The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0086 Monday, 11 February 2008
From: Hardy M. Cook <
Date: Monday, February 11, 2008
Subject: Call for Volunteers for SHAKSPER Book Review Panel
I composed a message about establishing a Book Review Feature the other
day, but somehow I seem not to have sent it to listserv for distribution
or I neglected to follow the security procedures. Now I will have to
reproduce from a faulty, short-term memory what I wrote earlier. Here goes.
In early September, I sent a message to the list inquiring about the
possibility of establishing a Book Review Feature for SHAKSPER. The
response to my inquiry was unanimously positive. Unfortunately,
difficulties during the fall semester were responsible for my not being
able to follow-up on the project. This spring semester I am on leave, so
I hope that I will have more time, and I am consequently turning my
attention back to the Book Review Feature.
What follows is my September message:
A few years ago, to avoid having postings of a commercial nature on
SHAKSPER, I developed, with the assistance of members of the Advisory
Board and of the list itself, guidelines about announcing book releases.
These guidelines stipulate that members and interested parties may make
announcements about publications so long as these announcements are
primarily informational, emphasizing details about the work's content.
Such announcements may include links to sites that are promotional, but
the announcements themselves should not appear as such. I have found
these guidelines helpful, and now I would like to call upon members to
assist me again.
Setting aside for a moment considerations about its success or failure,
one reason I instituted the SHAKSPER Roundtable was as an effort to have
SHAKSPER remain as a useful service to the Shakespearean academic
community - to continue to evolve and not to ossify or stagnate. For
similar reasons, I am considering adding a book-reviewing feature to
Over the years, discussions of new publications in the field have been
an important component of our exchanges on this list. I thought that it
might be appropriate to be more intentional about this aspect of our
One possibility might be to establish a small group of Book Review
advisors, to whom I would forward requests that I receive to have a book
reviewed or to generate a list of possible new publications to be
reviewed for so-called "publication" on SHAKSPER. The members of this
group would then make a request for reviewers and subsequently select
someone to be awarded the task. The reviewer would then have time to
read, consider, and write a thoughtful 500 to a 1000 word review for
posting on the list and for archiving on a book review section of the
web site. These reviews would then become the basis for further
discussion threads about the work under consideration or its subject. We
may even request from the publishers that a copy of the book to be
reviewed be sent to the reviewer. These ideas are only some
possibilities that have occurred to me and are not the product of deep
As a next step, let me request your private reactions to and thoughts
about the possibility of our initiating a new feature for SHAKSPER
dedicated to book reviews of works in our areas of interest.
Hardy M. Cook
The next step is for request four to six volunteers who would agree to
serve on the SHAKSPER Book Review Panel. My preference is that the
members of this Panel be from academia, since the purpose of this
feature is to enhance SHAKSPER's contribution to the academic community.
I invite interested persons to send me an e-mail, and I will select
members of the Panel from those who apply.
As I see it, the four main functions of the SHAKSPER Book Review Panel
are to generate a list of books for review, to announce on SHAKSPER a
Call for Reviewers, to select reviewers from those who express an
interest, and to advise me prior to distribution on SHAKSPER if a review
appears to me to be of questionable merit. This process is important
since it insures that the reviewers have been selected through a
peer-reviewed process and that reviews prior to "publication" will, if
necessary, have been vetted by professionals, in all conferring an
academic legitimacy on the undertaking.
Since I am painfully shy, my hope is that, at least, one of the members
of the Panel will be outgoing enough to be willing to contact publishers
to request review copies of the selected books. Once we are ready to get
underway with this feature, I will also announce that SHAKSPER is
accepting books for consideration for review. At some point, I still
plan to incorporate SHAKSPER as a not-for-profit corporation so that I
can accept contributions to cover any costs associated with this
Once a reviewer has been selected, that person will have three to six
weeks to write a 750 to a 1,000 word review that will first be
distributed to members of the list in a daily digest and then will be
archived on the fileserver with a link to the Book Review page off the
SHAKSPER homepage. As I wrote in September, "These reviews would then
become the basis for further discussion threads about the work under
consideration or its subject."
Although I am requesting volunteers for the Panel to launch the SHAKSPER
Book Review Feature, I still welcome any ideas that members might wish
to pass on to me about this subject.
Hardy M. Cook
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook,
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>
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