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TLS Review: How to Be an Intellectual

27th May 2015


How to Be an Intellectual has received a glowing review in the latest issue of the Times Literary Supplement: 

“In his final and most vivid chapter, Williams combines the personal and the critical. He writes a riveting and heartfelt tribute to his former teacher, Michael Sprinker, a brawny, brusque and brilliant professor of English and Comparative Literature, who came from a working-class background, and whose teaching was unstinting in its energy and left no soul untouched. It is here that Williams, also humorously tells the story of his own career and previous jobs – in a prison, in a second-hand bookstore, and as editor of the Minnesota Review. Out of such experiences comes his much-needed attack on academic-speak: terms such as “problematic” are “just clunky”, he writes; why not say “troublesome” or “contradictory” if that is what you mean? His editing advice should be compulsory reading at universities – academics and journalists can learn from each other. Jeffrey Williams beats the drum for critics to become public intellectuals who address injustice and contribute to society. And he leads by example.”—Marina Gerner, Times Literary Supplement, 22nd May 2015

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