Skip to main content

Trying to Critique an Academic Book


So those of you that know me well will know that I have studied hard for an MA in English Literature at Anglia Ruskin. I suppose you could say that I have a bit of a love affair with the academic side of life and especially for trawling through cavernous, dusty libraries in university towns - my favourite being the University Library at Cambridge Uni.

I tell myself that I very much want to stay in touch with this academic way of life, if nothing else to stretch my mind further than I have done already. Enter stage left the opportunity to become part of panel of book reviewers for the Annotated Bibliography of English Studies.

This came about in the usual form of an email from one of my Anglia Ruskin University lecturers and I thought to myself "and why not". If nothing else I get to receive new books, write about them analytically at a high academic standard and to keep the texts, all the while embellishing - hopefully - my CV and thus employability.

My first, and to this date, only foray back into the world of literary criticism came in the form of James Loxley's Critical Introduction to Ben Jonson. Jonson was a Renaissance dramatist around the time of Shakespeare and was, despite what you may think, always more popular than old Billy throughout his life.

Anyway, what I thought would be a simple process is getting more complex. Give or take time to receive and read the text, it seems to have taken months to get the review finally sorted. First of all the man who sends the books was ill which delayed the arrival of the book; then when I first submitted the review there was something missing so it got sent back to me; then I realised I hadn't sent the copyright consent form to the publisher; then another oversight on my part whilst writing the review meant it was sent back again.

Finally, I'm guessing it has been accepted, but I'm just waiting for another email warning me that something has been missed again; it's all so much harder than I thought!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Wild Nights: Camping Britain's Extremes by Phoebe Smith

Cover image © Shutterstock. It’s been nearly two years that I’ve been talking about my desire to go wild camping. So far I’ve bored my parents intermittently and failed to convince any friends to join me. I chanced on an article on the Guardian’s website by Phoebe Smith and realised that wild camping was an actual thing that people actually did. In my own inimitable style, I set about obsessively researching experts, equipment, locations and guides – a process that is still continuing at the time of writing. With this in mind, I looked up Smith’s book Wild Nights: Camping Britain's Extremes . In the book, one of a few that she has penned on the subject of wild camping, she documents her own personal challenge to sleep in a number of extreme places: furthest points of the compass on the UK mainland, the highest/lowest places above/below sea level and the remotest in terms of distance from any roads. Her story begins in Glencoul, Scotland with what should be a bea

A Caribbean Mystery by Agatha Christie

Cover image © Harper Collins. I’m definitely a fan of Agatha Christie. There’s something about her work that makes me think of Sunday afternoons and Christmas. That said, I’m much more of a Poirot fan than I am of the Marple stories, but, being in the Caribbean, and needing a ‘small island’ mystery, I turned to A Caribbean Mystery  (1964) . Set on the fictional island of St. Honoré, Miss Marple has been bought a holiday in the Caribbean by her nephew to help her recuperate from some recent ill health. At first she seems distinctly unimpressed with her location where there is nothing to engage her interest; “Lovely and warm, yes — and so good for her rheumatism — and beautiful scenery, though perhaps — a little monotonous?” To pass the time, as one could expect at an exclusive resort like the Golden Palm Hotel, gossip is an easy method. When retired Major Palgrave starts spinning one of his yarns about a murder, he stops abruptly, just as he is about to produce a photo o

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Cover image © Virago Press. I have often been unsure about where in the grand scheme of all things literary Maya Angelou fits. Last August, whilst considering my teaching options for AS Level literature, the decision was reached to switch from teaching Carol Ann Duffy’s poetry collection The World’s Wife to Angelou’s collection And Still I Rise . In the absence of the ubiquitous York Notes to provide information on the poetry, it made sense to read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings  not only to shed some light on the context of the poetry, but to answer a nagging question: who is Maya Angelou? Caged Bird is the 1969 autobiography of Angelou’s early years in the small town of Stamps, Arkansas, in the USA, through to the age of seventeen. As soon as you learn that she is living with her paternal grandmother, Momma, you realise that her family history is bound to be laced with complexities and confusion. A recurrent theme is the pervading sense of abandonment felt by Maya