Lambda the ultimate peer review

Here you can find some amazing(!) peer reviews of a few famous papers (by Dijkstra, Turing, etc.).

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I'm a bit unclear

Were these actual comments received by the authors of these (obviously groundbreaking) papers; or are they (as the purported Einstein performance review suggests) the author's idea of what a typical modern peer reviewer (on who is allegedly uninterested in groundbreaking science) might have written, had he had the chance to review the papers in question (without the benefit of hindsight, obviously).

If the former; very damning--ossification is always a problem that science should take care to watch out for.. If the latter--still an interesting parody, but far less damning.

The style used--and the circumstances of some of the papers in question--makes me suspect the latter. For example, Dijkstra's Goto considered harmful paper was published as a letter, rather than as a full journal article, and the now-imfamous title was added at the last minute by the editor--Nicklaus Wirth--and not by Dijkstra himself. And any peer reviewer who objected to Turing's mention of the Entscheidungsproblem on the grounds that the word is German, would probably not be competent to referee any paper in mathematics; lest he find the works of Gödel, Gauss, Euler et al, and the terminolgy they introduced, discomforting.

(edited for formatting)

Lexicon of Musical Invective

I am reminded of Nicolas Slonimsky's Lexicon of Musical Invective, a book of critics' scathing reviews of works by famous composers.

For example:
"Recently there was given the overture to Beethoven's opera Fidelio and all impartial musicians and music lovers were in perfect agreement that never was anything as incoherent, shrill, chaotic and ear-splitting produced in music. The most piercing dissonances clash in a really atrocious harmony, and a few puny ideas only increase the disagreeable and deafening effect."


I emailed the author:

I wanted to ask you: did you make up these rejection letters yourself or did you track down the actual reviewers' responses?

Well, the reviews are a collage of reviews that I have seen of some papers (mine and of other people) that have been rejected because, I thought, the reviewr had completely misunderstood the paper. After a rejection at a database conference for what I thought were completely preposterous reasons, I had the idle thought that today even Codd's paper on relational data bases (the foundation of the whole field) would never make it into a major data base conference. Hence the idea of the article. Many of the sentences that I use in the article are from actual reviews. I added some of my own on the same spirit, and I adapted the examples to the epoch in which every single paper had been written.