Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Publish or Perish?

E.K. Rand, letter to James B. Conant (April 1935), quoted in Arthur F. Stocker, "Edward Kennard Rand," The American Scholar 52 (1983) 89-97 (at 94):
As for publication, we should cease to regard it as a major criterion of scholarship. It is true that an inquiring and original mind—which is, of course, a prime essential—cannot help making fresh observations and fruitful discoveries, but it matters not whether he disseminates them on paper or in the intellects of his pupils. The latter way is "productive scholarship" combined with art. If a paper or a book is the outcome of his thought, well and good. If he prefers to wait till his thoughts mellow, all the better. If he never publishes at all, that is not necessarily against him. The possession of a keen and original mind can be told in a half hour's conversation. It is also easy to find out within a few years whether the possessor of such a mind is constantly improving it, or whether he is content with his own brilliance and the modicum of information necessary for his task. In the Classics, I should rate higher that scholar who has made friends with the great authors of Greece and Rome, who steadily deepens his intimacy with them, and who can inspire his pupils with an eagerness to make the same friendship with them.

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