title.none: Response to Menache on Williman on Menache (Williman)

identifier.other: baj9928.9904.007 99.04.07

identifier.issn: 1096-746X


publisher.none: .

date.issued: 1999


type.none: Review

relation.ispartof: The Medeival Review

The Medieval Review 99.04.07

Reviewed by:

A reply to Sophia Menache on Daniel Williman on Sophia Menache's Clement V, TMR 99.03.20,

By Daniel Williman

Professor of Classics and History

With thanks to the editors of TMR for the opportunity to present it, I have this reply to Sophia Menache.

The first two and a half paragraphs of Professor Menache's note do not accurately meet my critical remarks, as any reader can see in my review as archived. Re-examining my review side by side with the response, I see no reason to retract my general judgements and no good to be gained by counter-argument in detail.

Whether Clement V was a pope of Avignon or not: I have still, after careful review of the book, failed to understand what, in the author's mind, the question means; or what historical conclusions could be drawn from an answer; or what the answer is. I regret this failure, but I don't feel that the fault is mine. Instead, as I said in my review, the style of the book is such as to prevent the communication of historical knowledge. This is not an esthetic judgement but a scientific one. A historian ought to reach clear understandings and then write them clearly. Yes, I do find fault in the work of the Cambridge University Press editors: they should not have passed this text to print as it stands. But responsibility for all its faults and credit for all its virtues go by custom to the one whose name appears on the title page.

Then there is the matter of plagiary, passing as one's own the knowledge or the expressions of another.

One particular dispute over references, that in numbered paragraph 2], is drawn clearly enough to be argued. Guillemain (Cour, p. 76) reads: "il n'est reste que 160 jours a Avignon. Au contraire, il a passe ... 133 jours a Chateauneuf, 92 a Monteux." Menache p. 23, AFTER note 92, reads "Clement did not reside in Avignon for more than 160 days, whereas he spent 133 days in Chateauneuf and 92 days in Monteux." The papal registers are not mentioned in the book as the source of this information. I can answer all the other protests over references together: the standards of academic honesty require that every piece of information and every construction of facts which a writer takes from another writer should be attributed to that source with a citation. An omission in one place is not excused by observances elsewhere.

The academic convention on quotation marks is also sterner than the one Prof. Menache adopts for herself. If another writer has already devised an elegant, persuasive phrasing for a thought or judgement which one shares, there is no harm in adopting that form of words and incorporating it, and no shame either. But the omission of quotation marks is a claim, a false claim, that the wording is one's own work. If you lift a 38-word sentence off someone else's page, you do not make it your own by adding one word and one suffix. I think Cambridge University Press and Prof. Colin Morris would agree, if asked.