Saturday, May 17, 2014


Formula for Producing a Useless Book

J. Linderski, review of Elisabeth H. Erdmann, Die Rolle des Heeres in der Zeit von Marius bis Caesar: Militärische und politische Probleme einer Berufsarmee (Neustadt/Aisch: Druck und Verlag Ph. C.W. Schmidt, 1972), in American Classical Review 2 (1972) 216-217 (at 217), rpt. in Roman Questions II. Selected Papers (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2007), pp. 284-285 (at 285, with author's supplement in brackets):
Old German dissertations, while often narrow-minded and dull, were almost invariably very useful as they collected dispersed evidence or presented interesting solutions of particular problems. This apparently is no more in vogue. A pretence of sociological open-mindedness coupled with philological negligence is an excellent formula for producing a useless book. {Since these lines were composed the pest has spread far and wide producing vast libraries of hot air}.

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