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Robert E. Howard and S. T. Joshi controversy?
The late REH fan Steve Tompkins wrote a blog that explained why S.T. Joshi provoked such controversy among Howard's admirers:
"S.T. Joshi’s article “Bran Mak Morn and History” in "Two-Gun Bob: A Centennial Study of Robert E. Howard" comes trailing a backstory that originated with the author’s 1996 magnum opus "H. P. Lovecraft: A Life". That book more than deserved its Bram Stoker and British Fantasy Awards, but phrases from the pages (502-503) on which Robert E. Howard is introduced as an untutored provincial-turned-pen pal were destined (and designed?) to live in infamy among even the least touchy Howardists: “Fanatical cadre of supporters,” “subliterary hackwork that does not even begin to approach genuine literature,” “[Howard's] views are not of any great substance and profundity,” “Howard’s style is crude, slipshod, and unwieldy.” The artful dismissal-intensifier “does not even begin to approach” is surpassed a page later when Joshi quotes Lovecraft’s “There’s a bird whose basic mentality seems to me just about the good respectable citizen’s. . .” evaluation of REH in a December 14, 1935 letter to Kenneth Sterling and then editorializes “If Howard’s later devotees would adhere to this view, they would make themselves a little less ridiculous in proclaiming vast profundity and originality for his work.” Only a little less ridiculous, mind you — that might qualify as the unkindest cut of all, were there not many cuts yet to come."
Joshi is also resented by Howard fans because of this appalling comment he made about Howard's sucide in 1993:
- Price: Howard held the gun to his own head.
- [Audience laughs.]
- Joshi: Yeah, yeah. I only wish Howard had held the gun to his head a little _earlier_.
Question on Joshi
I recently paid a visit to Joshi's official website, and made the startling observation that it was last updated sometime in 2004. I was wondering wether anybody could explain the absence of any futher updates on his website, and what Joshi is actually doing. I would be deeply greatful if anybody could direct me to any other websites with an up-to-date news section on Joshi. Eam91 14:17 (GMT) 16th of April 07.
- You could always ask the man himself. His email address is somewhere on the website, I believe. PhilipC 22:39, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
- The answer is that the Web site was created for him by someone else, and he doesn't have the ability to edit it himself. We should try to get site management back into his hands one of these days. GCL (talk) 20:12, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
- Since we were unable to update the old site, we helped him create a new site that went live today. I've updated the links in the article to point to http://stjoshi.org; please help spread this address so that it will eventually outrank the outdated version in search engines. (Maybe someday we'll get the original domain back as well.) GCL (talk) 01:25, 23 January 2010 (UTC)
Some thoughts... please feel free to voice opinions.
I don't want to just flame this guy or change the page just yet, but I would like to raise a voice of concern about Joshi being called a "scholar” which is dubious at best. I know it’s just semantics but here’s my logic.
1) Joshi does not have a PhD and is not a professor.
Not that this necessarily precludes him from the world we call “scholarship” but the entry for “scholar” (which redirects to Academia) says without hesitation:
“An academic is a person who works as a researcher (and usually teacher) at a university or similar institution in post-secondary (or tertiary) education. He or she is nearly always an advanced degree holder who does research. In the United States, the term academic is approximately synonymous with that of the job title professor.” (http:/wiki/Scholar)
Whereas Joshi in his autobiography does not meet the above requirements.
"I had graduated from Brown University in 1980 (in the department of classics) and had gained a master's degree from Brown in 1982. I was accepted for a Ph.D. program at Princeton University, where I received the Paul Elmer More fellowship in classical philosophy, but left after two years there; I had come to believe that the academic arena was not where I belonged." (http://www.necropress.com/stjoshi/biography.html) According to the definition above of academic this would also preclude him as a “scholar.”
3) The nature of his writing.
