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It seems short-sighted, indeed, to assume that thematic lists offered in
response to an individual's query have no value but to that particular
individual.  It is equally narrow, to my mind, to insist that summaries
of such lists posted after the deluge (of lists) provides the same
intellectual stimulus as the drips and drops in time do.
 
Scholars work from suggestion; ideas often develop because of one idea's
being placed inadvertently in juxtaposition to another apparently unrelated
idea.  The synthesis requires creativity ... and sometimes more -- but
little lists of associations provide an inestimable source.  I know that
I changed the entire focus of my doctoral dissertation (on 17th and 18th
century theater and revolution) after attending a completely unrelated
MLA session on Sam Shepherd followed within hours by a Wim Wenders film.
If I'd stuck to what I *knew* was relevant -- I'd have missed the unique
inspiration and my final product would have suffered for my narrowness.
And I know that a simple accident of viewing sequence can broaden and
develop one's vision of culture and (for example) feminism -- one evening
I watched Joy Luck Club, What's Love Got to Do With It? Out of Africa
and Thelma and Louise, and an article born of that is currently in process.
 
So I say keep the lists coming -- it's a gift for those of us who strive
for new inspirations.
                                               Shari L. Rosenblum
                                               ---slrbm@cunyvm---