Catalogue


The art of literary research /
Richard D. Altick and John J. Fenstermaker.
edition
4th ed.
imprint
New York : W.W. Norton & Co., c1993.
description
xii, [2], 353 p. ; 22 cm.
ISBN
0393962407
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
added author
imprint
New York : W.W. Norton & Co., c1993.
isbn
0393962407
catalogue key
2068936
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1993-10:
Altick and Fenstermaker's standard work combines investigative, even forensic, zeal with a love of reading to produce good advice and timely admonition for all students of literature, not just those working in text editing, bibliography, biography, and source, reputation, or influence studies. In this new edition, old Chapter 4, "The Task," is gone; bibliographies and exercises have been updated and reorganized; and the text has been augmented to include more discussion of the scholarly use of computers. Although the authors claim "to align historically oriented literary scholarship with the latest trends in theory and criticism," they provide little evidence of having contended with such trends. For example, their sense of cultural history is unproblematized by questions of race, class, or gender, by distinctions of popular and high culture, and by the thought that, like reputation, the "esthetic," too, might be ideologically conditioned. Similarly, the minatory specter of Derrida goes unnoticed when they talk about meaning and intentionality. Recommended for all academic libraries, whose parent institutions would be better places if the authors' standards of intellectual rigor, self-criticism, and professional good manners prevailed. R. H. Kieft; Haverford College
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, October 1993
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Summaries
Main Description
For interested readers who have other vocational plans, its authors-experienced researchers themselves-provide an intimate view of the way professional scholars go about their specialized and challenging tasks. This extensively revised Fourth Edition takes full account of recent developments that have virtually revolutionized certain important areas of the discipline. The computer, as newly written pages demonstrate, not only has eliminated much of the drudgery formerly associated with the gathering, storage, and retrieval of raw data but has made possible many analytical and lexical operations that had been beyond human capacity, yet without diminishing the amount of sheer brain work still required to produce a genuine contribution to knowledge. The book also suggests that "traditional" literary studies, freshly evaluated, are compatible with the current emphasis on critical theory, not inimical to it. The ongoing revision of the literary canon under the impact of women's studies, African-American studies, and other movements, as well as the intensified scholarly and critical interest in present-day writers, is reflected in the book's hundreds of illustrative examples, extensive lists of several related books and articles, and hands-on exercises. The exercises range from the simple, short answer type that offer practice in the use of secondary materials such as can be found in any college library, to projects that may occupy a number of weeks of research in primary sources and are geared to the extensive holdings of large university libraries. The basic rationale and structure of the book, having proved themselves in previous editions, remain unchanged. The first half outlines the principles underlying the critical examination of evidence and describes in detail the chief branches of literary inquiry. Further chapters offer practical advice on bibliographical procedure and note-taking, particularly as these are made more efficient by electronic aids, and on the writing of scholarly papers (in one of the best discussions of the craft of expository prose t be found in any textbook); guide the student through the great American and British libraries whose stocks of books and manuscripts are indispensable to original literary research; and reviews the rewards, obligations, and ethics of the profession.
Main Description
For interested readers who have other vocational plans, its authors-experienced researchers themselves-provide an intimate view of the way professional scholars go about their specialized and challenging tasks.This extensively revised Fourth Edition takes full account of recent developments that have virtually revolutionized certain important areas of the discipline. The computer, as newly written pages demonstrate, not only has eliminated much of the drudgery formerly associated with the gathering, storage, and retrieval of raw data but has made possible many analytical and lexical operations that had been beyond human capacity, yet without diminishing the amount of sheer brain work still required to produce a genuine contribution to knowledge. The book also suggests that "traditional" literary studies, freshly evaluated, are compatible with the current emphasis on critical theory, not inimical to it.The ongoing revision of the literary canon under the impact of women's studies, African-American studies, and other movements, as well as the intensified scholarly and critical interest in present-day writers, is reflected in the book's hundreds of illustrative examples, extensive lists of several related books and articles, and hands-on exercises. The exercises range from the simple, short answer type that offer practice in the use of secondary materials such as can be found in any college library, to projects that may occupy a number of weeks of research in primary sources and are geared to the extensive holdings of large university libraries.The basic rationale and structure of the book, having proved themselves in previous editions, remain unchanged. The first half outlines the principles underlying the critical examination of evidence and describes in detail the chief branches of literary inquiry. Further chapters offer practical advice on bibliographical procedure and note-taking, particularly as these are made more efficient by electronic aids, and on the writing of scholarly papers (in one of the best discussions of the craft of expository prose t be found in any textbook); guide the student through the great American and British libraries whose stocks of books and manuscripts are indispensable to original literary research; and reviews the rewards, obligations, and ethics of the profession.
Table of Contents
Preface to the Fourth Edition
Vocationp. 1
The Spirit of Scholarshipp. 22
Error: Its Prevalence, Progress, and Persistencep. 24
Examining the Evidencep. 38
Two Applications of the Critical Spirit: Fixing Dates and Testing Authenticityp. 54
Some Scholarly Occupationsp. 61
Textual Studyp. 62
Problems of Authorshipp. 88
The Search for Originsp. 106
Tracing Reputation and Influencep. 119
Cultivating a Sense of the Pastp. 135
Finding Materialsp. 155
Librariesp. 183
Making Notesp. 205
The Philosophy of Compositionp. 219
The Scholar's Lifep. 247
For Further Readingp. 259
Exercisesp. 281
Indexp. 333
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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