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Friday, November 10, 2017

Feeding the Ego

I have a book review to do. The person does not cite me (when he might have???). Although the book will get a good review from me, it will be with less relish. I don't think that he had to cite me, but he might have. I think, egotistically of course, that the kind of ideas that I develop, and that he might have cited, would have benefitted his approach and made his book smarter. It is a smart book in its own right, though, so I have to be fair. Ah well...

(Do you think a book on translations of modernism between US and Spain would cite me, or not?)

I also have a tenure case to do. The person does cite me favorably, and I am favorably inclined to his work. He not only cites me, but makes me sound smart in the process, giving enough of my own words to make me sound that way, and using my point to make another good point of his own. And he does it more than once. This is not the perfunctory, cover-your-bases citation that we perform so often, the citation that only shows that you are aware of the work, that people will expect you to cite it so you do.

What is even more gratifying, is that he cites something that I forgot I had written (not the book but the particular analysis of a poem).

Why should I even need these ego boosting events? Normally, we work long hours writing a book, or several books, and we only hear sporadically about whether anyone likes or appreciates them, or knows why they are good. The institution treats scholarship as items on the cv to be counted. Your colleagues know that you have published, but they work in different fields.

My personal non-academic friends don't read my scholarship. I had an interesting conversation once with some acquaintances, people I see often, in which we were talking about how much we read. At some point, I had to say: do you know what my profession is?

So yes, as far the adulation and ego boosting: bring it on!    

10 comments:

profacero said...

When I came up for tenure, I was not allowed to have anyone I had cited review my case, since that would taint objectivity, the rules were.

Jonathan said...

That's outrageous. You have to cite the scholars in your own field, and those should be your tenure reviewers as well.

el curioso impertinente said...

Sometimes I have the feeling that nobody reads anybody any more. So consider 1 out of 2 a win.

When I read an article these days, the impression I almost always have is that out of a possible 40, 50, 60 references, they've chosen the 10 most cited pieces (that are all on JStor). After all, you have to leave room in the bibliography for the de rigueur books of theory.

profacero said...

"You have to cite the scholars in your own field, and those should be your tenure reviewers as well." That applies to men only, I am afraid. Women have to have people who can be "objective" because their "friends" (people they cite) are not to be trusted. But then anyway, for us those outside letters aren't really considered, they're just there pro forma.

What the curioso impertinente says seems true. Another epiphenomenon of the bean-counting, and to be kept in mind. But it is so hard to make our library website work, people give up and go into JSTOR only; there are embargoes, too, on so many journals for 18 months, and if your institution doesn't subscribe and you don't make enough to travel regularly, and/or don't have enough friends in high places with time to get you texts, you kind of have to do these things.

el curioso impertinente said...

One of the problems is Rogers's conception of modernism, especially as it applies to Spain. I found his first book interesting but very partial and incomplete. I hope #2 is better, but I'm not holding my breath.

Jonathan said...

Yes. I am torn because it is interesting book but with serious problems as well. Ego aside

Jonathan said...

What do you think the problems were with first book? I skimmed it once but haven't read every chapter.

How serious of a mistake is it to say that Madrid is the capital of Castile, the "central province" of Spain? Or that Castile rose to prominence in the 1400's? (I thought it was already prominent in the period of Alfonso el Sabio.) The only two figures he deals with here (from Spain) are Unamuno and JRJ. I just don't think it's a representative sample of Spanish modernism, which really came into its own with poets younger than Jiménez. Really, there is a lot of cherry-picking going on, but I still learned many details from the book that were unknown to me, so there's that.

el curioso impertinente said...

Apparently, very similar ones to those you perceive in #2. In number 1, the vision of Modernism was very much based on Ortega, Marichalar--the Spanish version of the New Criterion, and all the other, competing, different, sometimes more radical versions or angles were hardly touched upon. So yes, good on what he does write about, combined with significant cherry-picking, about captures it.

Jonathan said...

Thanks. He barely mentions Ortega in the second book, so it seems like he wants to define modernism by whatever the object of comparison happens to be. It is a truly odd book. I don't want to be the defensive hispanist, but you can't just impose an anglo version of modernism on the Spanish speaking world without mentioning vanguardia.

el curioso impertinente said...

Exactly! Which then opens up a whole other can of worms...