Many thanks to the website Romantic Circles Reviews and Receptions for inviting me to guest post to their blog about my Rock and Romanticism titles, and many thanks to Suzanne Barnett for inviting me to do so.
Some updates on recent publishing projects of mine for those who are following such things…
Reading as Democracy in Crisis: Interpretation, Theory, History has gone through proof editing, the cover copy has been approved, and it is now waiting for one more round of proofs, probably this week, before it goes into print. We’re close. More about this exciting project later, which promises to contribute new insights not just into literary theory, but into why we develop theories of reading literature and other cultural texts to begin with.
Writing for College and Beyond, my first year writing textbook, has also just gone through the proof copy stage and its cover has been approved. Email me at jamesrovira(at)gmail(dot)com if you’d like a review copy of this book. I can send uncorrected electronic proofs now and should be able to send print copies out in about a month or so. It emphasizes all of the ways that the usual tasks assigned in first year writing classes — summary, synthesis, analysis, and argument writing — all have their counterparts in business and professional writing, so that students understand why they’re doing this work. It has a lot of built-in support for working professionals, first generation, and rural students as well, providing carefully explained, step by step instruction in all of the basic tasks common to most college writing.
My next two anthologies, Women in Rock/Women in Romanticism and David Bowie and Romanticism have had proposals sent to the publisher. These have shaped up well and I hope to have a first manuscript draft out by the end of his summer.
I’m pleased to announce that Reading as Democracy in Crisis: Interpretation, Theory, History was made available for purchase by Lexington Books, the academic imprint of Rowman & Littlefield, in April of 2019. The featured image above by photographer Rebekah Rovira is the full image used for the cover — you can view actual cover on this post. Many thanks to the contributors who stuck with this project for so long. Chapters include:
— by James Rovira
1. Democracy as Context for Theory: Plato and Derrida as Readers of Socrates
— by James Rovira
2. Historian, Forgive Us: Study of the Past as Hegel’s Methodology of Faith
— by Aglaia Maretta Venters
3. Karl Marx: The End of the Enlightenment
— by Eric Hood
4. Ludwig Wittgenstein: Toward a Dialectical Pragmatism
— by Steve Wexler
5. Robert Penn Warren: Poetry, Racism, and the Burden of History
— by Cassandra Falke
6. Louise Rosenblatt: The Reader, Democracy, and the Ethics of Reading
— by Meredith N. Sinclair
7. Aesthetic Theory: From Adorno to Cultural History
— by Philip Goldstein
8. Judith Butler: A Livable Life
— by Darcie Rives-East
9. Networking the Great Outdoors: Object-Oriented Ontology and the Digital Humanities
— by Roger Whitson
I’m posting this to give readers a general sense of what scholars do when they write for publication — specifically, the amount of reading and work involved. I’m not particularly exceptional in this area. I have friends who read faster and more than I do. The reading load I describe below constitutes a partial list of reading that I did for an introduction to and chapter of an edited anthology I’m working on. My chapter was on Plato and Derrida, and over the Spring 2018 semester and into a bit of the summer (maybe the third week of June), I did the following reading just for the Derrida part of my chapter, which makes up about 16 pages of a 32 page chapter. This reading also added about two to three paragraphs to my introduction.
- Webpages: 4 (maybe 30 pages of text)
- Articles: 41 (about 800 pages of text)
- Books: 7 (about 2100 pages of text)
- Book chapters: 2 (about 180 pages of text, and yes, one of them was about 150 pages)
I was tempted to list everything individually with page counts next to it, but I’m not any more up to posting that than you are up to reading it.
So I did a total of about 3000 pages of reading to write just under 20 pages of text, or I had to read about 150 pages of text for every one page of text that I wrote. This number is consistent with my experience writing my dissertation. My committee asked me to add about one paragraph covering a scholarly conversation in one area, and I found that I had to read over 100 pages just to add that one paragraph. I didn’t feel like I’d read that much.
Now I did this work over the Spring 2018 semester serving as department chair and teaching a four course load (which means reading for that — course materials and then grading). I was not working in a research position in which I only had to teach one class, and for all that reading, I still feel like I didn’t do enough.
I have not yet discussed the time I spent writing. Almost every time I would sit down to write, I would reread what I had written. If I write every day for three weeks, that means I read a document that started at 12 pages (my Plato section), went up to 15, then 20, then 25, then 30, then finished at 32, re-reading the entire draft as I had finished up (to that point) almost every time before I started writing again. So we’re talking about re-reading an average of probably 20 pages of text over a dozen times.
Not only that, I have some friends who read my work and provide feedback (thank you, you great people), so when they send me back my chapter with comments, I carefully go through their comments, revise my chapter, and then reread it again.
Again, I’m not particularly exceptional and do not have the reading load of research faculty. Your professors work hard in ways most of us haven’t tried to work. Respect that work.