[Milton-L] soliciting of reviews

James Rovira jamesrovira at gmail.com
Sun Dec 14 18:25:54 EST 2008

Well, yes, but I've been assuming all along that one would only be reviewing
in one's own field.  Most of those who solicit reviews ask for CVs, and ask
what fields you feel comfortable reviewing in.  There does come a point in
which time put in has to be considered for reviewing if your criteria is to
be meaningful, and I think you have implied this with some of your comments
about requiring senior scholars.  If publication in a field is the primary
criteria, grad students can and do publish, and some have their
dissertations published within one or two years of graduating.

I agree with you that one purpose of an academic review is to evaluate a
work in relationship to existing scholarship.  I think some responses to
this thread don't fully distinguish between reviewing for an academic
publication and for, say, the New York Review of Books or Atlantic Monthly.
The primary criteria for the evaluation of scholarship would be that one has
read and understood a great deal of scholarship in the field to which the
reviewed book contributes.  The more one has read the more qualified one
is.  Time has to be factor here.  So what would be your criteria?  Is a new
Ph.D. (within the last two years) who has just published his/her
dissertation on Milton competent to review a new book about Milton?  I know
a woman whose has been offered a book contract on her dissertation, which is
not yet complete.  It could conceivably be published within months of her
graduation.  Would you have her wait five years?  Ten?  Or is time not a
factor at all, just publications?

Jim R

On Sun, Dec 14, 2008 at 5:59 PM, Hannibal Hamlin
<hamlin.hannibal at gmail.com>wrote:

> I didn't mean to imply, Jim, that scholarly reviewers should be held to the
> same standard as Plato's philosopher king -- unripe until 60 -- just that
> they ought to be themselves published scholars in a relevant field.
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