The Books That Wouldn’t Die

“Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex (1949), Erving Goffman’s The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life (1956), Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962), Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities (1983). Scholars rarely write books like these anymore: ambitious, erudite works that boldly set forth big, origChronicle for Higher Educationinal ideas but were written as much for other scholars as for a broad public ... Yet despite making their authors’ reputations, Undead Texts rarely received their disciplines’ most coveted book prizes. It is easy to see why: although undeniably scholarly, Undead Texts were also, in their day and ours, radically antidisciplinary ... They're alive, despite being rebutted, criticized, and cast out of the disciplines from which they came!”

In this article for The Chronicle of Higher Education, director