A slight oversight

March 18, 2010

I don't know why (other than out of courtesy) Kevin Sharpe exempts Times Higher Education from his criticism of slight book reviews ("Caliban casts out Ariel", 25 February).

In the new format "mag" (word chosen deliberately), which I'm sure has been commercially very successful, the long scholarly reviews of the past have been replaced by briefer, punchier, but much less detailed ones, written sometimes by people seemingly chosen to demonstrate diversity rather than scholarship. Pictures fill the space reviews once took. "Lifestyle" features (I support knitting, but ...) have crept in, which I'm sure most of us skip. The Letters page is anodyne and/or self-serving. The loss of intellectual vitality in British culture goes deeper than Sharpe will admit.

Sue Powell, Chair in medieval texts and culture, University of Salford.

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