Finished Walter Kaufmann's Hegel: A Reinterpretation (Anchor, 1966). Not sure who I'd recommend this to – dedicated Hegelians won't need or want it, neophytes are better off with Peter Singer's OUP introduction – but I enjoyed it immensely in a rather perverse way. Kaufmann trawls thru the entire body of Hegel's career & works, providing one of the most perverse running commentaries I've ever encountered. It's almost like the t-shirt: "I don't have an attention problem – hey, look! a chicken!" He'll start talking about the Logic or the Preface to the Phenomenology, then tack off on a two-section tangent about how Royce misread Hegel, & how Wm: James's essay on Hegel is really an essay on Royce, then wander into a discussion of how poorly the various posthumous editions of something have been edited. An endless session of foreplay, it seems at times. Let's discuss the Encyclopedia: but before we can actually talk about the contents, we need to lay out the detailed contents pages of the 3 volumes; oh, look – Hegel changed some of the contents between editions, & he combined some sections – how fascinating! 20 pages later, the patient reader gets 3 pages, not summarizing, but pronouncing on the significance of the Encyclopedia.
Long discursuses on how Goethe didn't influence the Phenomenology, how Schopenhauer, Heidegger, Schleiermacher, & Kierkegaard got it wrong. And a lovely packet of letters & reminiscences at the end, including this jewel from Heinrich Heine:
One beautiful starry-skied evening, we two stood next to each other at a window, and I, a young man of twenty-two who had just eaten well and had good coffee, enthused about the stars and called them the abode of the blessed. But the master grumbled to himself: "The stars, hum! hum! the stars are only a gleaming leprosy in the sky." For God's sake, I shouted, then there is no happy locality up there to reward virtue after death? But he, staring at me with his pale eyes, said cuttingly: "So you want to get a tip for having nursed your sick mother and for not having poisoned your dear brother?" – Saying that, he looked around anxiously, but he immediately seemed reassured when he saw that it was only Heinrich Beer, who had approached to invite him to play whist...***
On the earbuds: Gavin Bryars, Cadman Requiem; Art Ensemble of Chicago, The Third Decade; Praxis, Transmutation (Mutatis Mutandis)