Labour lost in Arden takeover

May 10, 1996

Jonathan Bate ("Much ado", THES, May 3) worries about the future of the Arden Shakespeare after the International Thomson takeover of Routledge.

He would have done much better to have worried earlier, when Routledge was busily gobbling up a variety of imprints (including those of some small university presses) and thereby establishing its near commanding position in non-university academic publishing, partially at the expense of the rich diversity of smaller houses.

Professor Bate is now simply a victim, instead of a beneficiary, of the takeover process. It is a sad process, no doubt, but he does himself and our profession no good by adopting the naive, and somewhat arch position of the baffled academic: he is arguably our finest Shakespeare scholar, a position he has not achieved by neglecting any of the "small print". He risks appearing disingenuous by hiding behind that same "small print" to justify both his and others' continuance on the Arden project.

Edward J. Esche Senior lecturer in English Anglia Polytechnic University

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