Hanging Together from Introducing Philosophy

The following excerpt is from our forthcoming Introducing Philosophy: Knowledge and Reality, which is written by Jack S. Crumley II.

Introducing Philosophy image jpg

When a belief of ours fits with, or “hangs with,” other beliefs, we are no doubt inclined to give greater epistemic weight or credibility to that belief. It is not very difficult to see why. Recall this feature of beliefs: They provide a picture of or a representation of the world. That’s just what it means to talk about the content of a belief—it’s a little bit of information (about the world). Indeed, that’s why theorists are inclined to talk about beliefs as representational. Of course, for various reasons we might have doubts about whether to trust any particular bit of information. We are understandably encouraged to “trust” some particular belief if we find that its particular information fits with other pieces of information—other beliefs—in our possession. The more the belief fits, the greater our trust. A single belief is a bit like a piece of jigsaw puzzle. By itself, a single piece of the puzzle does not make a lot of sense. Yet once we see how the piece fits together with other pieces, once we see the way it interlocks with other pieces, we understand where the piece fits in and why we need it. The pieces “hang together.” Similarly, as some particular belief content fits with more and more other contents—other beliefs—the more inclined we are to trust that first belief. That is, if some bit of “belief information” can be seen as a piece of a larger picture presented by our other beliefs, then we are more inclined to see that belief as epistemically trustworthy.

Ezra Pound on Dubliners

Our edition of Dubliners, edited by Keri Walsh, is now available! We’d like to share an excerpt from Appendix A of our new edition.

For more information on the text, visit our website at broadviewpress.com.
From Ezra Pound, “Dubliners and Mr. James Joyce,”
The Egoist (15 July 1914)

Freedom from sloppiness is so rare in contemporary English prose that one might well say simply, “Mr Joyce’s book of short stories is prose free from sloppiness,” and leave the intelligent reader ready to run from his study, immediately to spend three and sixpence on the volume.

Unfortunately, one’s credit as a critic is insufficient to produce this result.

The readers of The Egoist, having had Mr Joyce under their eyes for some months, will scarcely need to have his qualities pointed out to them. Both they and the paper have been very fortunate in his collaboration.

Mr. Joyce writes a clear hard prose. He deals with subjective things, but he presents them with such clarity of outline that he might be dealing with locomotives or with builders’ specifications. For that reason one can read Mr. Joyce without feeling that one is conferring a favour. I must put this thing my own way. I know about 168 authors. About once a year I read something contemporary without feeling that I am softening the path for poor Jones or poor Fulano de Tal.

I can lay down a good piece of French writing and pick up a piece of writing by Mr. Joyce without feeling as if my head were being stuffed through a cushion. There are still impressionists about and I dare say they claim Mr. Joyce. I admire impressionist writers. English prose writers who haven’t got as far as impressionism (that is to say, 95 per cent of English writers of prose and verse) are a bore.

*     *     *     *

Mr. Joyce’s merit, I will not say his chief merit but his most engaging merit, is that he carefully avoids telling you a lot that you don’t want to know. He presents his people swiftly and vividly, he does not sentimentalize over them, he does not weave convolutions. He is a realist. He does not believe “life” would be all right if we stopped vivisection or if we instituted a new sort of “economics.” He gives the thing as it is. He is not bound by the tiresome convention that any part of life, to be interesting, must be shaped into the conventional form of a “story.” Since De Maupassant we have had so many people trying to write ‘stories’ and so few people presenting life. Life for the most part does not happen in neat little diagrams and nothing is more tiresome than the continual pretence that it does.

Mr. Joyce’s “Araby,” for instance, is much better than a “story,” it is a vivid writing.

It is surprising that Mr. Joyce is Irish. One is so tired of the Irish or “Celtic” imagination (or “phantasy” as I think they now call it) flopping about. Mr. Joyce does not flop about. He defines. He is not an institution for the promotion of Irish peasant industries. He accepts an international standard of prose writing and lives up to it.

He gives us Dublin as it presumably is. He does not descend to farce. He does not rely on Dickensian caricature. He gives us things as they are, not only for Dublin, but for every city. Erase the local names and a few specifically local allusions, and a few historic events of the past, and substitute a few different local names, allusions and events, and these stories could be retold of any town.

That is to say, the author is quite capable of dealing with things about him, and dealing directly, yet these details do not engross him, he is capable of getting at the universal element beneath them.


I think that he excels most of the impressionist writers because of his more rigorous selection, because of his exclusion of all unnecessary detail.

There is a very clear demarcation between unnecessary detail and irrelevant detail. An impressionist friend of mine talks to me a good deal about “preparing effects,” and on that score he justifies much unnecessary detail, which is not “irrelevant,” but which ends by being wearisome and by putting one out of conceit with his narrative.

Mr. Joyce’s more rigorous selection of the presented detail marks him, I think, as belonging to my own generation, that is, to “nine-teen-tens,” not to the decade between “the ‘nineties” and to-day.

Lenore Keeshig [Tobias], “Stop Stealing Native Stories”

The following is an excerpt from our recently published Introduction to Indigenous Literary Criticism in Canada, edited by Heather Macfarlane and Armand Garnet Ruffo.

