Blow Up the Humanities?

Not sure if this is one we need to keep our eye on or not … a review in the Oxonian Review  (by a Classicist) of Toby Miller’s Blow Up the Humanities … A single paragraph from the review is enough for me not to bother:

Perhaps BUH was intended as a challenge for elite philosophers, historians, and literary critics. Certainly, it wantons in French, Latin, and Greek quotations, sometimes incorrectly (“ethoi [sic] of social Darwinism”). Miller also reveals a penchant for the prodigious offspring of ill-matched buzz-words, such as cognitariat (“legitimizing the precarious employment of the cognitariat”), cybertarian (“the cybertarian utopics of the technological sublime”), and collegecrat (“collegecrats constructing themselves as corporate mimics”). Alliteration and assonance abound ad nauseam: “people fish, film, fuck, and finance from morning to midnight”. So do jeux de mots, whose ingenuity is italicised for emphasis: “the dilemmas are manifold and perhaps should have been manifest to me avant la lettre (or avant le cliché)”. There are even gratuitous misquotations of Shakespeare: “something is rotting in the state”. It is evident that Miller wants to write as pretentiously as the most self-indulgent of literary critics; unfortunately, he only sounds like a poetaster. His style might have benefited from consulting one of those elitist scholars he criticises—or at least a dictionary.

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