Monday, August 5, 2013

How Phony or Simply Bad "Scholarship" Corrupts

Think of Barbara Frederickson being cited (of course favorably) 350 times at the last counting.
Think about all the Melville "scholars" who have published erroneous pieces which have entered into "general knowledge" or "received opinion" on topics.

Everyone knows that most presses have fired all the competent copy-editors, those older than 19. [I have in mind some remarkable exceptions to this.] How long since you read a historical novel set in the 19th century where the heroine does not hold a horse's reign in a storm during the rain of Queen Victoria while the heavens burst and rein floods down on her? Lord, you see references to "Queen Elizabeth I" in a book set in 1920!

Peer reviewing is a joke in the academic world as much as it is elsewhere.

Look at Robert Milder and Andrew Delbanco praising Robertson-Lorant for accuracy in her biography of Melville. They could have checked her quotations against the LOG or other published sources but the only way they could have tested accuracy thoroughly would have been to compare her transcriptions to actual manuscripts. Of course they did not check at all but merely endorsed.

Yes: peer reviewing is a joke in the academic world.

You NEVER get rid of the poison of error.

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