“I really cannot fathom how anyone would say that the blind are thieves when accessible copies of books are not even available for purchase.”
The problem, he said, was simply that most departments of language and literature required a book for tenure, but scholarly presses were publishing fewer and fewer of them.
Greenblatt’s shot across the humanistic bow inspired a lot of salutary activity. Scholarly-press editors, long tired of their position as de facto arbiters of tenure cases, added their voices to the conversation, and the MLA sponsored a task force that produced a set of recommendations for personnel decisions.
The results have been palpable. Many departments have revised their tenure-and-promotion demands. Fewer advisers now imagine their graduate students’ dissertations necessarily as books in the making. While the book still remains the absolute standard in many departments, the group that thinks that way is getting smaller. A new realism prevails, along with a new awareness that the game has changed. The digital revolution has driven those changes, and it’s affecting the meaning of the book itself”
Things change. You didn’t have to write anything to get a PhD and now look at things.