My title is totally plagiarized from an essay in the Chronicle of Higher Education authored by Jonathan Brent, a professor of history and literature at Bard College. Why? In order to direct you to his essay -- and here are some tantalizing quotations to enhance your desire to find it, somehow, on line or off -- and read along.
Quotation 1: Unerstanding a document's origin is essential to establishing its historical meaning. When was a document written? What were the circumstances surrounding it? Who wrote it? In what language? For what purpose? (Chronicle, p. B4, December 7, 2012)
Quotation 2: How could such a great work be thrown onto the street of contemporary discourse like a homeless person? (Chronicle, p. B5, December 7, 2012)
Leaving to the side the troubling equation of discarding a "great work" and discarding a person, these two quotations should raise some interesting dilemmas for Shimerians. If you are still not intrigued, try this:
Quotation 3: "The uniqueness of a work of art is inseparable from its being embedded in the fabric of tradition," wrote Walter Benjamin. . . (Chronicle, p. B4, December 7, 2012).