Indigenous Literary Criticism

Lenore Keeshig [Tobias], Anishinaabekwe, was born on Neyaashiinigmiing (the Cape Croker Reserve) on the Saugeen Peninsula in Ontario. An Ojibway journalist, storyteller, poet, children’s author and activist, she is a founding member—along with Daniel David Moses and Tomson Highway—of the influential literary group “The Committee to Reestablish the Trickster,” Keeshig [Tobias] fought actively to promote Indigenous voice and writing throughout the 1980s, and into the 1990s—at a time when many Indigenous writers found themselves shut out of the publishing industry. Keeshig [Tobias] became one of the most influential spokespeople of the appropriation of voice controversy which started in the Writer’s Union of Canada, when she asked non-Natives to “stop stealing Native stories” …

“Stop Stealing Native Stories” appeared in the Globe and Mail in 1990 and is revolutionary for its condemnation of appropriation of voice. The article appeared as part of a larger debate that condemned the critics of those speaking in the voice of others, accusing them of censorship … Overlooked by non-Indigenous critics focusing on the censorship question, the related issues of retention and promotion of Indigenous language and cultural sovereignty are at the heart of Keeshig’s [Tobias] concerns.

Keeshig [Tobias], Lenore. “Stop Stealing Native Stories.” Globe and Mail (26 January 1990): A7.

Stop Stealing Native Stories

Clear the way.
In a sacred manner I come.
The stories are mine!

—Ojibway war song

Critics of non-native writers who borrow from the native experience have been dismissed as advocates of censorship and accused of trying to shackle artistic imagination, but their objections are prompted by something much more.

Where the Spirit Lives may be a bad film. Bone Bird by Calgary novelist Darlene Barry Quaife may oversimplify native spirituality.(1) W.P. Kinsella’s Hobbema stories(2) may be insulting. But the real problem Is that they amount to culture theft, the theft of voice.

Canada’s francophones have a strong and unique voice in North America. Why? Because they have fought to ensure that their language remains intact. Language is the conveyor of culture. It carries the ideas by which a nation defines itself as a people. It gives voice to a nation’s stories, its mythos.

How do Canadians feel about the US mythos defining them and their country? This is quickly becoming a reality, I fear, because Canadians have been too quick to hand over their voice and their stories to Americans.

Stories, you see, are not just entertainment. Stories are power. They reflect the deepest, the most intimate perceptions, relationships and attitudes of a people. Stories show how a people, a culture, thinks. Such wonderful offerings are seldom reproduced by outsiders.

This is the root of the problem with Where the Spirit Lives, which deals with the treatment of native students in government-sponsored residential schools during the 1930s. The film has been shown on the CBC and TVOntario and as part of Canada Day at the recent festival in Palm Springs, Calif.(3)

So what is it all about, anyway? In the end, a little Indian girl and her brother ride off into the vast, uninhabited wilderness (Anne Shirley goes west?). They ride right out of the sentimentalized Canadian consciousness—stoic child warriors noble in defeat, marching home with Bible in hand. (A book of truth, perhaps, but whose?)

Native people were not involved in any creative aspect of the film. Their voice was heard only through cultural consultants hired to provide the nuances and insights lacked by the movie’s writer and producers.

Cultural insight, nuance, metaphor and symbols give a book or film the ring of truth, but their essence—the thing that gives stories universal appeal, that allows true empathy and shared emotion—is missing from Where the Spirit Lives, as it is from most “native” writing by non-natives.

Canadians all too often use native stories, symbols and history to sell things—cars, tobacco or movies. But why hasn’t Basil Johnston’s Indian School Days become a bestseller? Why hasn’t Half Breed by Marla Campbell been reprinted?(4) (Why, for that matter, has Ms Campbell, as one of Canada’s “celebrated” authors, never received a writer’s grant?)

Where the Spirit Lives, after having squeezed out the native version of what happened in the residential schools, turns around and tells natives to make their own movies. How can we? Even if we had access to financial backers, they would say: “Residential schools? It’s been done.”

With native people struggling for justice with land claims and in education, what makes Canadians think they have equality in the film industry? In publishing? With agencies that make arts grants? In the arts themselves?

Instead, the Canadian cultural industry is stealing—unconsciously, perhaps, but with the same devastating results—native stories as surely as the missionaries stole our religion and the politicians stole our land and the residential schools stole our language. As Leslie Marmon Silko writes in Ceremony,(5) stories “are all we have, you see—all we have to fight off illness and death.” As a storyteller I was once advised by an elder that there is a season for storytelling—winter. “Blackflies, mosquitoes and other creatures like those stories,” she cautioned.

How quaint, I thought. Nonetheless, I respected her advice and, as time went on, I began to understand it. If storytellers sit around all summer telling stories, then surely they’ll become the feast of blackflies and mosquitoes. My elder was telling me that these stories are meant for certain ears only—and native ears.

So potent are stories that, in native culture, one storyteller cannot tell another’s story without permission.

But why are Canadians so obsessed with native stories anyway? Why the urge to “write Indian”? Have Canadians run out of stories of their own? Or are their renderings just nostalgia for a simpler, more “at one with nature” stage of human development? There’s a cliché for you.

Maybe Canadian stories about native people are some form of exorcism. Are they trying to atone for the horrible reality or native-Canadian relations? Or maybe they just know a good story when they find one and are willing to take it, without permission, just as archaeologists used to rob our graves for museums.

