National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version

Spring 2004


Published in Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council 5:1, Spring/Summer 2004. Copyright © 2004 by the National Collegiate Honors Council.


Samuel Beckett, not Vladimir Nabokov, is the most self-reflexive of novelists; and in a flurry of self-reflexivity, one of his narrators finally admits to a fundamental deficit: “if there is one question I dread, to which I have never been able to invent a satisfactory reply, it is the question what am I doing?” In his usual compelling and concise way, Sam Schuman works in his article to invent an answer to the question, What ought we to be doing in Forum for Honors? And invent an answer we must, if the Forum is to fulfill its lofty ambition of being a serious academic journal. In many ways, Schuman’s answer is satisfactory. Articles in the Forum should indeed be concrete, new, interesting, and important; they should of course be models of good scholarly writing in providing sufficient evidence and proper documentation. Schuman’s proposal serves well, in part, because it states principles about which there is broad agreement, though much disagreement will inevitably arise as to whether a particular submission to the Forum meets Schuman’s criteria for good scholarship.