When we study Shakespeare on the page, for academic purposes, we may require all kinds of help. Generally, we read him in modern spelling and with modern punctuation, and with notes. But any poetry that is performed – from song lyric to tragic speech – must make its point, as it were, without reference back.
McGeorge Bundy was a brilliant man who’d had a meteoric academic career and was the youngest man ever to be dean of the Harvard faculty. But he was also arrogant and looked upon all sorts of people and politicians as not to be taken all that seriously.
As a graduate student at Oxford in 1963, I began writing about books in revolutionary France, helping to found the discipline of book history. I was in my academic corner writing about Enlightenment ideals when the Internet exploded the world of academic communication in the 1990s.
When I began, poetry was very academic. You published little pamphlets from fancy presses. It was rather… chaste. There wasn’t much public reading. Then there was poetry and jazz, which I don’t think worked, though I love jazz.
I had been writing for about twelve years. I knew pretty well how you could find things out, but I had never been trained in an academic way how to go about the research.
In the United States, one of the main topics of academic political science is the study of attitudes and policy and their correlation. The study of attitudes is reasonably easy in the United States: heavily-polled society, pretty serious and accurate polls, and policy you can see, and you can compare them.