What about the quest for native spirituality? It is mostly escapist, and people such as Ms. Quaife would rather look to an ideal native living in never-never land than confront the reality of what being native means in Canadian society.

For example, residential-school survivors tell of children being forced to eat their own vomit when their stomachs could no longer hold down the sour porridge. They tell of broken knuckles from fingers being rapped. Some even tell of having pins stuck through their tongues as punishment for speaking their own language. (Now, that’s censorship.)
And what about the teacher who was removed from one residential school for abusing children? He was simply sent to another, more remote school.

It’s not that these stories have never been told; Canadians just haven’t heard them. Nor does it mean our writers and storytellers are incompetent and inexperienced, as Mr. Kinsella seems to suggest.
It means our voices have been marginalized. Imagine, Canadians telling native stories because their government outlawed native languages, native culture.

However, as Ms Campbell said on CBC Radio’s Morningside, “If you want to write our stories, then be prepared to live with us.” And not just for a few months.

Hear the voices of the wilderness. Be there with the Lubicon, the Innu. Be there with the Teme-Augama Anishnabi on the Red Squirrel Road. The Saugeen Ojibway. If you want these stories, fight for them. I dare you.

(1)Darlene Barry Quaife, Bone Bird (Turnstone P, 1989), winner of the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book.
(2)William Patrick (W.P.) Kinsella is the prolific and controversial author of what he calls his “Indian stories,” set on the Hobbema Reserve in central Alberta. These books include Dance Me Outside (1977), also a feature film, The Fencepost Chronicles, winner of the 1987 Stephen Leacock Medal, Brother Frank’s Gospel Hour (1994), and The Secret of the Northern Lights (1998).
(3)Where the Spirit Lives is a dramatic film about Aboriginal children in Canada residential schools. Written by Keith Ross Leckie and directed by Bruce Pittman, it aired on CBC Television in 1989 and released in the USA in 1990. It was screened at numerous film festivals, including the Palms Springs International Film Festival.
(4)Maria Campbell, Halfbreed (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1973).
(5)Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony (New York: Viking Penguin, 1977).

Tekahionwake on Indigenous Representation in 19th C Fiction

Here is an excerpt from our appendices of the recently published Tekahionwake: E. Pauline Johnson’s Writings on Native North America.

A Strong Race Opinion: On the Indian Girl In Modern Fiction

[In this essay, Johnson attacks dominant stereotype of the “Indian maiden” and argues that writers should try to find out about real Indigenous people, rather than simply repeat the usual platitudes and phrases. Her references reveal her wide knowledge of Indigenous activism and of works about and by Native Americans published on both sides of the border. This essay was first published in the Toronto Sunday Globe on 22 May 1892.]

Every race in the world enjoys its own peculiar characteristics, but it scarcely follows that every individual of a nation must possess these prescribed singularities, or otherwise forfeit in the eyes of the world their nationality. Individual personality is one of the most charming things to be met with, either in a flesh and blood existence, or upon the pages of fiction, and it matters little to what race an author’s heroine belongs, if he makes her character distinct, unique and natural.

The American book heroine of today is vari-coloured as to personality and action. The author does not consider it necessary to the development of her character, and the plot of the story to insist upon her having American-coloured eyes, an American carriage, an American voice, American motives, and an American mode of dying; he allows her to evolve an individuality ungoverned by nationalisms — but the outcome of impulse and nature and a general womanishness.

Not so the Indian girl in modern fiction, the author permits her character no such spontaneity, she must not be one of womankind at large, neither must she have an originality, a singularity that is not definitely ‘Indian.’ I quote ‘Indian’ as there seems to be an impression amongst authors that such a thing as tribal distinction does not exist among the North American aborigines.

The term ‘Indian’ signifies about as much as the term ‘European,’ but I cannot recall ever having read a story where the heroine was described as ‘a European.’ The Indian girl we meet in cold type, however, is rarely distressed by having to belong to any tribe, or to reflect any tribal characteristics. She is merely a wholesome sort of mixture of any band existing between the Mic Macs of Gaspe and the Kwaw-Kewlths[1] of British Columbia, yet strange to say, that notwithstanding the numerous tribes, with their aggregate numbers reaching more than 122,000 souls in Canada alone, our Canadian authors can cull from this huge revenue of character, but one Indian girl, and stranger still that this lonely little heroine never had a prototype in breathing flesh-and-blood existence!

It is a deplorable fact, but there is only one of her. The story-writer who can create a new kind of Indian girl, or better still portray a ‘real live’ Indian girl who will do something in Canadian literature that has never been done, but once. The general author gives the reader the impression that he has concocted the plot, created his characters, arranged his action, and at the last moment has been seized with the idea that the regulation Indian maiden will make a very harmonious background whereon to paint his pen picture, that, he, never having met this interesting individual, stretches forth his hand to his library shelves, grasps the first Canadian novelist he sees, reads up his subject, and duplicates it in his own work.

After a half dozen writers have done this, the reader might as well leave the tale unread as far as the interest touches upon the Indian character, for an unvarying experience tells him that this convenient personage will repeat herself with monotonous accuracy. He knows what she did and how she died in other romances by other romancers, and she will do and die likewise in his (she always does die, and one feels relieved that it is so, for she is too unhealthy and too unnatural to live).

