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Blog entries on '14 February 2006'

Tuesday 14 February 2006

Melville's Marginalia

From Melville's Marginalia Online:


The acclaimed writer of Moby-Dick, Billy Budd, Sailor and other revered works of American literature was also, as might be expected, a great reader of books. Yet few even among American literary scholars are familiar with the scope and variety of Herman Melville's personal library, and the profound influence of his reading on the growth of his intellect and on the composition of his own fiction and poetry. From youth onward Melville educated himself through rigorous, systematic reading, a habit of life and mind he assumed after the bankruptcy and death of his father required him to withdraw from formal schooling. By the time of his death in 1891, Melville’s library numbered some 1,000 volumes before being dispersed among friends, family members, and second-hand book sellers in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Posted by Mark Thwaite
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Tuesday 14 February 2006

Mitchell on Heidegger ... and John Gray

The enowning blog brings my attention to a blogcasted conversation with Andrew Mitchell about the philosophy of Heidegger. (More on Stanford podcasts.) Mitchell is a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Humanities at Stanford University with research interests in contemporary continental philosophy, philosophy and literature, and he is in conversation (the programme is called Entitled Opinions and it has a great archive, with programmes on Robert Musil, Michel Tournier, Virgil, Proust, Camus and more) with Robert Harrison (author of the superb The Dominion of the Dead).


enowning itself has recently had some interesting things to say about the provocative John Gray. For me, Gray's anti-humanism is leaden and unsophisticated and you can sense that the bloke was once scarily right-wing, but he seems to be what passes muster as a public intellectual these days so I'm glad to see enowning bothering to read him carefully:


Gray is here following a common pattern: Heidegger is considered an important philosopher by those who have read him; I don't understand him; Heidegger was a Nazi; Nazism is universally condemned; I'll simply dismiss Heidegger's way of thinking by ascribing his politics to it. It is, of course, Heidegger's own fault that his critics can avail themselves of this excuse, but it doesn't say much for the critics either.

Posted by Mark Thwaite
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Augustus

As you sow, so shall you reap. The bags packed,
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Word of the Day

The Dord, the Diglot, and an Avocado or two

Pre-order Anu Garg's new book: The Dord, the Diglot, and an Avocado or Two: The Hidden Lives and Strange Origins of Common and Not-So-Common Words (ISBN 9780452288614), published by Penguin more …

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October's Books of the Month

The New Spirit of Capitalism The New Spirit of Capitalism
Luc Boltanski; Eve Chiapello
Horizons Touched: The Music of ECM Horizons Touched: The Music of ECM
Steve Lake, Paul Griffiths

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