Monday, April 30, 2007

Academic (mis)Blurbing

Sunday's NY Times Book Review carried an essay by Henry Alford on literary misblurbing. We've all read or written examples of carefully worded blurbs for academic books. Here are some of my favorites:-

"Once again, Professor X shows his imaginative power in challenging the received wisdom about the historical Jesus. His new book...is sure to be a catalyst for much discussion and controversy in the years ahead. One can only be grateful for his fresh and innovative views on the teacher from Nazareth."

Archbishop Tutu describes as "riveting and plausible" Jeffrey Archer and Prof. Francis Moloney's new book "The Gospel According to Judas by Benjamin Iscariot." Jeffrey Archer quipped, "And we know which one of us he thought riveting and which one he thought plausible."

A blurb by (the late) Edward Heath on William Temple's Christianity and the Social Order was:- "The impact of William Temple on my generation was immense. It embraced the whole spectrum of those who were seriously concerned with social, economic and political problems of his day."

I've seen variations of this:- "a solid piece of scholarly work which can profitably inform even the casual reader. The results are stunningly suggestive." And this: "X's book tackles some crucial problems in an extremely perceptive and creative way."

Because its the end of the semester, here are others:-
On 1066 And All That:- "We look forward keenly to the appearance of their last work." On Monty Python and the Holy Grail: "Makes Ben Hur Look Like an Epic."

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