Helping Mark Allan Ohm translate Garcia's magnum opus was probably the second hardest thing (after caring for a newborn) I've yet done, and it's tremendously validating to get a pat on the shoulder as well as to see that other people agree with me that it was not time wasted.
To be clear, if you had to translate a one hundred seventy thousand plus word metaphysics tome from its original French, you could not do better than to translate one by as preternaturally gifted a writer as Tristan Garcia. But it's still a lot of moving pieces you have to juggle for sustained periods.
Somewhere Graham Harman wrote that your biggest enemy is the blank page. Just tell yourself that your first draft is going to suck and that you'll have plenty of time to rewrite. I find this pretty helpful advice.
Emily doesn't mention a couple of other things we both do. First, it really helps if writing is ritualized. I always end up writing about the same time of the day in the same place and listening to music. These slowly change as life presents different obstacles and possibilities, but they usually stay the same for months or years. Right now the only way I can write is to wake up at 4:45 AM, ride my bicycle into my office by 6:00 AM, and get a few hours in before students start to show up and make noise. Second, distractions should be minimized. Emily writes in a little side room in our house where the wifi doesn't come in. In addition to writing in my office before the custodial staff even show up, I've found that things go much better if I don't open facebook until I've finished whatever goal I set the night before for my writing.
Finally, Graham Harman also somewhere said that your second biggest enemy is the completed book or article. It's very important the day before to figure out exactly what tiny piece you want to get accomplished the next day (of course there might be some lagniappe, but focus on the tiny piece) and then when you're actually writing don' t worry about anything but that tiny piece.
Fight the empty page by (a) typing and see what happens, and (b) telling yourself the first draft will suck, but that doesn't matter because most writing is rewriting,
Find ritualistic times, places, and stimulations (music, caffeine, whatever),
Minimize distractions, and
Fight the spectre of the complete book by figuring out the night before exactly what little bit you are going to tackle the next day.
Admittedly these are not sufficient. You also have to cultivate certain character traits that keep you doing it. If you are writing for publication, you have to be able to get back up over and over again and resubmit things that have often been rejected multiple times. When the acceptance rate is lower than 5%, that means if you are average with respect to other people submitting you will have to submit at least twenty times for each acceptance. The odds of acceptance are vastly worse in fiction. There's a karmic balance though. If it's easier to get academic work published, it's not any easier to get it read. The overwhelming majority of articles and books never get cited by anyone other than the author self-citing her own texts later on. Most of us have to master the art of writing into the void.
If writing into the void drives you nuts, take some consolation in the fact that even the people most cited are in all likelihood writing into the void as well. I'm not talking about the heat death of the universe. Intellectual fashion is fickle. Suzanne Langer and Hans Vaihinger were probably bigger names than anyone writing today, but who is teaching their books. If Nelson Goodman can fall from grace, then anyone can and almost everyone will.
The benefit of writing into the void is that it keeps us honest. There's a bit of a paradox here. The collective system that does or doesn't recognize us only works if enough people remain unmotivated by collective recognition. I'm sure a good Hegelian like Robert Brandom would have interesting things to say about this. . . but I need to get back to work.
In preparation for the publication of a novel of hers by Kensington Books, my wife has started a blog. It's HERE.
Publicity with a commercial press for fiction is a whole different ballgame than it is with academic work. You are supposed to have a blog, a facebook fan page, a twitter account, and go on "book tours." The successful novelists I know say that this aspect of the job eats up half of their time.
Nobody's complaining though. Emily and I have been proofreading each other's manuscripts for over fifteen years now, and her getting a book contract is up there with having kids in the progression of life's ecstatic moments.
In addition to the kids, our mutual proofreading is one of the main ways that our personhoods overlap. Douglas Hofstadter talks about this phenomena in this cool book, and I think that he's right that it is one of the main joys in life.
One of the many self-destructive things I've done in my life was read a significant chunk of Henry Miller in high school. You might expect that this bad influence would be primarily in terms of giving me stupid 1920's tough guy attitudes about sex. No. That didn't happen. Nor did it make my prose style any more affected and incoherent than it already was. The real damage was when I read the part about how Miller managed to eat in Paris even though he had zero money. What he did was contrive to be such a great conversationalist that each of his carefully cultivated friends could be counted on to buy him one meal a week. This actually worked for him for a couple of years I think.
Somehow that entered my psyche and as a result I had a period where I endeavored to eat dinner with my three best friends' families as much as possible. Luckily, this was in the late 1980's, after the television had completely ravaged American culture (and before the Internet, video games, professional wrestling, and non-hair rock rock restored our Republic to her former glory). As a result all three of my best friends' families tended to eat dinner on trays in front of the television while watching shows like "Family Ties" or maybe spinoffs from the "Cosby Show."
In each case I did manage to wrangle invitations to actual sit-at-the-table dinners, but it was always a disaster. I blame Henry Miller.
In the first, my friend's father read the newspaper the entire time, and it freaked me out. I was trying to have entertaining conversation like Henry Miller (obviously, since this was 1980's Alabama and not 1920's Paris the conversation was without reference to either writing or all the body parts and various movements and fluids apparently endlessly discussed by artists in Miller's coterie). But the voice of my friend's Dad kept emanating behind the paper with cryptic comments about what he was reading, usually of the "Damn Democrats. . . always up to something" variety. And we'd all have to quiet down and eat after he said that, even though nothing else was forthcoming. It was agonizing.
