Friday, March 28, 2008

holding pattern

A momentary lull, before the next round of assignments due & department meetings. I have vague hopes of trying to wrest my study into some sort of order, or to get down to actually writing a mid-length poetry project I have planned out – but I suspect the best I'll do is to reply to perhaps 2/3 of the score emails that need to be answered.
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)

1 comment:

Jolly99 said...

A good place to start (or restart) is Hegel's lectures on the History of Phil, where he more or less calls the entire tradition of British empiricism the work of the devil. Though ah hate brits as much as anyone, one sometimes wishes Master Hume had been around to offer some rejoinders to the witchdoctors (I prefer the Treatise to H's Phenom. (or H's bizarre theo-logic), while realizing the Treatise leads to a rather gloomy labyrinthe)..........Dialectic as model, alright with reservations --dialectic as driving spiritual force, nicht.