For an insight into trends and fads in the humanities world, it is hard to improve on the Arts and Humanities Citation Index. It lists all citations in the major humanities journals—that is, an army of trained slaves keys in every footnote of every article and the computer rearranges them according to the work cited. The compilers of the index examined the records for the years 1976– 1983, and issued a report on the most cited works of the twentieth century. The most cited author was Lenin, which speaks volumes on the state of the humanities in the West towards the end of the Cold War. But the most cited single works were, in reverse order: in third place, Northrop Frye’s Anatomy of Criticism; second, Joyce’s Ulysses; and, well in the lead, Thomas Kuhn’s 1962 book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.

Interest in Kuhn’s book has not waned. The Index is now onli ...