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In keeping with [author Mark] McGurl’s love of systems, diagrams dot The Program Era, a feature that some early reviewers have found off-putting. Charles McGrath did some eye-rolling in an early, unkind review for The New York Times in which he likened writing programs to Ponzi schemes and chastised McGurl for cluttering his prose with academic jargon — which hardly seems fair, given that The Program Era is a scholarly book, published by a university press and intended for an academic audience.

So if a book’s intended for an academic audience, it’s supposed to have prose cluttered with academic jargon?

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3 Responses to “Come again?”

  1. theprofessor Says:

    Inasmuch as an impactful concatenation of reflective noesis and praxis on the part of the-other-as-reader is to be attained, the answer is affirmative.

  2. Van L. Hayhow Says:

    Couldn’t have said it better, myself.

  3. nick Says:

    “So if a book’s intended for an academic audience, it’s supposed to have prose cluttered with academic jargon?”

    No–the Chronicle author understands that “cluttered with academic jargon” is simply what hostile generalists say about any academic book they dislike; “cluttered with academic jargon” means “I didn’t understand it and that couldn’t possibly be my fault.”

    Did you really miss the entire culture wars debate on academic obscurity?

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