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I am posting this as a benchmark, not because I think I'm playing very well yet.  The idea would be post a video every month for a ye...

Sunday, December 6, 2009

You Only Know How to Write Books

"You only know how to write your books." "Is poetry the only thing you study?"

I've heard those words before. Here's the thing. Research is specialized by its very nature, and even projects that attempt to appeal to slightly wider scholarly audiences, like my recent book on Lorca in the US, are the product of very intense specialization. You can define a generalist, in the sense of knowing a little about a lot of things, but the narrow specialist probably is as good a generalist as you are. I haven't known people intensely specializing in some small aspect of something who weren't also possessors of a wide general knowledge. I'll explain why in another post.

As far as only being a good researcher, and not good at other aspects of academic life... My suggestion is that you do everything well, but excel in research. Think about that word "only." Favre "only" knows how to throw a football. Is that all? What is his cello playing like?

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