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Wendy Belcher, whose journal article workbook is my favorite, has a new book!

April 29th, 2012

One of the backbone rules of Booklab is that I only recommend how-to-publish books by practitioners. Their publishing must also be at a level commensurate with Georgetown’s publishing expectations for its own faculty. Wendy Belcher’s workbook Writing Your Journal Article in 12 Weeks meets both expectations beautifully. She also has other books and articles, a list of which is here. Her new book from Oxford University Press is Abyssinia’s Samuel Johnson.

Here is more information about it:

As a young man, Samuel Johnson, one of the most celebrated English authors of the eighteenth century, translated A Voyage to Abyssinia by Jeronimo Lobo, a tome by a Portuguese missionary about the country now known as Ethiopia. Far from being a potboiler, this translation left an indelible imprint on Johnson. Demonstrating its importance through a range of research and attentive close readings, Abyssinia’s Samuel Johnson highlights the lasting influence of an African people on Johnson’s oeuvre.

Wendy Laura Belcher uncovers traces of African discourse in Johnson’s only work conceived for the stage, Irene; several of his short stories; and, of course, his most famous fiction, The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia. Throughout, Belcher provides a much needed perspective on the power of the discourse of the other to infuse European texts. Most pointedly, she illuminates how the Western literary canon is globally produced, developing the powerful metaphor of spirit possession to suggest that some texts in the European canon are best understood as energumens–texts that are spoken through. Her model of discursive possession offers a new way of theorizing transcultural intertextuality, in particular how Europe’s others have co-constituted European representations. Drawing on sources in English, French, Portuguese, and Ge’ez, this study challenges the conventional wisdom on Johnson’s work, from the inspiration for the name Rasselas and the nature of Johnson’s religious beliefs to what makes Rasselas so strange.

A rich monograph that fuses eighteenth-century studies, comparative literature, and postcolonial theory, Abyssinia’s Samuel Johnson adds a fresh perspective on and a wealth of insights into the great, enigmatic man of letters.

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When I was a grad student I spake as a grad student…

January 27th, 2011

A faculty author in one of this week’s groups has been going through her files, pulling out old work that she hopes to revisit and turn into finished, publishable documents.  This is great, and exactly what we encourage.  Nothing is too old… I even suggest that you go back to papers from graduate school for material.  Wendy Belcher of Princeton, author of Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks, also recommends this strategy.

The scholar made a very interesting comment about graduate work.  Back in the day she had a research grant, and the result was a big file box of data that she never published (the grant did not require her to).  But she wants to revisit it now, and she understands that she wasn’t ready to publish then.  “When I was a grad student,” she said, “I didn’t have the skill to write and publish this.”  Since graduate school she has made enormous progress on the theoretical side of her field, and she has published a book and several articles.  Now the task that seemed impossible to her in graduate school looks like business as usual.  She has–quite simply–grown up.

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Second article finished, one year after

September 9th, 2010

One year ago, on September 19, 2009, I began something called “60 Days of Journal Article Writing.”  You can follow this link to the beginning at the bottom to read the whole thread.

Since then, in one calendar year, I have written two richly researched scholarly articles following Wendy Belcher’s system from Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks.  I’ve also gotten to know her a tiny bit through e-mail and my participation as a guest editor on her newsletter while she’s away on a Fulbright in Africa.

Think about that for a moment, though.  A year ago I wasn’t sure I really knew how to craft journal articles, since my job focuses on books.  Now, twelve little months later, I have one on submission at a key journal in my field awaiting a decision, and a second is ready to go.  Instead of starting on a third I’m going to turn back to the book that they were written to support, but the year has not taken me away from the book at all. Writing those articles made me sharper, stronger, more prepared to tackle the book on its own terms.  Placing it at a university press will be much easier with key articles in place at the right journals.

What a great year, and a superb way to start the fall.  Please write to me if you want to get rolling on this same track of 1-2 scholarly articles per year and a book every three years.

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Back to the 60 article publishing days

November 23rd, 2009

On the blogger site we offered a popular series on writing and publishing a scholarly article by blogging our way through the book Writing Your Journal Article in 12 Weeks byWendy Belcher.  Since then Dr. Belcher has been in touch, and she included the blog series in her monthly newsletter.  Thus inspired, we’ve decided to try again with a new article, but instead of counting days, we’ll count weeks, and we’ll reduce the number of weeks from 12 to 9 since three of the weeks in the workbook focus on preliminaries, on journal internal politics, and on editing tasks for nonnative speakers of English.  We understood all of that the first time around, so this second pass will start with Week 2 of the workbook and proceed to Week 10.

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