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Terry Eagleton v Martin Amis.

I think my favourite example of Academics going on the offensive was when Professor Terry Eagleton revised the preface for Ideology: An Introduction and stuck the knife firmly into Kingsley Amis's corpse and into Martin Amis's chest.

'A racist, anti-semitic boor, a drink-sodden, self-hating reviler of women, gays and liberals. Amis fils has clearly learned more from [him] than how to turn a shapely phrase'

It unleashed a war of words right across the press with everyone and his/her mother getting in on the act and culminating with Amis writng open letters in the Guardian:

'I was not "advocating" anything. I was conversationally describing an urge ... that soon wore off. And I hereby declare that "harassing the Muslim community in Britain" would be neither moral nor efficacious. Prof Eagleton is making a habit of this kind of thing ... He has submitted to an unworthy combination of venom and sloth. Can I ask him, in a collegial spirit, to shut up about it?'

Summary of the debacle

The first time I read the preface, my jaw dropped at the venom dripping from every single word, and nine months later, I still cannot get over it.

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
ideealisme
Jul. 11th, 2008 10:48 am (UTC)
"I have never even heard of this man Eagleton. But he seems to be a rather lethal combination of having been a Roman Catholic and become a Marxist ... He strikes me as like a spitting cobra - if you get within his range he'll unleash some poison." - Elizabeth Jane Howard.

Mi - a - ow! Bit of an establishment snob, isn't she?

Mind you I find this sort of regularly trotted-out-white guilt on Eagleton's part monumentally tedious:

"champions of a civilisation that for centuries has wreaked untold carnage throughout the world, shrieking for illegal measures when they find themselves for the first time on the sticky end of the same treatment."

Yeah we're all colonialists - we SHOULD get blown up.
ashkitty
Jul. 11th, 2008 03:39 pm (UTC)
Wow. That is definitely an attack! *cowers under a chair*
arcana_mundi
Jul. 11th, 2008 03:51 pm (UTC)
Fantastic example! Even my mother heard about this one, and she's not an academic per se (just bookish). Crazy fierce.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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attackademia
When Academics Attack! Quotes and marginalia.

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