Another of the 1992 photocopies I am recycling is a famous article by Cornelius Castoriadis: The Retreat from Autonomy: Post-Modernism as Generalized Conformism. I had it, of course, because there was no Internet; it is a left critique of postmodernism and Castoriadis has, in general, a great deal to say about subjectivity, the formation of subjects. To really understand Castoriadis, of course, one would read more of him and would also have a good handle on his sources and references. I would still like to study, and to be a serious intellectual.
1/ In the 80s, I was always very taken with Said because he would talk about things my Comparative Literature program would not. I liked the articles “Third World Intellectuals and Metropolitan Culture”, “Travelling Theory,” and other things in Raritan; I liked things in Salmagundi. I should think about this, the fact that these photocopies survived so many moves, an anchor. It is one of the signs pointing to the work I would do.
2/ Nature as protagonist: that is what Fuentes discussed in his 1969 essay on the nueva novela; this is another think I keep thinking about and not naming. And I never saw this 4-volume anthology of Sosnowski’s, and it would be good to have for the graduate students.
3/ I should teach more courses on the novella and short novel. I should use Yuri Herrera’s novels, which I have done before, and I should try El lobo, el bosque y el hombre nuevo which I never have.
J. E. Pacheco, Morirás lejos.
On James Mill, progressive versus traditional education, and charter schools.
The other Foucault — what led him to politics?
Crackeros, novelists I should read.
I want to read but first I need to calm down. I don’t feel calm in small towns. I’d also like to live somewhere with bookstores, and other signs of intellectual life. On the weekends, I’d like to go out in nature. It wouldn’t be humid, and there would be mountains.
And we will read about these Andean avant-gardes. There is so much I am interested in.
This was an issue of the journal I liked quite a lot at the time and always kept to reread, but that has yellowed. Yet we can still read it.
I do not agree with everything in this Appiah article on primitivism but there are some very interesting references in it.
I have been in Utrecht for a week and it has changed me greatly. I want to live here. I looked at some notes I made the first day and I know so much more about the town now, and the Netherlands are so much more familiar now.
I have learned something important: the idea that was imposed upon me, that one should finish the Ph.D. in a field like letters, and then decide what to do with one’s life, is an aristocratic one, was what aristocrats actually did. It is not an odd neurosis of mine that one must first prove personhood via the Ph.D. and ideally tenure in a top place in a humanities field before going on with one’s life, finding ones true field and vocation — it is an aristocratic ideal that was actually communicated to me as a requirement.
This is very interesting. Parents who want children out of the nest, on the one hand, but want to tie them to it hand and foot, on the other. I had some other psychoanalytic insights as well, about early infancy.