The rendition of herself and her doings gains no variety in the pens of manifold authors, and the last thing that they will ever think of will be to study The Indian Girl’ from life, for the being we read of is the offspring of the writer’s imagination and never existed outside the book covers that her name decorates. Yes, there is only one of her, and her name is ‘Winona.’[2] Once or twice she has borne another appellation, but it always has a ‘Winona’ sound about it. Even Charles Mair, in that masterpiece of Canadian-Indian romances, ‘Tecumseh,’ could not resist ‘Winona.’[3] We meet her as a Shawnee, as a Sioux, as a Huron, and then, her tribe unnamed, in the vicinity of Brockville.

She is never dignified by being permitted to own a surname, although, extraordinary to note, her father is always a chief, and had he ever existed, would doubtless have been as conservative as his contemporaries about the usual significance that his people attach to family name and lineage.

In addition to this most glaring error this surnameless creation is possessed with a suicidal mania. Her unhappy, self-sacrificing life becomes such a burden to both herself and the author that this is the only means by which they can extricate themselves from a lamentable tangle, though, as a matter of fact suicide is an evil positively unknown among Indians. To-day there may be rare instances where a man crazed by liquor might destroy his own life, but in the periods from whence ‘Winona’s’ character is sketched self-destruction was unheard of. This seems to be a fallacy which the best American writers have fallen a prey to. Even Helen Hunt Jackson, in her powerful and beautiful romance of ‘Ramona,’[4] has weakened her work deplorably by having no less than three Indians suicide while maddened by their national wrongs and personal grief. […]

[1] Mic Macs, from eastern Canada now refer to themselves as Mi’kmaq; often the west coast nations that form the Kwakwaka’wakw were referred to by the name of one of them, the Kwakiutl or Kwagulth, which Johnson does here.

[2] Winona is the name the Lakota (Sioux) traditionally gave to their first-born daughters; the name was popularized by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s Song of Hiawatha, where Hiawatha’s mother is named Winona.

[3] Charles Mair (1838-1927). Tecumseh: A Drama (Toronto: Hunter, Rose, 1886).

[4] Helen Hunt Jackson (1830-1885) was inspired by the Ponca activist, Standing Bear (c. 1829-1908) to take on the Native American cause. Ramona (1884), which described the mistreatment of the Native Americans of Southern California by the federal government, became a bestseller.

Professionalization within/beyond Academia

At the recent ACCUTE conference in Calgary, our English editor, Marjorie Mather, gave a talk about publishing as a career for graduate students.  A condensed version of her talk follows.

I want to begin by saying that my comments on publishing are based on my own experience at Broadview Press, a single independent, Canadian, academic publisher. My advice may not apply to all kinds of publishing careers, but I hope that it will still be useful!

Broadview is an academic publisher in the Humanities. We publish editions, anthologies, and textbooks in English, Philosophy and History. Our publishing is primarily for course adoptions; we don’t publish new fiction or poetry, and our books have a small general readership, though they are often read by scholars as well as students. We also publish very few truly scholarly books, such as original monographs or hardcover editions intended for libraries.

Broadview currently employs 29 people across Canada in editorial, permissions, production, sales and marketing, distribution, and accounts. The majority of our hires in editorial, sales, and marketing have Master’s degrees, but we also hire people with Bachelor’s degrees (like me!) and PhDs, as well as a few people who began doctorates but then decided to leave academia.

Our editorial hires are primarily for acquiring and managing editor positions, as our copy-editing and proofreading are done by freelance academic editors. We also have one full-time and two part-time developmental editors on staff; they write content for our books and companion websites and also do more substantive editing work where needed. Our acquiring and assistant editors do market research, review book proposals, contact potential authors, and work with our production team to manage books as they go through production.

Though many bookish people focus on editorial positions when they think about a career in publishing, you might want to consider other aspects of the industry, such as book production or sales and marketing. These jobs can be rewarding, and they provide a lot of opportunities to engage with and talk about books. They can also be a good way to get a feel for the industry.

From Academia to Publishing: Transferable Skills

What academic skills and experience are especially transferable to publishing?

  1. This might be obvious, but academic knowledge. A broad understanding of an academic discipline—being able to identify key scholars, exciting new ideas, and recent scholarly trends—is a real asset.
  1. Research. Research is extremely important to editorial work, but also to sales and marketing jobs. If you are creative, persistent, and smart about finding information, it can give you an advantage in publishing, where you might need to track down an elusive potential author, the copyright holder of an obscure work, or a professor who might adopt our books but is never in her office.
  1. Interpersonal skills. How do you take criticism? Can you give constructive feedback to others and express yourself in a clear and diplomatic way? Can you adapt to new situations and ideas? These are all skills that graduate seminars, and working with peers and with a supervisor, can teach. Publishing is a collaborative industry, and this kind of experience is valuable.

When applying for a job, it helps to emphasize these skills along with your research achievements —this makes it easier for us to see how your hard work in graduate school can translate into a job in publishing. I have mixed feelings about résumés that emphasize skills at the expense of biographical facts, but your cover letter is a good place to tell a story about how your experience contributed to your skills. I’ll also note that a passion for literature and love of reading are wonderful things, but not unique assets in this field!

What academic skills and attitudes might be less relevant to a publishing career?

