Every day, more scholars are writing more words for less money than ever before.
Aquarter century has passed since Russell Jacoby coined the term "public intellectuals" in a book meant to mark their extinction. In The Last Intellectuals: American Culture in the Age of Academe, published in 1987, Jacoby defined public intellectuals as "writers and thinkers who address a general and educated audience." The term was new, he explained, but there had been public intellectuals for centuries: "The greatest minds from Galileo to Freud have not been content with private discoveries; they sought, and found, a public." Since the 1960s, their numbers, never high, had been plummeting. Lewis Mumford and Edmund Wilson were born in 1895, Walter Lippmann in 1889. By 1987, Wilson and Lippmann were dead and Mumford was in decline. Where, Jacoby wanted to know, were the young Mumfords and Lippmanns and Wilsons? There were none.