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Reply Vassilis Lambropoulos I am grateful to Margaret Alexiou, Peter Bien, David Holton, and Alexander Nehamas for their judicious and instructive responses to my paper. I am also grateful to Ernestine Friedl, the editor of JMGS, for soliciting these responses. They have produced an informed and interesting discussion from which we have all, in our different ways, benefited. I, for one, feel that I now have a better sense of the direction and character of my argument, and have become more sensitive to reactions it may provoke. I am also confident that the debate over the nature and future of the field will not cease but will continue to develop and will become an integral part of our problematic. Thus, in the best spirit of this intellectual exchange, instead of responding to my commentators individually, I shall use this opportunity to elaborate, in light of their rejoinders, on certain crucial points of my diagnosis. This piece, then, should be read as an afterword to my original paper. First, I am pleased to see that, for the most part, we are all in clear agreement. The consensus that has emerged includes the following points. Two major paradigms are presently claiming modern Greek, empiricism and skepticism. Their competition may strengthen, rather than damage, our common enterprise. The emergence of skepticism marks a critical moment in the history of the field, as this paradigm has revised its agenda and influenced its course in a relatively short period of time. Although skepticism has met with "derision and suspicion," "charges of fadism" and disdain, it has produced important work of high scholarly quality. At the same time, it has acquired significant institutional eminence and power, to the extent that it has established itself as a force with which one has to reckon. (To these explicit points of agreement quite a few more could be added which are presupposed but not mentioned in the responses.) Such a wide range of consensus indicates that my commentators and I share the same basic understanding of the present situation. I am truly impressed and encouraged to see how broad our starting point is. Some clarifications and explanations are now in order. Journal of Modern Greek Studies, Volume 7, 1989. 59 60 Vassilis Lambropoulos I begin with the question of scope. I want to repeat that my survey was limited to the scene in the United States and Canada. I fully realize the need for a more inclusive overview but that would require a longer treatment and not just a paper. Thus developments elsewhere, even in the rest of the English-speaking world, had to be excluded from consideration. In addition, specific papers which were discussed or mentioned were used only as representative examples of particular approaches, and not necessarily of the work of individual writers. I am not interested in individuals but in reputations, institutions , and discourses, and I am always sorry to see proper names taken for people rather than as signs. I also have difficulties with the generational (as opposed to the genealogical) view, which sees historical development as a succession of Hesiodian ages or as a Hegelian dialectic (and therefore seeks some synthesis—mediation or the middle ground). Accounts of "descent" or "dialectical progression" may explain stages of evolution (for those who believe in it, of course) but not moments of rupture. They may explain, for example, Heidegger's debt to Nietzsche or Pound's to Browning, but not discontinuity, let alone revolt. (Punk came out of the middle class suburbia but did not exactly descent from it nor did it perpetuate its views.) In the case of modern Greek skepticism, I located the element of rupture in the systematic adoption of the scholarly mode. Although I emphatically stressed its importance, I thought I made it clear that, in my vocabulary, the term "scholarship" does not have an independent, self-evident value. I do not believe that scholarly writing is inherently superior to any other kind of writing. It is nothing more nor less than the currently acceptable mode of communication in American institutional sites of research. My point was that, if scholarly writing is today part of the rules of the academic game (if not...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3265
Print ISSN
0738-1727
Pages
pp. 59-64
Launched on MUSE
2010-06-24
Open Access
No
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