  1. Working independently. Graduate study can be collaborative and co-operative, but it can also be competitive and sometimes isolating. Shifting gears from a focus on your own research goals to the shared goals of a company can be a challenge. When working in publishing it will also be necessary to ask for help and to constantly rely on others’ skills and knowledge. In my experience, this is true of senior employees as well as those at the entry level.
  1. Investment in your own scholarly project or interest. We often need to separate the inherent value of a book or text from its marketability. All of us at Broadview get excited about works that have intriguing subject matter or are important to literary history—many of the successful works in the Broadview Editions series fall into these categories. But we have to remember that this excitement doesn’t always translate into course adoptions, and we sometimes have to let go of our personal attachment to a project that might not be marketable.
  1. Writing for a scholarly audience. At Broadview, most of the writing we do is professional: interoffice emails, memos, editorial board packages, and sales emails. Our developmental editors write for a student audience, drafting author headnotes and other apparatus. Editors create marketing copy for catalogues and the website, and our marketing team sends newsletters and posts on social media. It can be tough to adapt to these different audiences after years of writing scholarly papers and grant proposals. Practicing in some non-academic styles can keep your writing muscles limber; writing blog posts, crafting informal presentations, and even creative writing can make it easier to shift out of the scholarly voice later.

Do You Want to Work in Publishing?

Academic publishing is a highly collaborative, complex, and often fast-paced business. If your fantasy is of working with manuscripts and exploring texts in depth, the career may not be what you expect. For many of us the job involves a lot of meetings, a lot of spreadsheets, and a lot of business travel. It can also be limiting in terms of geography, with many Canadian publishers (but not all!) based in the Toronto area.

But it can also be an extremely engaging and varied career—there are always surprises and unexpected challenges. There is often room for professional growth and upward mobility within a company (I started as a temporary email sales rep, as did many other full-time staff members). I have been with Broadview for 12 years and can honestly say that I learn new things almost every day—about the business and the industry as well as about the fields in which we publish. I also work with smart, collegial, amazing people: colleagues, authors, and other publishers. I hope that you all go on to the academic jobs of your dreams, but if you are thinking of another path, academic publishing can be a great way to use skills acquired in graduate study.

Copyright in Canada: The Damage Caused by Unfair Interpretations of “Fair Use”

Originally published in The Hill Times on Wednesday, April 6, 2016

A significant part of the debate about copyright in Canada is over the question of whether authors and publishers are in fact being hurt by educational institutions refusing to compensate them for the use of copyrighted material.

The background here needs to be filled in. Many Canadian universities have interpreted a 2012 Canadian Supreme Court “fair use” ruling (regarding the use of “short excerpts” in classrooms) to mean that copyrighted works such as poems, short stories, and plays may be used in photocopied or digital coursepacks for students, without any compensation being paid to authors or publishers (provided each work is copied from a text or collection in which it comprises no more than 10% of the whole); instructors are thus encouraged to assemble their own entire anthologies for use in their classes—again, with no compensation whatsoever provided to the authors or copyright holders.

The extent of the damage caused by this interpretation of the law by educational institutions shouldn’t be exaggerated; the financial health of authors and publishers in Canada is not, of course, entirely dependent on payments for use of copyrighted material. But is the change hurting Canadian authors and publishers? There can be no question about that.

Let me provide some detail so far as Broadview Press is concerned. Although we at Broadview have managed to make at least a tiny profit in each of the years since 2012, in most of those years it’s been in the range of $50,000-$100,000—and we estimate the effect for us will be at least $100,000 annually if the universities’ interpretation of the Court’s decision (involving what seems to us to be an egregious distortion by Canadian universities of the meaning of the words “short excerpts”) becomes universal across Canada. Already we estimate we are damaged to the tune of at least $50,000 annually by this interpretation having become as widespread as it has.

Thus far we have continued to publish 40-45 titles per year, and we will certainly remain in business for the foreseeable future. The danger is not that we will disappear as a publisher, but that our publishing program will become far smaller, far less interesting, and far less culturally significant. If we do receive reasonable compensation (whether in the form of a per copy fee or an overarching per student fee for all coursepack and related uses), we can continue to justify publishing culturally valuable but commercially iffy collections such as Native Poetry in Canada and Introduction to Indigenous Literary Criticism in Canada—as we would certainly like to do! (We also like to keep prices very reasonable–unlike some other publishers of post-secondary textbooks, sad to say.) But if we receive no compensation whatsoever, we simply can’t continue to publish books of that sort; we cannot work for free. In that case we will simply have to focus more on publishing introductory composition texts and introductory logic texts that are less susceptible to being pillaged for “short excerpts.” Such books are, I think it’s fair to say, on average of less cultural value. But if the only way we can pay the bills is by publishing a steady diet of books of that sort, I’m sure that’s what we’ll do.

I should also make clear that we are not the sort of press that regards any and every protection of copyright or extension of copyright as being in the public interest. Another vitally important copyright issue on the table now in Canada is the Trans Pacific Partnership; if that agreement is ratified, copyright restrictions in Canada will go from 50 years after the death of the author (already too long, in my opinion) to a full 70 years after the death of the author, thereby preventing for an additional generation the publication of competing editions of literary classics—editions that can often be of immense cultural and pedagogical value.

