Latest Issue

The genius of jargon

Marjorie Garber is the queen of US cultural studies. She knows everything and nothing about culture

When I was an editor at Harper’s magazine in New York, I would regularly receive essays from academics hoping to communicate to a wider public. More often than not I was pleasantly surprised by their eloquence and accessibility. Most of these writers knew how to wear their learning lightly, and their essays were a testament to the proposition that clear thinking and good writing are as likely to be found within the university walls as beyond them.

Occasionally the results were not so happy. In particular, I remember a piece by an ambitious young scholar whose prose, he assured me,…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect