Thursday, September 15, 2005


I've commented on this in passing before, but still can't quite understand why (some) people use their book's "Acknowledgements" as an opportunity to insist on their exclusion.

I say this after leafing through Stefan Meštrović's The Balkanization of the West, whose "Preface and Acknowledgements" end as follows:
In the interest of the historical record, I wish to conclude this preface by listing the publications that rejected essays authored by me that I eventually incorporated into this book. (xiii)
Meštrović goes on also to quote from the President-elect of the American Sociological Association's rejection of a proposed ASA session on the Balkan War (xiii-xiv).

Meštrović wants to portray himself as an unheeded prophet. He further tells us that his "colleagues in sociology" are "an especially mean-spirited lot" (xi), and so presumably especially disinclined to heed a prophet such as himself.

While I recognize the impulse to settle old scores, such protestations of hard-done-by rejection in the acknowlegements of a published work are surely at best petty, and at worst cast a shade over what is to follow.

Having said all that, Gustavo Pérez Firmat achieves his purpose with some wit and panache. From Life on the Hyphen:
I would also like to thank my colleagues in the Department of Romance Studies at Duke University for creating a work environment that made it much easier for me to stay home and write.

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