Finding an appropriate balance in copyright issues is not easy. But in one direction it is surely unfair to simply not compensate authors and publishers of copyrighted material that is used to put together what are, in effect, entire textbooks. And in the other direction it is surely not fair to make it impossible to publish competing editions of century-old works, so that an author’s great grandchildren (or a corporation such as Disney, if copyright is held by an organization) can still retain an exclusive hold on all publication rights of a work that should have long ago entered the public domain.

Don LePan
CEO and Company Founder, Broadview Press

The Paradox of the Heap, from John L. Bell’s Oppositions and Paradoxes

In Oppositions and Paradoxes John L. Bell explores a variety of mathematical and scientific paradoxes with philosophical precision, while retaining a great sense of humour in his investigations. In this excerpt, Bell formulates and works through “The Problem of the Heap,” asking: how many grains of sand does one need to make a heap, exactly?

The paradox of the heap or sorites paradox (from the Greek sōritēs “heap”)—attributed to the ancient Greek philosopher Eubulides of Miletus—arises from the vagueness of certain predicates in ordinary language. In a typical formulation, we consider a heap of sand, from which grains are removed one by one. The paradox arises when one considers what happens when the process is repeated sufficiently many times. For suppose we make the natural assumption that, if we remove a single grain from a heap, we are still left with a heap. Then eventually just a single grain remains: is it still a heap? Or are even no grains at all a heap? If not, when did the heap change into to a non-heap?

We can turn the paradox on its head by starting with a totally bald man, and, noting that any man with just one more hair than a bald man is still bald, conclude that every man must be bald. For a man with no hair is bald, so a man with just one hair is bald, and thus a man with two hairs is bald, … whence a man with any number of hairs is bald.

A related formulation of the paradox is to suppose given a set of coloured chips such that the variation in colour of two adjacent chips is too small—a difference in wavelength of 1 nanometre say—for the human eye to be able to distinguish between them. Suppose that the first chip is coloured violet, which has a wavelength of about 400 nanometres, and the last chip is coloured red, with a wavelength of 650 nanometres. If we assume, as in the case of the bald man, that a chip whose colour differs in wavelength by one nanometre from a violet coloured chip would still be seen as violet, then the ‘bald man’ argument leads to the conclusion that the red chip would also have to be seen as violet.

The paradox can be reconstructed for a variety of predicates—all of which can be seen to be vague—for example, with “short,” “poor,” “young,” “red,” and so on.

A natural response to the paradox is to introduce a “fixed boundary” to the concept of heap by defining a “heap” to be a set of grains containing at least a certain fixed number—10000, say—of grains. In that case, a set of 9999 grains is not a heap but one of 10000 is. This seems unnatural since there would appear to be little significance to the difference between 9999 grains and 10000 grains. Wherever the boundary is set, it remains arbitrary. A more acceptable, if radical solution would be to call any collection of two or more a heap!

The paradox can be given a striking formulation by generalizing the colour example above. Suppose that we have a set S of things—colours, collections of grains of sand, people—on which is defined arelation I which we shall call indistinguishability. So for two elements a and b of S, a and b will be in the relation I—which we write as aIb—if and only if a is indistinguishable from b. We shall suppose that I is reflexive—for any a, aIa—and symmetric—for any a, b, aIb if and only if bIa. Let us call a property (or predicate) P defined on S vague if it is preserved under indistinguishability, that is, if aIb and P(a) then P(b) (in words: anything indistinguishable from something with the property P also has the property P). Let us say that two elements a, b of S are connected if there is a sequence a0, …, an of elements of S such that a0 = a, an = b and, for each i, ai,Iaii+1. Call S connected if each pair of elements of S are connected.

Suppose now that S is connected. Then, for any vague property P on S, if some element of S has P, then every element of S has P. To see this, suppose that a is an element of S such that a has the property P—we write this as P(a)—and let b be an arbitrary element of S. Then since S is connected, there is a sequence a0, …, an of elements of S such that a0 = a, an = b and, for each i, ai,Iaii+1. Now since P(a), i.e., P(a0) and a0Iai1, it follows from the vagueness of P that P(a1). From this it follows similarly that P(a2), whence P(a3) and so on. Finally we obtain P(an), i.e., P(b). Since b was arbitrary, we conclude that every element of S has P.

From this we infer that a vague property either applies to everything, or it applies to nothing. For example, consider the case of the vague predicate “bald” or better, baldish. Here S is the set of (heads of) men and I is the relation of differing by at most one hair. Then, if there is at least one baldish man, all men are baldish—including Brad Pitt. If, on the other hand, there is at least one nonbaldish man, then all men are nonbaldish—including Bruce Willis.

New to the Broadview Anthology of British Literature: Thomas Dekker’s Plague Pamphlets

Broadview recently released a third edition of The Broadview Anthology of British Literature Volume 2: The Renaissance and the Early Seventeenth Century. As with all new editions of our anthology, the third edition of Volume 2 features exciting new material. In this entry of the Broadview Blog, we present a sample of this material: two excerpts from The Wonderful Year, Thomas Dekker’s pamphlet chronicling the plague that struck London in the year of Elizabeth I’s death. A comprehensive list of additions to the anthology—and to its companion website “BABL Online”—also appears below. More information about The Broadview Anthology of British Literature is available here.

