Book Matters : The Changing Nature of Literacy book cover
1st Edition

Book Matters
The Changing Nature of Literacy

ISBN 9781412865029
Published October 30, 2016 by Routledge
282 Pages

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Book Description

Scholars have been puzzling over the "future of the book" since Marshall McLuhan's famous maxim "the medium is the message" in the early 1950s. McLuhan famously argued that electronic media was creating a global village in which books would become obsolete. Such views were ahead of their time, but today they are all too relevant as declining sales, even among classic texts, have become a serious matter in academic publishing. Does anyone still read long and complex works, either from the past or the present? Is the role of a professional reader and reviewer of manuscripts still relevant? Book Matters closely analyses these questions and others. Alan Sica surmises that the concentration span required for studying and discussing complex texts has slipped away, as undergraduate classes are becoming inundated by shorter, easier-to-teach scholarly and literary works. He considers such matters in part from the point of view of a former editor of scholarly journals. In an engaging style, he gives readers succinct analyses of books and ideas that once held the interest of millions of discerning readers, such as Simone de Beavoir's Second Sex and the works of David Graham Phillips and C. Wright Mills, among others. Book Matters is not a nostalgic cry for lost ideas, but instead a stark reminder of just how aware and analytically illuminating certain scholars were prior to the Internet, and how endangered the book is in this era of pixelated communication.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Distractions from the Printed Word

Printed Books and Electronic Gear
Connecting Past and Present
Virtuoso Reading

Part One. The Art of Reading and Reviewing

1. Speaking One's Mind
Being Unafraid
Nice Nellyism Triumphant
"Teasing Out" the "Richly Embedded Nuance"
Overseeing a Book Review Journal

2. For the (Printed) Book
Defining the Academic Library
Saving the Scholarly Book
Reviewing Books Online
Real Ink on Real Paper
Globalized Book Publishing

3. Expressing Oneself
A New Categorical Imperative
Friends and Acquaintances
Pigeonholes of Content
Another Note about Categories
Behind the Scenes: What and Who Counts
Looking Back to Understand the Future

Part Two. Past Masters Reconsidered

4. Origin of the Public Sphere: Addison and Steele

5. The Masses Meet Social Science: Everyman and The Modern Library

6. Noble Muckraking: David Graham Phillips

7. Integrated Scholarship: Booker T. Washington, Robert E. Park, and W. E. B. Du Bois

8. The Textbook that Codified a School: Robert Park and Ernest Burgess

9. The Maddening University: Upton Sinclair and Ben Ginsberg

10. The Journalist as Social Scientist: Walter Lippmann

11. Facing the Irrational Fearlessly: Vilfredo Pareto

12. The Necessary Big Picture: Lewis Mumford

13. Unsurpassable Greatness: Max Weber

14. Founding Feminism for Intellectuals: Simone de Beauvoir

15. Micro Meets Macro: Hans Gerth and C. Wright Mills

16. Sociological Psychiatry: Harry Stack Sullivan

17. Post-war America Defined Again: Max Lerner

18. When Theory Tipped the Scales: Talcott Parsons and Associates

19. "Living Theory"?: A Pedagogical Debate

20. Virtuoso Reviewing Today: Andrew Abbott

Coda: Tribute to Irving Louis Horowitz



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