This one is a little bit sticky as I am not worried about this enough to cite my sources. If anyone has actually sat down and read any of Joshi’s writing you will rapidly notice that most of it is deeply concerned with establishing a hierarchy of “good” and “bad.” He routinely judges stories or authors as “inferior” and spends great amounts of energy informing his reader which text is “best.” Last time I presented at an academic conference these are all strictly verboten and get you, at best, utterly shunned as a hack. Now I don’t want to try and undermine Joshi’s work—what he has done for Lovecraft, the genre, and it’s criticism is highly commendable—but I think enough dissertations have been written about Lovecraft that we need to, at the very least, reevaluate this new god of the Weird Tale. What does this mean? Well let’s look at is this way.
Is Joshi’s work still important and relevant. Certainly. Is Joshi a tremendous fan of the genre? Of course. Is Joshi a remarkably well informed and articulate historian? Absolutely. Does Joshi spend a lot of time “reviewing” texts and authors like it was for a book club? You bet. So is he a “scholar” in the way that modern English uses the word? Not really. Should we call any fan or book reviewer a "scholar" if they know their history and philosophy? I don't think so.
As much as we may like them, articulate fans and biographers are not scholars and play by different sets of rules than those within the academic community. Precision demands that the word "scholar" be removed from before Joshi's name in this article as his qualifications and style of writing do not fit the denotation or connotation of the word.
I think this is a perfectly fair diagnosis - the gist of your argument appears to be that Joshi is a (very) qualified enthusiastic amature; an agreeable assessment but we must bear in mind that the field of the weird is very narrow, and recieves scant attention from the larger academic community, and Joshi handles it commendably - his diligent and perceptive work on Lovecraft is as good as any so-called 'proffesional scholar', as it were, could achieve - one need only read his biography of Lovecraft for comfirmation of this. I think we owe it to Joshi to label him 'scholar', his knowlege of his genre is surely formidable enough to merit him that title. -Eam91 22:25 GMT, 6 Nov. 07. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Eam91 (talk • contribs) 22:24, 6 November 2007 (UTC)
- This question is all based on a pretty dubious chain of thought anyway - that "academic" is some sort of precise concept, and that the even more general "scholar" is tied to it. A scholar (see any dictionary) is merely one who studies (with some rigour) a topic or topics. An academic may well be correctly enough described by the first part of the above definition, but there is no justification for linking "academic" - still less "scholar" - with the top academic rank of "Professor" - which is rightly scarce.
- None of this takes away, mind you, from the fact that Joshi's own words, as quoted, might suggest that he is not interested in the title of scholar. Skir77 18:26, 7 November 2007 (UTC)
My take on this Aside in "Discussions" is, that one of the implications of the word "Scholar" (from context) is that a "scholar" denotes someone who is considered a good source of information because they are dedicated to CONSTANTLY being a STUDENT of their subject of choice. Rather than being a sort of "frozen" authority, they are also constantly updating & adding to their chosen interest. Well thats just a bunch of theory on my part, so I thought- "I know, I'll Cheat & look it up!" ... Since I am inherently lazy, I will just use WkiP. to check it. So here is the Wiki entry on the word- To wit-
scholar (plural scholars) 1. A student; one who studies at school or college. 2. A specialist in a particular branch of knowledge. 3. A learned person. 4. One who educates themself for their whole life.
Derived terms ----independent scholar Related terms ----scholarship; scholarly
Yay! I score On context interpretation! By this Def. S. T. fulfills the requirements of that Definition. Can I sweep up the split hairs now?
Joshi and the World Fantasy Award controversy
Joshi has responded strongly to Daniel Jose Older's call for the World Fantasy Award to be changed, and the issue has received coverage: however, aside from the Salon.com piece, most of the coverage is in blogs, so I didn't list them in the article. However, Joshi's criticisms of the demand to change the award are here: http://www.stjoshi.org/news.html
Older's response is here:
There's a Tor.com blog post on the controversy here:
Novelist David Nickle has a post on the issue here:
As does Horror historian Jason Colavito :
Wikipedia isn't a directory of publications
The vast amount of content in this article appears to be listing after listing of everything the subject has written. It should be paired down to notable or selected works. Articles aren't meant to promote or detail everything a writer has written. Ifnord (talk) 20:54, 21 January 2020 (UTC)