From Dekker’s The Wonderful Year, on the plague in the city and the country:

In this pitiful (or rather pitiless) perplexity stood London, forsaken like a lover, forlorn like a widow, and disarmed of all comfort: disarmed I may well say, for five rapiers[1] were not stirring all this time, and those that were worn, had never been seen, if any money could have been lent upon them, so hungry is the ostrich[2] disease, that it will devour even iron: let us therefore with bag & baggage march away from this dangerous sore city, and visit those that are fled into the country. But alas! … you are peppered[3] if you visit them, for they are visited already: the broad arrow of death, flies there up & down, as swiftly as it does here: they that rode on the lustiest geldings,[4] could not out-gallop the Plague. It overtook them, and overturned them too, horse and foot.

You whom the arrows of pestilence have reached at eighteen and twenty score … you that sickening in the highway, would have been glad of a bed in an hospital, and dying in the open fields, have been buried like dogs, how much better had it been for you, to have lain fuller of boils and plague sores than ever did Job,[5] so you might in that extremity have received both bodily & spiritual comfort, which there was denied you? For those misbelieving pagans, the plough-drivers, those worse than infidels, that (like their swine) never look up so high as Heaven: when citizens boarded them[6] they wrung their hands, and wished rather they had fallen into the hands of Spaniards: for the sight of a flat-cap was more dreadful to a lob, then the discharging of a caliver[7].…

Illustration from Thomas Dekker, A Rod for Runaways, 1625:

Dekker plague image

From The Wonderful Year, the story of an inebriated man’s adventure:

About twelve of the clock at midnight, when spirits walk, and not a mouse dare stir, because cats go a caterwauling:[8] Sin, that all day dares not show his head, came reeling out of an alehouse, in the shape of a drunkard, who no sooner smelled the wind, but he thought the ground under him danced the Canaries:[9] houses seemed to turn on the toe, and all things went round: insomuch, that his legges drew a pair of indentures,[10] between his body and the earth, the principal covenant being that he for his part would stand to nothing whatever he saw: every tree that came in his way, did he jostle, and yet challenged it the next day to fight with him. If he had clipped but a quarter so much of the King’s silver, as he did of the King’s English,[11] his carcass had long before this been carrion for crows. But he lived by gaming, and had excellent casting,[12] yet seldom won, for he drew reasonable good hands, but had very bad feet, that were not able to carry it away. This setter-up of malt-men,[13] being troubled with the staggers, fell into the self-same grave, that stood gaping wide open for a breakfast next morning, and imagining (when he was in) that he had stumbled into his own house, and that all his bedfellows (as they were indeed) were in their dead sleep, he, (never complaining of cold, nor calling for more sheets) soundly takes a nap till he snores again: in the morning the sexton comes plodding along, and casting upon his fingers ends what he hopes the dead pay of that day will come too, by that which he received the day before, (for sextons now had better doings than either taverns or bawdy-houses): in that silver contemplation, shrugging his shoulders together, he steps ere he be aware on the brims of that pit, into which this worshipper of Bacchus[14] was fallen, where finding some dead men’s bones, and a skull or two, that lay scattered here and there; before he looked into this coffer of worms, those he takes up, and flings them in: one of the skulls battered the sconce[15] of the sleeper, while the bones played with his nose; whose blows waking his musty worship, the first word that he cast up, was an oath, and thinking the cans had flown about, cried zounds,[16] what do you mean to crack my mazer?[17] The sexton smelling a voice, (fear being stronger than his heart) believed verily some of the corpses spoke to him, upon which, feeling himself in a cold sweat, took his heels, while the goblin scrambled up and ran after him: but it appears the sexton had the lighter foot, for he ran so fast, that he ran out of his wits, which being left behind him, he had like to have died presently after.

List of changes in the third edition of The Broadview Anthology of British Literature Volume 2: The Renaissance and the Early Seventeenth Century:

  • Additions of selections from Baldassare Castiglione’s The Courtier (Il Cortegiano), presented in Thomas Hoby’s early modern English translation
  • Thomas Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy
  • Considerable expansion of Elizabeth I’s writings and speeches
  • More cantos from Edmund Spenser’s Faerie Queene
  • Selections from Sir Philip Sidney’s Arcadia
  • All-new selections of Irish, Gaelic Scottish, and Welsh literature
  • Mary Sidney Herbert’s writings now appear in the bound book
  • Margaret Cavendish, whose work has always appeared in the third volume of the anthology, is now featured in this volume as well
  • New contextual materials:
    • Ian Munro has prepared a sampling of “Tudor and Stuart Humor”
    • Section providing context on “Ranters, Levellers, and Diggers” prepared by Joseph Black
    • New materials on emblem books and on manuscript culture have been added to the “Culture: A Portfolio” contexts section
  • New to companion site:
    • Thomas Deloney’s subversive prose narrative Jack of Newbury, in an edition by Peter C. Herman
    • Thomas Dekker’s popular play The Shoemaker’s Holiday (forthcoming), edited by Diane Jakacki
    • The complete text of Aemilia Lanyer’s Salve Deus Rex Judeaorum, edited by Carol Blessing
    • An expanded selection of transatlantic material, including works by John Smith and William Bradford (forthcoming)

Footnotes from the Dekker excerpts:

