Monday, April 30, 2012

Sample Summary

As with a few previous examples of summaries, this one has been excerpted and adapted from another blog I maintain.

Joan DeJean's "A Long Eighteenth Century? What Eighteenth Century?" which appears in the March 2012 issue of PMLA, bemoans the increasing presentism of foreign language departments in the United States.  DeJean does not claim any scientific rigor or statistical validity, simply noting that "Enough of a trend emerged" from those surveyed for the author "to feel that it was time to sound an alarm" (317). The alarm derives from the increasing dearth of new hires--and of faculty positions generally--in period specializations in pre-modern non-English languages, although Italian manages to hold onto its "holy trinity--Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio" (317), and Spanish, because of other factors, has enough enrollment to keep its variety to some extent (318). Even so, DeJean paints a depressing picture, one which forebodes ill for the study of language in the United States.

Presentism /prĕz'ĭnt*ĭzm/ (n.)- focus on the present and near past (within the last fifty to one hundred years), to the exclusion of earlier events

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