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ERIC Number: EJ814898
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Sep-26
Pages: 1
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0009-5982
That Noise behind You? A Rival in the Stacks
Bartlett, Thomas
Chronicle of Higher Education, v55 n5 pA1 Sep 2008
Scholars spend years working on a book, toiling in archives, poring over sources, examining and re-examining data, only to discover that they are not alone. Someone else is working on more or less the same book. This article presents vignettes of scholars doing research for their books, thinking they are the first, yet feeling shocked at discovering others also working on similar themes. Some scholars, however, have been less flustered to encounter competition, or at least better at hiding their feelings. Mark Silver's book "Purloined Letters: Cultural Borrowing and Japanese Crime Literature, 1868-1937" (University of Hawaii Press) was published this year. Sari Kawana's book "Murder Most Modern: Detective Fiction and Japanese Culture" (University of Minnesota Press) was also published this year. But, according to Mr. Silver, there is enough room in the world for two books on Japanese detective fiction. In fact, he is glad to have the company. "It validates your own sense that you're working on something that is interesting and valuable," says Mr. Silver, a visiting assistant professor of Japanese studies at Middlebury College. Ms. Kawana, an assistant professor of Japanese at the University of Massachusetts at Boston, is similarly generous. "Rather than seeing these other people as competitors, you should cooperate with them," she says. "Ideally, you should work together to make the topic popular." There can be upsides to dueling books. It is easier to catch the attention of book reviewers, for one thing, which can help boost sales. Though often those reviewers prefer one book over the other.
Chronicle of Higher Education. 1255 23rd Street NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037. Tel: 800-728-2803; e-mail: circulation@chronicle.com; Web site: http://chronicle.com/
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A