I'm still working on this book review. I've never reviewed a book with problems, so I don't really know what the protocol is, or what I ought to do. So please, people who have published many reviews, write in and tell me what I should do.
Here's the deal:
1. It's an edited anthology that was produced in Europe. The introduction has two or three interesting historical observations on the topic, but not much analysis. It doesn't pose any provocative questions or attempt to answer them with the essays in the volume, which is kind of what I thought anthologies were supposed to do. But maybe European anthologies have a different critical approach. Maybe they're less concerned with asking enormous questions and trying to redefine the Renaissance in a ground-breaking way, the way we North American and British folks keep trying to do (and failing). So resisting a grand recit actually would be kind of refreshing, come to think of it.
2. It's full of errors. I wouldn't mind the copy-editing mistakes, but there are some really big ones. For instance, an essay all about Renaissance emblems and poetry repeatedly uses the term energeia ("activity") when the author really means enargeia ("visibility"). Although enargeia is energeia's henchman - "visibility" makes "activity" possible - it's clear that the author of this essay neither understands the difference between the two, nor their relationship. The same article confuses ut pictura poesis (Horace's equation of poetry with painting, which is really about PERSPECTIVE) with poema pictura loquens ("a poem is a talking picture"), a mistake a lot of people make, which never gets corrected because no one reads ancient languages for REAL anymore, or bothers to read the whole of Horace's Ars Poetica and compare it with Plutarch. This really, really bugs me. But maybe I'm overreacting.
3. Sadly, I wish I could write to the editors and tell them about all the mistakes so that they can fix them. This book probably shouldn't have gone to press with so many errors.
So- do I write to the journal who gave me the review and tell them the book shouldn't be reviewed? Or do I review it and mention all its faults in the gentlest way possible? I mean, 500 of my 700 words would be summary anyway . . .
Fellow writers and scholars, please weigh in.