BUSINESS CARDS AND UNIONS1 TERRY CAESAR A stray thought while reading this fascinating collection of essays: how to explain the disappearance of Festschrift? Has this category of publication been driven out by the financial pressures faced by all academic publishers? (Nothing very compelling or sexy about a loosely conceived collection of essays.) Has the simple attempt of colleagues to honor a distinguished scholar been rendered somehow politically suspect (as if the scholar was some sort of "star")? Or has scholarship--just scholarship--now become a bankrupt ideal, a species of esoteric activity possible to engage in only by precious few at elite universities? Certainly, it is with good reason that in their introduction, the editors caution as follows: "Neither a Festschrift nor a tribute, this book uses Nelson's career as a focal point for a consideration of the politics of the academy" (3). If the first prospect would have been too narrow, the second might have been too embarrassing--never mind the imposing figure of Cary Nelson himself, who of course is still very much alive, as knowing about the profession as any man alive, and arguably less solicitous of any sort of personal celebration. Nonetheless, something very close to a
symploke – University of Nebraska Press
Published: May 18, 2011
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