>So there are primary texts--writers who are more important to read than
>others in a given field, with given discourse conventions, in a given
>time, and given place. That these givens may all ultimately arbitrary and
>subjective and deconstructable doesn't do much to mitigate the force they
>exert on graduate students learning a field, preparing for oral exams,
>writting dissertations, or professionals getting published, doing research
>and teaching, getting tenure and promotion.
but these are primary texts in a local and very l;imited sense -- only in as
far as they affect the lives of graduate students wishing to join a
profession. literature, however, made claims for 100 years and more that
the value of the primary texts were that they were (vaguely) spiritually
fulfilling, ethically rewarding, and aesthetically sublime.
i see the value in looking locally for short-lived, temporary, heterogenus
fragments of understanding. however, there's too much baggage in "primary"
and "secondary" labels for them to be helpful markers.