[Milton-L] Book Reviewer sought: _Is Milton Better than Shakespeare_?

gilliaca at jmu.edu gilliaca at jmu.edu
Thu Dec 11 15:36:00 EST 2008


.One specific problem I see
>   is that such a call might attract someone with a
>   particular axe to grind, perhaps even a personal one
>   (whatever a "personal axe" is!), of which the review
>   editor may not be aware.  

I think this is an excellent question.  I'm not, nor have I been, an editor, but here's an analogy that might help the discussion.

I am a political junky and lover of newspapers.  I read a lot of op eds as well as house editorials.  Obviously, I  know where George Will is coming from, as I also did for the late, very lamented, Molly Ivans. 

But what if I had never heard of them and - let's let Molly write from Heaven! - and I had a column from each about Iraq, I could easily decide which was liberal and which conservative.

I read the WPost partly because of the range of op ed columnists [and they have 3 pages of comics!].

I also read the local paper, which is incredibly right-wing, and which also lets local people of NO national reputation and who are not professional writers do fairly substantial op ed pieces. And you know, it's easy to recognize the difference between the ones who carry a grudge from the ones who approach a topic from the same standpoint, but without the animus.

What I'm suggesting is that I would think bias or animus would be fairly easy to spot.  In my experience, even skilled writers express themselves differently when there is personal animus as well as, say, reasoned disagreement.  

Now if the personal ax is wielded not with cutting remarks [sorry - I couldn't resist] but by citing biased sources against the reviewee, or by repeating misleading or wrong information, that might be harder to spot.

I'll be interested to hear from those with more experience than I have.

C

.
Cynthia A. Gilliatt
English Department, JMU, ret.
JMU Safe Zones supporter
"You have made God in your own image when God hates the same people you hate." Fr. John Weston


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