20, 2012, 4:27 pm

Do We Need To Write and Publish So Much Theory?

In addition to novels, I always bring a stack of scholarly books on our annual summer vacation. I bring books in my field, books not in my field, books in fields I might be ready to explore, books I might like to teach and books that I read so that I will be a better blogger.

I also bring books on vacation that are too long, or too complex, for me to be able to read in a sustained way when life is full of distraction and interruption. Sustained reading means finishing a difficult or lengthy book in a reasonable number of sittings — between one and three, or few enough to allow me to hold the parts of the argument in my head as I move toward the end.

It is in this spirit that I reached for a recently published book of theory — in my field, I was thinking of teaching it — and was disappointed within the first ten pages.  I’m not sure that it was fair for me to be disappointed,…

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August 10, 2007, 2:52 pm

Another Brick in The Wall

Well, the shrapnel has flown among the literary scholars in Shoreline, I guess. A young acquaintance forwarded Helena Echlin’s Letter from Yale, first published in Arete Magazine a few years back. Boy, and they say the blogosphere is mean. Doesn’t hold a candle to what editors will approve for publication. At least those of us who blog have a range of enemies who read us secretly and write nasty, anonymous comments that hold us accountable for our sarcasm; and friends who call to say gently, “Are you sure you want….?”

Not that I hold such a brief for the old alma mater, you understand (full disclosure: I took a B.A. in English there back in the New Criticism days and loved every second of it. Then went into a doctoral program in history.) One of the individuals named as a culprit for ruining Echlin’s desire to get a Ph.D. in English literature is an old classmate from those…

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