[1] rapiers  Long, thin swords.
[2] ostrich  Having the fabled behaviors of ostriches, which include a willingness to eat almost anything, especially hard objects.
[3] peppered  Pelted with shot, or infected with a disease that gives its victims spotted sores (like syphilis or plague).
[4] lustiest geldings  Most vigorous castrated male horses.
[5] Job  Eponymous protagonist of the Old Testament book of Job, who was struck by God with extreme poverty, disease, and destitution, to be later saved and restored for his faith and patience.
[6] boarded them  Provided them with lodging and food.
[7] flat-cap  Cap worn by citizens of London;  lob  Lout or country bumpkin;  caliver  Light sort of musket.
[8] caterwauling  Shrieking and wailing while in heat.
[9] the Canaries  Il Canario, a vibrant Spanish dance style supposedly based on a dance performed by the aboriginals of the Canary Islands.
[10] legges  Legs, with a possible pun on “lieges”;  pair of indentures  Identical contracts, which were produced in pairs so that both parties could keep one.
[11] If he … English  A pun on the word “clip,” meaning “to slur one’s speech,” and the practice of coin clipping, shaving precious metals from the edges of coins to make a profit—a crime that was punishable by execution.
[12] casting  Counting; in this usage, of cards.
[13] malt-men  Makers of malt (in this case, clearly, malt for beer).
[14] Bacchus  Roman god of wine.
[15] sconce  Head.
[16] zounds  An abbreviation of the oath “by God’s wounds.”
[17] mazer  Humorous word for head.

The Broadview Sources series in history launches with The Trial of Charles I

We are very pleased to announce the launch of the Broadview Sources series with the March 2016 publication of K.J. Kesselring’s The Trial of Charles I. Each volume in this new series features a short overview of a historical topic, together with a collection of documents. Geared towards the undergraduate classroom, these texts allow students to engage with a diverse collection of primary sources. Inexpensive and short (usually no more than 200 pages), the volumes provide convenient access to carefully curated sets of documents. The accessible introductions are authored by experts in the field.


The new series features a wide trim size that leaves space for marginal glosses of key terms, and also allows readers to make marginal notes. In addition to excellent introductions, these volumes offer additional apparatus such as a chronology, a glossary, and key images that will help provide additional context and guidance for students.

Other forthcoming titles in the Broadview Sources series include The Stamp Act Crisis, edited by Jonathan Mercantini of Keen University, and Documenting Humans and Animals in American History, 1700-1975, edited by Adam Shprintzen of Marywood University. If you’d like to submit a proposal for the series please contact Brett McLenithan, one of our Acquisitions Editors. We’d also be happy to discuss any other book project ideas you may have within the discipline of history, as this is an area in which we are now actively acquiring.

Trial of Charles

This particular volume focuses on the trial and execution of King Charles. This event marked a watershed in English politics and political and legal theory, and thus also affected subsequent developments in those parts of the world colonized by the British.

This book presents a selection of contemporaries’ accounts of the king’s trial and their reactions to it, as well as a report of the trial of the king’s own judges once the wheel of fortune turned and monarchy was restored. It uses the words of people directly involved to offer insight into the causes and consequences of these momentous events. The editor, K.J. Kesselring, is Professor of History and Associate Dean, Academic, at Dalhousie University. She is the author of The Northern Rebellion of 1569 and Mercy and Authority in the Tudor State, and the co-editor with Tim Stretton of Married Women and the Law: Coverture in England and the Common Law World.

Below we’ve provided the table of contents from The Trial of Charles I in the hopes that it will give you a better sense of this book and of the structure of the Broadview Sources series.

Trial of Charles I Table of Contents

Questions to Consider

Part 1: Trying the King

  1. Title page and Extracts from John Nalson, A True Copy of the Journal of the High Court of Justice for the Tryal of K. Charles I (London, 1684)
  2. Lord President Bradshaw’s Speech: Extract from Gilbert Mabbott, A Perfect Narrative of the Whole Proceedings of the High Court of Justice (London, 1649)
  3. The Death Warrant of Charles I

Part 2: Reactions and Aftermath

  1. Acts Establishing a Republic
    1. Extracts from “An Act for the abolishing the Kingly Office in England and Ireland, and the Dominions thereunto belonging” (1649)
    2. Extracts from “An Act for the Abolishing the House of Peers” (1649)
    3. “An Act Declaring and Constituting the People of England to be a Commonwealth and Free State” (1649)
  2. A Contemporary Depiction of the King’s Execution
  3. A “Martyr” Speaks from the Grave: The King’s Eikon Basilike (London, 1649): Extracts and Frontispiece to the Eikon Basilike
  4. A Soldier’s Doubts: Extracts from Francis White, The copies of several letters contrary to the opinion of the present powers (London, 1649)
  5. Principles and Pragmatism: Extracts from John Lilburne, The legal fundamental liberties of the people of england revived, asserted, and vindicated (London, 1649)
  6. Overthrowing “Kingly Power” as well as Kings: Extracts from Gerrard Winstanley, A New Year’s Gift for the Parliament and Army (London, 1650)

Part 3: Trying the King-Killers

  1. A Contemporary Depiction of the Executions of the King and of His Judges
  2. The Trial of Major General Harrison: Extracts from Heneage Finch, An Exact and most Impartial Accompt of the Indictment, Arraignment, Trial, and Judgment (according to Law) of Twenty Nine Regicides (London, 1660)

Glossary of Key Figures and Terms
Select Bibliography

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