[Milton-L] soliciting of reviews
Peter C. Herman
herman2 at mail.sdsu.edu
Thu Dec 11 23:43:25 EST 2008
A confession: I declined to write a bad review of a book of essays so
abysmal that I initially thought the volume must be a parody. The
"editor," for example, according to the index, quoted himself no
fewer than 130 times, and one essay, after announcing that the
authors had nothing to say about the text in question, rewrote it as
if it were written by [____________] (to identify it further would
potentially reveal the identity). But while I thought long and hard
about spending 700 words describing the brainrot of this book, and
wondering in print just how it was that a reputable press could
publish such trash, I decided against it because, in my experience,
such a poisonous review, no matter how justified, always seems to
redound against the credibility of the reviewer. This is not to say
that I have not written negative reviews. I have. When I think there
is shoddy scholarship, I can and will say so. But there are some
books that are so preposterously awful that passing them over in
(embarrassed) silence is the best policy.
At 08:22 PM 12/11/2008, you wrote:
>The whole point of
> >reviewing is to distinguish the good from the bad. If "really bad books"
> >were always charitably "ignored," the only reviews printed would be
> >laudatory. .
>And shoddy scholarship would pass unremarked - but become 'sources'
>for others' work. It's like ignoring a bad apple in a bowl - it will
>infect the rest.
>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
>Milton-L mailing list
>Milton-L at lists.richmond.edu
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