Flexible Intimacies in Three Moves: A Genre Analysis of the Scholarly Book Preface
Scholarly prefaces, preceding the main content of scholarly books, provide a platform for authors to introduce their books. While the genre of the scholarly book preface is stabilized by its recurrent nature, it is simultaneously extremely flexible and less constrained than many other academic genres. Drawing on rhetorical genre studies, this paper examines the stabilities and flexibilities of form and substance in nine scholarly prefaces and the effect that varying the range of target audience has on the flexibilities of the preface genre. Ultimately, this paper concludes that scholarly prefaces not only have conventionalized rules and established moves to establish connections with the readers, but also exhibit notable flexibility of form and substance as a function of situation. Specifically, as the target audience expands, preface authors adjust levels of intimacy to achieve various subsidiary purposes.