More on Christina Crosby

Writer’s Block, Merit, and the Market: Working in the University of Excellence
Author(s): Christina Crosby
Reviewed work(s):
Source: College English, Vol. 65, No. 6 (Jul., 2003), pp. 626-645
Published by: National Council of Teachers of English
Stable URL:
Accessed: 26/01/2013 22:26
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1. Writing is relational.

2. Writing is a currency, and writers are embedded in market relations.

3. Because it is bound up with professional success and failure, it causes (or can cause) anxiety.

4. Difficulty with writing is bound up with a particular ethic of work, and is a measure of the conditions under which faculty labor.

5. Crosby is interested in the relation of writer’s block to the logic of capital, “a form of value that is driven by an imperative to increase.”

6. The actual reason to engage in academic writing is to develop your mind and knowledge, as Crosby says in a much more sophisticated way on 642. The overemphasis on production obscures this purpose. That is not to say one should not produce or to justify producing less, but to refocus attention on the academic as opposed as to the business reasons for writing.

7. I posted on this article more extensively over three years ago and forgot the post, although I then published a creative essay that is marked by Crosby’s emphasis on process and presence (although she does not use this word). Now Crosby’s piece has been brought back to us by Dame Eleanor Hull.

People should really read this article, as it is very interesting and most instructive. It also makes me want to read The University in Ruins, which I never did when it came out, and which appears to grow more and more obviously relevant by the day.

I remember the night it became clear to me that my writing problem was about market relations. It was about other things too — a powerful constellation of things, all in all — but the realization about market relations came almost all at once, like a sunrise.



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