Unpacking my library

I am unpacking my library. I have given away a good photocopy of Robert Young’s White Mythologies, a book I would like to have available, because it is a photocopy. I am about to give away good paperback copies of Bakhtin’s Rabelais and Beverley and Zimmerman’s Literature and Politics in the Central American Revolutions, because I keep on not reading them.

I am lightening my book load so that I can see what I have. I keep coming back to essentials, things I accumulated in graduate school because they were truly difficult to come by (then). They might be available online now, we will see.

I have my father’s books. I like these, the books from long ago, that signified one could have knowledge and work. A work. I am arranging these books and my books, letting their air blow through me, and I am satisfied.

I learned in academia that in order to survive it one must be a perfect prisoner. One must allow and tolerate any form of mistreatment, yet survive, and not complain, and produce a great deal. One must renounce all individuality, all humanity, and all desire, so as to avoid the worst tortures and remain alive until liberation or release.

Truly good prisoners would be able to become famous writers from prison, it was said, but I noted that I would only be able to conserve my ideas to write on later.

I am digging them out.



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Filed under News, What Is A Scholar?

4 responses to “Unpacking my library

  1. sophylou

    I wish I could gift you my dissertation advisor, and a mentor from my earlier grad program. Grad school was very unpleasant in a lot of ways, but my advisor was always about the value of intellectual desire, making sure you chose things that you were really passionate about, and my earlier mentor was similar, and also stressed finding one’s colleagues. I suppose it’s arguable that that hurt me on the job market, because I had a to hard-to-categorize dissertation and “my” colleagues were hard to find in the doctoral program, which did feel prison-y at times, but long-term, that emphasis on having something you really wanted to be doing has been a good influence to have had.

    • Z

      Muy interesante — I didn’t get the prison-y thing until professordom, graduate school was largely great.

      Field, I have been out of place since college, due to (a) being seriously interested in learning languages and (b) feeling I had to at least split the difference between arts (what was expected of me) and social/ environmental sciences (what I was interested in) by being in humanities (the nice liberal arts compromise).

      Your dissertation director sounds great, though. Mine mistrusted me, had this idea I would not finish, so I could not change topics.

  2. You got to leave that place. There are many places where you could be happy but this just doesn’t seem like one of them. Sorry, I just had to say this! I hope you manage to get out.

    • Z

      Yes, and the politics are particularly bad right now. But there is also what I transfer onto it, which is largely what this post is about. I am sloughing that off (my complaining posts actually arise from periods of transformation) so as to make a move.

      The Cure would be an instant move, it is true, but there are some practical obstacles that have to be removed so that the said move can be realized. :-D

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