Thursday, May 18, 2006

Great Literary Hoaxes

Loren Rosson's Busybody featured a great post on literary hoaxes a while back.

The focus at the Busybody is on letters, books, etc., but there's a killer literary hoax that appeared as a journal article not long ago. I think Alan Sokal's work, "Transgressing the Boundaries: Toward a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity," in Social Text 46-47 (1996), 217-252, is a true classic. For the weary or those needing sleep, see http://www.physics.nyu.edu/faculty/sokal, where it looks as though Sokal has made a career out of his hoax. You can read the article in question, as well as articles where Sokal revealed the hoax and explained why he did it. Whether one agrees with Sokal or not, the hoax is a killer, and it makes a great point (from his perspective). It primarily shows that if you write about certain issues (esp. those that are PC) with a certain high diction, you can write absolute crap and get away with it.

1 Comments:

Blogger James Crossley said...

I'm with you on this one Jason. I've had to read and then re-read then re-read again some of the stuff that Sokal parodies. Now you are in the UK if you look at the satirical magazine Private Eye they have a section Pseuds Corner where they give genuinely quotes and references from people which are a bit pretentious. More often than not you get an academic abstract of the variety Sokal parodies.

3:31 AM, May 25, 2006  

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