Scholarship, community formation and book reviews: The Literarisches Centralblatt as arena and meeting place

Authors

  • Christiaan Engberts Utrecht University (Utrecht, The Netherlands)

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.4467/2543702XSHS.21.019.14050

Keywords:

book reviews, standards of scholarship, scholarly character, communities of scholarship, late-nineteenth-century Germany, Theodor Nöldeke, Wilhelm Wundt, Literarisches Centralblatt

Abstract

Book reviews serve multiple functions. They are not only used to assess the merit of individual books but also contribute to the creation and maintenance of scholarly communities.

This paper draws on nineteenth-century book reviews to outline three of their features that contributed to the selfdefinition of such communities: the assessment of books, the assessment of authors, and the use of positive and negative politeness strategies to address individual authors as well as a broader audience.

The analysis will be based on the book reviews of the German Semitist Theodor Nöldeke and the experimental psychologist Wilhelm Wundt in the Literarisches Centralblatt in the eighteenseventies. In their book reviews they both criticized and praised their peers, which turned review journals like the Centralblatt in arenas for polemic debate as well as meeting places for likeminded scholars.

To be more precise, book reviews were used to communicate standards of scholarly excellence, expectations of the character and skills of scholars, and the acknowledgement of the value of the continued existence of aims and interests shared among a large group of academically educated and employed scholars. By contributing to the establishment and maintenance of scholarly peer groups with shared values, book reviews also reinforced the dividing line between academic researchers and lay contributors to their fields.

Author Biography

Christiaan Engberts, Utrecht University (Utrecht, The Netherlands)

References

ARCHIVAL SOURCES

Leiden University Library: BPL: 2389: Correspondence of Michael Jan de Goeje and Theodor Nöldeke.

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PERIODICALS

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: https://books.google.pl/books?id=I7NFAAAAcAAJ;

: https://books.google.pl/books?id=FhRTAAAAcAAJ;

: https://books.google.pl/books?id=UxRTAAAAcAAJ;

: https://books.google.pl/books?id=S2RaAAAAcAAJ;

: https://books.google.de/books?id=M1ZJAQAAMAAJ;

: https://books.google.pl/books?id=HG5JAQAAMAAJ;

: https://books.google.pl/books?id=Lp4xAQAAMAAJ;

: https://books.google.pl/books?id=YYUNAAAAQAAJ;

: https://books.google.pl/books?id=DsA4AQAAMAAJ;

: https://books.google.pl/books?id=BKAxAQAAMAAJ.

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Published

13-09-2021

How to Cite

Engberts, C. (2021). Scholarship, community formation and book reviews: The Literarisches Centralblatt as arena and meeting place. Studia Historiae Scientiarum, 20, 651–679. https://doi.org/10.4467/2543702XSHS.21.019.14050

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Section

HISTORY OF SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE