Mandell 2015

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Mandell, 2015. Breaking the Book: Print Humanities in the Digital Age. Malden: Wiley Blackwell, 2015.

"In this manifesto, I want to break open the book to look inside in order to find out what might predispose us to attentiveness and resis- tance in the medium itself." (xi)
"Academic book-language requires that cultural meanings be rationally justified. It also fosters the fantasy that mass-printed dis- ciplinary books can change common language, clear it up, and this utopian fantasy is shared by the sciences and literary and cultural studies, all modern disciplines of the book. Insofar as the printed book makes language use seem legislatable, it inflects the way we understand constructedness, as if it were automatically somehow allied with ideology in the sense of false consciousness, or worse, politics in the sense of conspiracy." (45)
"mass-printed book culture creates a place, the page, that predisposes language to become unmoored from the conditions of the lives we lead, conditions that are not forgotten in the ordinary language that is a constant companion—actant, participant—in those lives." (61)

"case histories" and internalization fostered by mass age of print

"as books became more and more anonymously produced, more and more alienated from specific human hands, what was inside them became more and more available for identification, less bound to the processes of social interaction in which only a few people are loved and iden- tified with, more and more available for love unhampered by the irritations and subsequent disidentifications besetting habitual interactions with real persons." (93-4)
"The problem of failing to take one’s own print position into account can result in the criticism of moral condescension seeming to be legitimate or in the erroneous belief in one’s own exemption from what one attacks" (132)
" there are some practices that are driving humanities disciplines into the ground, the somnolent critique characterized by moral condescension being one of them. MSA is not just a good idea, it is requisite for disciplinary sustenance. Let’s not let the print humanities go down with the book." (135)
"How precisely are the print humanities grounded in critique “broken”? They are broken insofar as we literary critics write from a culture of despair but participate in a very capitalist culture of hope. Again, we must not throw up our hands by calling this contradiction a deconstructive problem of the performative / con- stative split: this is a problem we can handle, but we have to handle it by changing the nature of critique that is so well-afforded by the mass-print medium. Threatened by digital humanities and by defunding, the critique of moral condescension takes the form of returning to Arnoldian notions of the Truth of criticism that ima- gine themselves to be disembodied, to be not participating in any culture of prestige such as the academy where prestige is more important than ever as funds decrease." (144)
"What happens to the discipline of English when both the texts that we investigate and the filters we use allow us to range widely over what is really, this time, the whole field of literature, including ephemera and the allegedly non- literary? We are looking forward to an era of reading that is evenly distributed." (145)
"four kinds of book failure that needs to end: uncontestable error; pathologizing opponents into case histories; unself-critical critique; and publishing for immortality." (151)
"What enables both Edmund Burke and books of ideology cri- tique2 to imagine that they “stand” outside of language rather than work within it is the mass-printed book that allows them to reflect upon the world from no context. " (159)
"The fantasy of publishing as conducting a revolution is enabled by mass print, even for writers whose books are not in fact printed massively. Revolting books, those that imagine themselves com- pletely outside the masses to whom they deign to speak, participate in the genre moral condescension, and a slew of such books have been published to defend reading and/or the humanities." (160)
"We expect, nay demand, to be supported by a group of people (primarily middle-class students and their parents) whose world- views we deplore and to which we consider ourselves vastly superior." (161)

THIS: "if a book of literary criticism offers no hope based on the same ground upon which the author stands in writing it, it lies, deludes itself about its cost, provenance, and conditions of possibility." (162)

"The two kinds of critique, giving voice and moral condescension, are unfairly called critical thinking: the thinking is not now and never was critical enough—we criticized the ideologies and infrastruc- tural biases of others while not critiquing our own." (177)
"critically question whether, in the act of publishing, you are performing the political act that you think you are. Literary and cultural studies critics imagine themselves as speaking truth to power through a delusion about their impact based upon a lifetime of reading mass-printed books:" (177)