Invitation and Conversation: The Value of Quotation
In a piece at the Bending Genre blog, essayist Patrick Madden discusses the value of quoting others in your work. His post focuses primarily on the uses of quotation in essay and creative nonfiction writing, but his thoughts apply equally well to the way that quotation can and should work in academic writing:
The practice of quoting wiser others is engrained in our consciousness from an early age, when we learn, essentially, that our own thoughts are worthless unless they have a point, and our points are invalid unless we back them up with proof from reputable sources. It’s no wonder that, apart from our dutiful classwork, we take a strong disliking to quotation. But essayists use quotation in essays not as ethos-ballast to stabilize arguments nor as linguistic decoration from a lost/loved prose style, but as invitation and conversation as well as humble recognition that we are all influenced, we all think through others’ thoughts, whether we admit it or not.