Introduction to Theory of Literature, Part 1

Lecture 2 Foucault, Barthes, and the death of the author. I am a writer (for hire) of commercial texts. An author of discourses subject to ownership. Am I alive? [Two weeks later.] Lecture 3 Complicated stuff, glad to have a guide. Envisioning a multimedia accompaniment to the ideas of hermeneutic circles and other hard-to-grasp philosophical …

One to Many

Peter Thiel famously asks in interviews: “What important truth do very few people agree with you on?” The question asks for a belief going against overwhelming popular consensus – for example, Galileo’s support for the Copernican heliocentric universe. How do you answer if you’re not Galileo? An unscientific response to the question would take the …

Elephants in the Room

Now that I’m blogging, I need to publish more often. This poses more than a few challenges. First, I have a certain writing style. I’m picky about my word choices – for example, I would never let “poses more than a few challenges” make it through the ordinary filter. “Ordinary filter,” that’s out too. Cliché, …

My Yale Years

As a high school senior in 1987, I wanted to go to Yale but didn’t have the grades or perfect SATs or the right extracurricular activities or a good application essay or a chance in hell. What I did have was the belief that I belonged with the elite. My belief wasn’t entirely unjustified, as …