Does academic writing need to be so academic? This question asks if academic writing needs to cater to only other scholars who could possibly understand academic concepts. This is a question that has been circling around the classroom lately. An issue with scholarly writing is that it’s marginalizing itself by focusing its audience on other scholars who would understand a higher level of writing.
However, all book lovers aren’t always interested in pursuing a degree in literature, so how can the general public also contribute and read intellectual writing without subscribing to a library database? It seems that Sharon Marcus has found a sort of “in-between” platform for intellectual writing called Public Books. In “How to Talk About Books You Have Read,” Marcus claims “Readers outside the academy are clearly curious about what scholars have to say about contemporary books” (475).
This literary platform reviews books, fashion, film, television, emerging trends in environmental history, technology criticism, museums, and music writing by embracing an immense and diverse range of contributors from scholars to journalists to undergraduate students. Marcus’s idea is to treat Public Books as a site for teaching the public more complex and enticing concepts present in aesthetic forms.
“What we might call teacherly writing does not avoid difficult ideas or terms; it explains them. Professors teaching undergraduate courses on the novel don’t drop terms like focalize or free indirect discourse into lectures and expect students to know their meaning; a good teacher denies those terms, illustrates them with examples, and helps students to see how naming these techniques improves our understanding of novels” (476). This seems to be the antidote the Humanities have been looking for to de-marginalize themselves. By providing a digital landscape, Public Books attributes to the Digital Humanities and especially to providing accessible intellectual and scholarly reviews.
http://www.publicbooks.org/ (This is really awesome)
Marcus, Sharon. “How to Talk about Books You Have Read.” PMLA 130.2 (2015): 467-73. Web.