Freidrich Hebbel’s ‘Profound Question’

In ‘Notebook 11, February 1817’ from Writings From The Early Notebooks (eds. Raymond Geuss and Alexander Nehamas, Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, New York, 2009, p. 81), Nietzsche cites “a profound question of Friedrich Hebbel” [link added]: If the artist made a picture, knowing that it would last for ever, ButContinue reading “Freidrich Hebbel’s ‘Profound Question’”

On Not Living In The ‘Real’ America

I live in Brooklyn, in New York City, but I don’t live in ‘real’ America. I’m surrounded by artifice and fantasy; specters and ghosts walk the streets. The sidewalks beneath my feet are insubstantial; it is a miracle they are able to sustain my corporeal weight. The buildings around me have been plucked straight fromContinue reading “On Not Living In The ‘Real’ America”

Polonius On The Necessity Of Authenticity And Self-Discovery

A Facebook friend asked on her timeline for some clarification of Polonius‘ famous lines in Hamlet, which he offers as–perhaps sententious–advice to Laertes: This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man. Farewell, my blessing season thisContinue reading “Polonius On The Necessity Of Authenticity And Self-Discovery”

The Mixed Pleasures Of Attending Our Own Memorial Service

Wanting to attend our own funerals, our own memorial services, is a fantasy with a long and distinguished pedigree. (As is the associated fantasy of wanting to read our own obituaries.) With good reason. If things have worked out well, many of our friends and family members will be there, hopefully all well-dressed. Importantly, weContinue reading “The Mixed Pleasures Of Attending Our Own Memorial Service”

Parental Anxiety And Its True Subject

In ‘What The Childless Fathers of Existentialism Teach Real Dads‘ John Kaag and Clancy Martin write: Why do we put limits on our children? Why is a daughter not allowed to climb that tree or jump across a river?…Why are neither daughters nor sons allowed to run away? Father knows best….virtually all fathers think thatContinue reading “Parental Anxiety And Its True Subject”

The Dependence Of Autobiography On Biography (And Vice-Versa)

A few weeks ago, I briefly spoke at a conference hosted in honor of my dissertation advisor’s eightieth birthday. In my talk I offered some personal recollections of having worked with Distinguished Professor Rohit Parikh, his intellectual influence on me, and the various lessons–personal, technical, moral–that I learned along the way from him. As IContinue reading “The Dependence Of Autobiography On Biography (And Vice-Versa)”

Oscar Wilde’s Nietzschean Notes In De Profundis

In ‘Suffering is One Very Long Moment‘–part of a series of essays on prison literature–Max Nelson writes on De Profundis–“a letter written by Oscar Wilde during his imprisonment in Reading Gaol, to “Bosie” (Lord Alfred Douglas)”–and makes note that: Certain passages in De Profundis do seem to credit prison with strengthening and deepening their author’s nature, butContinue reading “Oscar Wilde’s Nietzschean Notes In De Profundis”

A Theological Lesson Via Military History

In Hell in a Very Small Place: The Siege of Dien Bien Phu (J. B Lipincott, New York, 1966, p. 85), Bernard B. Fall describes the build-up which foretold the grim military disaster to unfold at Dien Bien Phu–the lack of adequate defenses and ammunition, the poor tactical location etc–making note, along the way, ofContinue reading “A Theological Lesson Via Military History”

John Clare On The Transcendence Nearby

In ‘John Clare and the Manifold Commons‘ (Environmental Humanities, vol. 3, 2013, pp. 71-91) Patrick Bresnihan writes, Clare’s love of the smallest and most trivial details….In its resolute ‘here-and-nowness’…describes nothing more than the most commonplace moments, moments with no higher meaning….the very ordinariness of these moments allows them to resonate with others, to provoke…‘universal feelings.’…theContinue reading “John Clare On The Transcendence Nearby”