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You know you're an academic when...

When I asked C. for help on how to edit this sentence so it would be more comprehensible, he told me to go write it down as proof that I'm an academic. So here you are:

"Edward Rosen, in his 1956 article, established the modern historical understanding of the development of the history of the invention of eyeglasses. "

The funny thing is, the sentence does correctly describe the situation. Alas, it's too compact to be lucid, and an example of how important editing is in order to improve text, especially when that text is from one of my early drafts.


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 23rd, 2003 08:38 pm (UTC)
*recognizes self in writing, runs away in shame* ;)
Aug. 25th, 2003 10:18 am (UTC)
You know you're an academic when...
So, this is a meta-history? The way the sentence
reads is that this is the history of the history
of something: an odd concept for those of us
not in the History Racket.


P.S. I see that "blogging" now has an official
entry in the OED! (..and we all know what "OED"
means because we're all academic[ally minded
Aug. 25th, 2003 09:58 pm (UTC)
Re: You know you're an academic when...
Yes indeed. I'm writing the history of histories. I'm writing about what people thought about the history of things, in addition to just what they thought about the things. I get to use the word "of" at lot, QED as an ABD. (To carry on with the TLAs ending in D)
Aug. 25th, 2003 10:45 am (UTC)
...the development of the history of the invention of...


Makes wonderful sense, but you do need to read it twice forwards and once backwards before it falls into place...
Mar. 9th, 2004 06:00 am (UTC)
I'm doing a history paper, and I was wondering where you might have found Rosen's article? I would really like to get my grubby little digits on it.

respond here, or e-mail me at peregrine13820 at yahoo

Incidently, I found this doing a google search for the "title" and author name. You were hit three I think.
Mar. 9th, 2004 06:06 am (UTC)
Re: HELP?!
I guess this means that you don't have any access to a library with back issues of the Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences? Or don't know that you do anyways? It's in Volume 11 (1956), but in two parts if you run across it. I neglected to photocopy part 2 the first time around and had to go back to redo it when I realized there was a second half to the article (pages 13-46 and 183-218). Alas, it doesn't seem to be in JSTOR - I just checked and digitized versions of the journal only go back a few years. There's always interlibrary loan, if you can wait that long.

The article's a little tedious unless you're really interested in all the gory details of the historiographic process. If you're willing to settle for a more widely available summary, Chiara Frugoni, in Books Banks Buttons and Other Medieval Inventions (2003) spends about 3 pages summarizing the important points and has a heft selection of pretty full color pictures to boot. I feel certain I've read another extensive summary of the article somewhere, but can't think where off the top of my head.
Mar. 9th, 2004 06:13 am (UTC)
Re: HELP?!
Agg... Exactly, my school doesn't have it. I shall have to try the neighboring school libraries. And I was just in JSTOR myself, thanks you.

Thank you for your help(and fast too!) if it occurs to you, I would love the assist! Thanks!
Mar. 9th, 2004 06:26 am (UTC)
Re: HELP?!
What's your research project on? I ask in case there are any other relevant articles I could recommend to you instead.

A chapter of my dissertation is on eyeglasses, so I'm currently swimming in articles on their early history. I'm still trying to figure out where the other good summary was, but if you're interested in an article that picks holes in Edward Rosen's article, and therefore cites lots of bits of it along the way, Viator should be a much easier journal to get ahold of. On one hand, the article makes lots of good points along the way, on the other hand, I have to warn you, I don't believe the basic argument, especially since the author agrees that a certain amount of her argument is wishful thinking: Judith S. Neaman. "The Mystery of the Ghent Bird and the Invention of Spectacles." Viator: Medieval and Renaissance Studies. (1993) on pages 189-214.
Mar. 9th, 2004 06:38 am (UTC)
Re: HELP?!
"Compare and contrast the importance of two of the following technological innovations from the medieval period to historical change before 1500 BCE: the waterwheel, eyeglasses, the mechanical clock, and gunpowder."

I already decided I didn't want to do gunpowder, as I am sure it's been done to death. but, anything on the other three?

lol. Seems like all the people I "meet" or "know" through LJ are from Canada.
Mar. 9th, 2004 07:12 am (UTC)
Re: HELP?!
I have to say, more work has been done and more books have been published on everything on this list other than eyeglasses. The eyeglasses material is largely in articles and exhibition catalogs, rather than books. Lots of work has been done on the subject by serious amateurs, so lots of the articles appear in things like ophthamology journals. At the moment, I'd say, Frugoni's 20 or 30 pages on the history of eyeglasses it by far as good as it gets for good, accessible, still-for-sale materials in books. Oh, there's also lots on the history of optics, so if you like dabbling in the sciences or math, you could pursue it from that angle quite productively. Obviously, that doesn't mean eyeglasses aren't worth working on - indeed, it means you're more likely not to have everyone else in your class working on them as well. Anyways, not all of the articles on the subject are as inaccessible as the Rosen one is currently for you, and as long as you have time for interlibrary loan, that's not a problem either. There are a number of relevant articles available via JSTOR as well.

By the way, I figured out where the other summary of Rosen's article was, and it probably isn't of any help to you. A Spectacle of Spectacles: Exhibition Catalogue. (Edition Leipzig, 1988), put together by Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung Jena for a 1988-9 exhibition on the history of eyeglasses. One of the catalog essays has about a page of summary of the Rosen article.
Mar. 9th, 2004 08:37 am (UTC)
Re: HELP?!
Yeah, I may end up going with the clock, but what the heck, I got time.

It's a freshman West Civ I course, so I'm not in a panic yet.
Mar. 14th, 2004 09:48 am (UTC)
I'm back...
How about articles on the clock? I'm finding lots of stuff on the technology and engineering, but I'm more interested in its social impact.

Thanks again for all your help! Mind if I add you to my friends list?
Mar. 14th, 2004 06:37 pm (UTC)
Re: I'm back...
Do you want articles or books? Actually, if I just point you towards the two big books in the field of early clock history, that should, in turn, point you to more than enough articles.

Gerhard Dohrn-Van Rossum. The History of the Hour: Clocks and Modern Temporal Orders. Thomas Dunlap, trans. (Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 1996).

Landes, David. Revolution in Time: Clocks and the Making of the Modern World. 2nd edition. (Cambridge, MA and London: the Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2000).

If you're really more interested in social impact, those two books deal with it extensively, and are recent enough to cover most bibliography, but you might also want to try

Humphrey, Chris, and W. M. Ormrod (eds.) Time in the Medieval World. (York, UK: York Medieval Press in association wiith the Boydell Press, 2001).

The Humphrey and Ormrod book is probably going to be much harder to get ahold of than the other two, which are in print on this side of the ocean, and both easy for the likes of us to buy and fairly frequent in libraries. It's a collection of essays, published in England, still pretty new, and pricy.

You're most welcome to add me to your friends list.
Mar. 15th, 2004 04:48 am (UTC)
Re: I'm back...
Cool. I have a list of titles that I looked up in the online catalog yesterday... And I think at least one of those you listed in is in our library.

thanks for the second opinion!
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )