30 April 2012

Pretentious Obscurity

Wendell Berry, Life is a Miracle; An Essay Against Modern Superstition (Washington: Counterpoint, 2000), p. 69:
The cult of progress and the new, along with the pressure to originate, innovate, publish, and attract students, has made the English department as nervously susceptible to fashion as a flock of teenagers. The academic "profession" of literature seems now to be merely tumbling from one critical or ideological fad to another, constantly "revolutionizing" itself in pathetic imitation of the "revolutionary" sciences, issuing all the while a series of passionless, jargonizing, "publishable" but hardly readable articles and books, in which a pretentious obscurity and dullness masquerade as profundity.
I see (via Michael Gilleland) that Berry gave the 41st Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities last week.