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The Academics of Publishing Revisited If you read the Chronicle of Higher Education or are trying to get a first book published, you have most likely heard about "the crisis of scholarly publishing." Academic publishing, squeezed between the Scylla of burgeoning print costs and the Charybdis of decreased university funding, has gotten meaner and leaner. Like the academic "job crisis," the publishing crisis has its roots in shifts in public policies and funding from the 1970s on, but it intensified through the 1990s, which saw the closing ofsome smalleruniversity presses and the scalingbackoflistsofprominentpresses like Stanford and California, among others. In the fall of 1998, the minnesota review published a special issue on "The Academics of Publishing" (48-9) to take some account of what was happening to scholarly presses. It featured interviews with editors William P. Germano (Routledge), Niko Pfund (then at NYU, now at Oxford), Cecelia Cancellano (then at Schocken), Beverly Jarrett (Missouri), and Paul Lauter (co-founder of the Feminist Press and general editor of the Heath Anthology ofAmerican Literature), as well as essays on commercialization and on electronic publishing. Besides an account of what was happening, another purpose of the issue was to dispel some received ideas about publishing. Sometimes it seems that publishing is a magical operation, behind closed doors and through occult channels; the issue offered an inside look, from the editor's side of the desk, at how an idea becomes a book. And sometimes it seems that editors are service providers, in the layer of personnel that every university has to keep the trains running; the issue aimed to see editors as intellectual producers in their own right, who have a creative hand in catalyzing and developing contemporary criticism. Since that issue appeared, the state of academic publishing has come front stage, the subject of symposia, conferences, op-eds, articles, and books. (The bibliography below selects some of the key documents.) In particular, it has been a central concern of MLA, inciting the formation of an Ad Hoc Committee on the Future of Scholarly Publishing and a plea from thenMLA president Stephen Greenblatt, in an open letter to MLA members, that departments no longer base tenure requirements on the grail of a book. Through the pages of PMLA, the Chronicle, and elsewhere, press editors Willam Germano, Mary Murrell, Willis Regier, Lindsay Waters, and Ken Wissoker and professors Carlos Alonzo, Cathy Davidson, and Philip Lewis have debated the sanctity, irrelevance, and future of the scholarly book. "The Academics of Publishing Revisited" continues minnesota review's focus on the institutions of literature and updates the account of contemporary publishing. It also aims to again givean inside lookathow presses tick and to see editors as fully vested intellectual participants in the humanities . It includes interviews with Willis Regier, Director of the University of IllinoisPress, andJennifer Crewe, Editorial Director ofColumbia University 192 the minnesota review Press, and an essay by William P. Germano, Vice-President and Publishing Director at Routledge. Selected Bibliography Alonso, Carlos J. "Editor's Column: Having a Spine—Facing the Crisis in Scholarly Publishing." PMLA 118 (2003): 217-23. Baker, John F. "We Are All in This Together." Publishers' Weekly 2 June 2003: 26-8. Boynton, Robert S. "The Routledge Revolution: The Rise of the Academic Left's InHouse Publisher." Linguafranca (March/April 1995): 25-32. Carlson, Scott. "Cornell Tries a New Publishing Model: Scholarship on Demand." Chronicle ofHigher Education 5 March 2004: 29. Case, Mary M., ed. The Specialized Scholarly Monograph in Crisis, or, How Can I Get Tenure If You Won't Publish My Book? Proceedings of a conference sponsored by the American Association of University Presses. Washington DC: ARL, 1999. Davidson, Cathy N. "Understanding the EconomicBurden ofScholarly Publishing." Chronicle ofHigher Education 30 Oct. 2003: BZ Germano, William. "Getting It Published." PMLA 115 (Oct. 2000): 1053-60. —. Getting it Published: A Guide for Scholars and Anyone Else Serious about Serious Books. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2001. —. "In Writing and Publishing, Think Inside the Box." Chronicle ofHigher Education 5 July 2002: 12. Greenblatt, Stephen. "Call for Action on Problems in Scholarly Book Publishing: A Special Letter from Stephen Greenblatt." Modern Language Assoaation 28...


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