[Milton-L] soliciting of reviews

Mario DiCesare dicesare1 at mindspring.com
Thu Dec 11 17:39:02 EST 2008


Dear Colleagues,

I agree with Hannibal Hamlin and John Leonard on this matter.

I would like to raise a related issue. When one -- let's say J.B. -- is asked to 
review a book, the request is presumably based on J.B.'s scholarly credentials. The 
review is J.B.'s work; he or she is willing to submit it for the judgement, 
agreement, criticism, whatever of those who read the review.

Under ordinary circumstances, it seems to me improper for the editor(s) who 
requested the review to review it themselves and revise it or even reject it. I can 
think of exceptions, but I doubt very much that routine reviewing of reviewers' work 
is sound or defensible policy.

Mario A. DiCesare




John Leonard wrote:
> I agree with Hannibal Hamlin.  It is a very bad practice to solicit 
> reviews.  Even if an abuse does not occur, the practice is open to abuse 
> and should be discouraged.  Hannibal is right to take a stand on this.
>  
> John Leonard
> 
>     ----- Original Message -----
>     *From:* Hannibal Hamlin <mailto:hamlin.hannibal at gmail.com>
>     *To:* John Milton Discussion List <mailto:milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
>     *Sent:* Thursday, December 11, 2008 2:36 PM
>     *Subject:* Re: [Milton-L] Book Reviewer sought: _Is Milton Better
>     thanShakespeare_?
> 
>     Dear Scott, and other Miltonists,
>      
>     No doubt this will stir up some dust, but may I raise a question
>     about scholarly reviewing?  Perhaps some of you attended the
>     interesting roundtable on scholarly reviewing at last year's RSA, at
>     which many practical and ethical issues were discussed.  One that
>     occurs to me in this context, especially since I am a Book Review
>     Editor myself, is whether it is a good idea to make an open call for
>     reviewers for a particular book.  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 don't mean to pick on
>     Scott either, since some journals openly list "books for review,"
>     and the Sixteenth Century Journal actually had a table of such books
>     at this year's SCSC, from which any passing scholar might make a
>     selection. 
>      
>     Thoughts?
>      
>     Hannibal
> 
> 
>      
>     On 12/11/08, *Scott Howard* <showard at du.edu <mailto:showard at du.edu>>
>     wrote:
> 
> 
>         Dear Colleagues,
> 
>         We are looking for someone to review Nigel Smith's _Is Milton
>         Better than Shakespeare?_ for Volume Two of APPOSITIONS: Studies
>         in Renaissance / Early Modern Literature & Culture, which will
>         be published in May, 2009.
> 
>         If you are interested, please be in touch soon.
> 
>         Appositions is an electronic, peer-reviewed, international
>         journal for studies in Renaissance/early modern literature and
>         culture.  ISSN forthcoming.
> 
>         Yours,
>         Scott Howard
> 
>         ///
> 
>         W. Scott Howard
>         Associate Professor
>         Director of Graduate Studies
>         Department of English
>         University of Denver
>         http://mysite.du.edu/~showard/
> 
>         ///
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> 
>         Milton-L web site: http://johnmilton.org/
> 
> 
> 
> 
>     -- 
>     Hannibal Hamlin
>     Associate Professor of English
>     The Ohio State University
>     Burkhardt Fellow,
>     The Folger Shakespeare Library
>     201 East Capitol Street SE
>     Washington, DC 20003
>     hamlin.22 at osu.edu/ <http://hamlin.22@osu.edu/>
>     hamlin.hannibal at gmail.com <mailto:hamlin.hannibal at gmail.com>
> 
>     ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> 
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-- 
Mario A. Di Cesare
Distinguished Professor (emeritus), SUNY
Founder & Director, Medieval & Renaissance Texts
      & Studies (MRTS) & Pegasus Paperbooks (1978-1996)
Director, Pegasus Press (1996-1998; 2002-2004)
Member, College for Seniors, University of North Carolina
      Center for Creative Retirement at UNC Asheville

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Fairview, NC 28730-8727
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