Layers of honesty and dishonesty

Academic scholarship succeeds brilliantly at times because it is disinterested: you need not know why a scientist, for example, is studying fruit flies. But I’m not interested in that kind of work. In my profession, one of the great failings of literary theory has been that the writing is not only impersonal, it also seeks mightily to be free of contradictions. How many university professors do you know who don’t present themselves as unimpeachable authorities? I have made a fairly conscious decision to produce writing that is honest. And even as I say that, I realize that one of the things I try to do is reveal the layers of honesty and dishonesty in what I’m writing.

Amitava Kumar

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