Cover: Air & Light & Time & Space: How Successful Academics Write, from Harvard University PressCover: Air & Light & Time & Space in HARDCOVER

Air & Light & Time & Space

How Successful Academics Write

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Product Details


$24.95 • £19.95 • €22.50

ISBN 9780674737709

Publication Date: 04/17/2017


280 pages

5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches

8 line illustrations, 1 table


[Sword’s] approach is a refreshing break from the conventions of a genre that offers neat, one-size-fits-all solutions to writers’ struggles… The real triumph of Sword’s book stems from the extensive interviews she’s conducted with 100 prominent academic writers and editors.—Maximillian Alvarez, The Chronicle of Higher Education

Sword’s new book shows that there are as many ways to be productive as there are writers.—Rachel Toor, The Chronicle of Higher Education

I strongly recommend Air & Light & Time & Space for anyone who would like to experiment with, and think more deeply about, their writing practices. It is a book which has been crafted with great elegance.—Fawzia Haeri Mazanderani, LSE Review of Books

Part how-to-write manual and part rigorous study. Filled with tidbits, quotes, profiles, and anecdotes, it shines light on academic writing from a writer’s perspective, revealing the idiosyncrasies, rituals, and practices that make writers out of scholars.—Gricel Dominguez, Library Journal

Helen Sword does it again. In an age of academic doom, she inspires. Here she manages to be both data-driven and delightful: you have to read to see how she combines so much evidence and so much pleasure. She makes you want to consume creative academic writing—not just hers—and to try to produce nothing less.—Brian Boyd, author of Why Lyrics Last: Evolution, Cognition, and Shakespeare’s Sonnets

Helen Sword delightfully shows that, contrary to lazy opinion, academics do not have to write in soggy, wooden, leaden, stuffy, turgid, or bloated prose. She makes the case with insightful analyses and lighthearted interviews, but her own prose is as good an illustration as any.—Steven Pinker, author of The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century

Like Tolstoy’s families, happy writers are alike (and also, perhaps, nonexistent); struggling writers, however, suffer in their own ways. Helen Sword shows the diversity of productive academics’ writing practices and serves up a range of useful strategies to help those who find writing painful succeed in getting words on the page and even—believe it or not—bring some pleasure to the process.—Rachel Toor, author of Misunderstood: Why the Humble Rat May be Your Best Pet Ever

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Jacket: An Inquiry into Modes of Existence: An Anthropology of the Moderns, by Bruno Latour, translated by Catherine Porter, from Harvard University Press

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In awarding Bruno Latour the 2021 Kyoto Prize for Arts and Philosophy, the Inamori Foundation said he has “revolutionized the conventional view of science” and “his philosophy re-examines ‘modernity’ based on the dualism of nature and society.” Below is an excerpt from An Inquiry into Modes of Existence: An Anthropology of the Moderns. For more than twenty years, scientific and technological controversies have proliferated in number and scope, eventually reaching the climate itself. Since geologists are beginning to use the term “Anthropocene” to designate the era of Earth’s history that follows the Holocene