Cinderella; or Music and the Human Sciences. Unfootnoted Musings from the Margins

Botstein, Leon

It has become fashionable among scholars to wax autobiographical with the reader, presumably to shed any remnant of the illusion (suggested implicitly by the conventional apparatus of a scholarly text and footnotes) that one might be speaking with an objective voice, or with an argument
whose merits can be considered and even accepted without reference to personal and therefore circumstantial prejudice. Today's penchant for presumed full disclosure of one's subjective standpoint, however, is more likely either a species of authorial vanity masquerading as methodological scrupulousness or evidence of a greater interest in oneself than the subject
one is writing about. In this case, the reader who wishes to distill the prejudices of the author and speculate on their origins must begin with the author's notion that one can talk effectively about the character and value of arguments by using procedures of reading and research that hold
up under scrutiny and require no subjective apologetics. Botstein concludes that the definition of future methods of analysis, including the setting of the research agenda, cannot be undertaken from within the current traditions of music history or musicology.



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Columbia University
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January 29, 2015