THE trouble with modern education is that there is far too much of it, and mostly the wrong kind, as Tony Hassall explains, recalling the delicious mischief worked by The Australian some years ago:
Literary theory became the uber-discipline, supplanting literature as the primary object of study, and Australian literature was collateral damage. Just how far Australian literature slipped off the radar was graphically illustrated a few years ago when 12 local publishing houses rejected a chapter from a Patrick White novel mischievously submitted to them, by this newspaper, with only the characters' names changed. No one in the publishing industry recognised the work of this celebrated Australian author, whose style is, to say the least, idiosyncratic.
Things have only grown worse in the ivory tower. If your fondest desire is to be published by a university press, don’t bother sending a serious manuscript to once-reputable MUP, where the tastes of commissioning editors and submission sifters run lately to gangland memoirs, self-hating Hebrews, climate catastropharians and coppers who didn’t let a few flames spoil dinner.
But perhaps that appraisal is just a tad too harsh. MUP has published at least one decent book of late.