A good rule of thumb is to consider whether the principal context of your discussion is textual or historical.
Spirko holds a Master of Arts from the Shakespeare Institute, Stratford-on-Avon, England.
Many of you have asked us questions about seemingly conflicting rules about which tense to use in a research article abstract, so we wrote this article to clarify the issue.
Use present tense when describing a work’s genre, style, reputation or value, because the work is an artifact that continues to “live” in the culture.
For instance, a paper about the medieval Japanese “Tale of Genji” might describe its iconic status: “This is the first modern novel.” Similarly, “Scholars consider it, rightfully, to be a masterpiece.” The present tense is correct, even though the book was written in the 11th century.