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Re: Orphans, etc.
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- Date: Thu, 3 Nov 2011 19:25:22 EDT
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I said "hopefully temporary". I did not say "temporary"; and it was really an expression of hope, not the description of a factual situation. What I am also saying is that the present situation of American university presses should not guide the principles behind such presses. U. presses, since Johns Hopkins U. Press began, were subsidized by universities to disseminate works of learning, of cultural importance, but of limited (if any) commercial value. If pragmatic arguments are foregrounded in response to economic pressure, this simply means that the classical model of the university press is disappearing. The reality, of course, is more complex: press directors, at least some of them, try to save what they can of the principles while yielding somewhat to the pressure. I do feel for their plight, but the reality remains: university presses as they once were are fading in the United States, and this is a pity because this excellent model was designed there. Hopefully, the tradition will be preserved elsewhere and even spread in new countries. What is important is to maintain the model and the principles and see where it can be implemented. Incidentally, producing e-books only, because they cost less to produce, would relieve some of the economic pressure. Meanwhile orphan texts remain sterilized. Jean-Claude Guedon Le mercredi 02 novembre 2011 21:41 Sandy Thatcher wrote > Jean-Claude seems to think the financial constraints for > university presses constitute a "temporary" and perhaps just > acute condition. Rather, I'd say, the condition is chronic, and > i would remind him that university press administrators began > talking in terms of "crisis" way back in the early 1970s (in a > series of three articles that appeared in the Canadian J. of > Scholarly Publishing). Perhaps Canadian presses are more > generously supported by their universities than most U.S. > presses are. Anyway, the state of affairs to which Alex alluded > is not going to disappear anytime soon. And we can all hope > that the condition of the patient, while chronically ill, does > not turn out to be terminal! > > Sandy Thatcher > > > At 10:23 PM -0400 11/1/11, Jean-Claude Guedon wrote: >>I confess I am a little puzzled by Mr. Holzman's reaction. >> >>I am fully aware of the financial constraints under which >>university presses labour, and recognize the degree to which >>pragmatic imperatives may be imposing themselves a little too >>often. But one could still be "regretfully" pragmatic; one >>could still declare one's adherence to higher principles and >>justify adopting more practical strategies on particular, and >>hopefully temporary, situations. That, I would understand and I >>know many U. Presses are managed in precisely that spirit, for >>example at my university. But when I hear financial concerns >>expressed in such a way as to appear to trump everything else, >>I think it is time to point out the worrisome nature of such a >>behavioural compass. >> >>As for lacking civility, I suspect the moderator would have put >>a stop to my message, had it reflected such insensitivity. I >>simply referred to values other than financial that appeared >>important to me. And saying that print transformed documents >>into commodities is a well-known and widely accepted thesis >>among historians of printing. And, I should add, Joe >>Esposito's wit is indeed a welcomed relief. Sorry about Henry >>James, Joe... I simply did not know :-) >> >>-- >>Jean-Claude Guedon >>Professeur titulaire >>Litterature comparee >>Universite de Montreal
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