My second friend was slightly better. The Dad was not behind a newspaper, but after he said the prayer nobody talked the whole time. We just ate the hideously bland 1980's middle-class American fare (flavorless soup, microwaved vegetables, a roll, and some kind of meat with no sauce) in silence. I couldn't do the Henry Miller trick of making entertaining conversation in those circumstances, and I didn't want to. But then, fifteen minutes into the meal, my friend's Dad looked up at the ceiling and ponderously intoned, "Mother. You've outdone yourself." He called his wife "Mother." And I wanted to say, "No she hasn't. Look at this tasteless garbage we're eating. If Julia Child was dead she'd rise up out of the grave as a super-zombie and come do a Hannibal Lecter number on all of our brains for eating this crap. And you know what, our brains would taste a lot better than this." But of course I didn't. Instead, I looked at the calender on their refridgerator, and saw that each month had a different Georgia O Keefe flower painting. And my then teenaged brain (thoroughly warped as it was by an unbearable combination of adolescent pulchritude, school, and television) had a rare moment of clarity. I realized that nobody in my friend's family saw O Keefe's phallic and vulvic (is that a word? is there an antonym for phallic?) images as remotely sexual. The were just pretty flowers. As much as I loved my friend, I could not eat there any more.
My third best friend invited me to dinner after a day we'd spent watching Woody Allen movies in his house. We were on the last one while his Mom was cooking. It was "Love and Death," Allen's fantastic early send-up of 19th century Russian novels. I was in the bathroom during the scene where Allen's character has hung himself (he gets better) and starts to think of all the things he is going to miss. He gives all sorts of characteristic romantic reasons (e.g. the beauty of the tundra, discussing philosophy into the late hours of the morning, etc.), but in the middle of this, one of the things he lists is "oral sex." It's very funny. Unfortunately my friend's mom (a devout evangelical) heard those words coming out of her T.V. set and literally started screaming as if someone was assaulting her. As soon as I could extricate myself from the bathroom (and its suffocating presence of "pot pourri" spray, plug in air-freshener, and bowl of dried flowers) my friend and I ran out of the house to the nearest Burger King. Not only did I not get a free meal, but I never got my tape of "Love and Death" back.
So ended my career as a Milleresque con man, like so many things in my life virtuous only due to the manifest incompetence with which I play the part.
Philosopundit just posted about four philosophical moments that changed his life, and you can read it here. Neal Hebert has has posted his here. Below are a few of mine. Please post yours as well. If you post them on your blog I'll link to them here, or please feel free to post them in reactions to this post.
(1) Hanging out with my mom at a cafe while my sister went to ballet class as a very young child- I was a clumsy, learning disabled kid, and lots of parents would have decided I was just slow. Mine never did, and my Mom would always have thoughtful conversations with me, encouraging me to think about why things are the case. One of my earliest and happiest memories was going to a cafe during my sister's ballet lessons, eating these pastries that looked like miniature pies, and discoursing on weighty matters.
(2) Reading the Bible in church circa fourth grade- This was the only acceptable way to not have to pay attention to the often (to me) boring sermons. Unfortunately, I discovered all of the truly wacky laws in Leviticus (people always quote that bit about homosexuality, but they then ignore the stuff about earrings, tattoos, seeing naked women while they are menstruating, touching pigskin, and wearing more than one type of fabric at a time), the horrific slaughter and sexual abuse God tells his minions to do in a couple of places in the Old Testament, and God striking down two old people in the book of Acts because they only give half of their wealth to the church. After consulting with various people, I decided the Bible was wrong, and haven't changed my view about that since. So I was already kind of a Platonist by fifth grade.
(3) Being exposed to massive religious vanity in fifth through seventh grade- This is the period we went to a more charismatic, evangelical church. The priest claimed that God talked to him and told him stuff like that everyone in the church had to protest Geraldine Ferraro. There was also speaking in tongues and prophecy. I used to pray to receive such gifts of the spirit, but it never happened. When I started to realize how stupid a lot of the "prophesies" were, I became pretty skeptical. I was right to be so. The greatest truth in the Bible is that pride goes before a destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall. At our church the minister got caught in his office doing you can guess what with the church secretary. I decided then that one of the greatest sins is to presume you can speak for God (not that I don't commit it with alacrity).
(4) Living in Germany without a television for two years in eighth and ninth grade- My parents were always great about getting us excited about the cool things wherever we lived, so we lived off base and also saw a great deal of Europe. This was also my first round of reading a ton of things. In that period of my life, books started to seem magical, a way you can transform yourself into something greater. I still believe this!
(5) Becoming angst-ridden- I've always been a strange person. When I was a young child I went something like three years refusing to eat anything without mustard on it. I think it was just an attempt to narrow down the amount of stimulus I was getting. A book I just read said that this kind of thing is in common to people with severe dyslexia. In adolescence this just went into overdrive, eighth grade being the lowest circle of hell (as it is for many people) and things getting better ever since. I couldn't have gotten through that without a loving family, but it also forced me to be a much more reflective person.
(6) My mom's Aunt Nora- While living in Germany we got to visit her quite a bit in the Netherlands. Being Jewish, she'd lost almost everything in WWII, including her husband, who I am named after. I would take walks with Aunt Nora while she smoked her evening cigarette. I remember her patiently explaining to me why she smoked two cigarettes a day and also why she didn't believe in God.
(6) Playing music- In the words of Iggy Pop, "I took a ride // to the pretty music. // I get down, // and baby you can too." While in Germany I started tooling around with my brother's classical guitar, and when we got back to the states my grandfather bought me a guitar from his death bed and I started playing in Church to great effect, and later (to this day!) in rock bands to not such great effect. What does this have to do with philosophy? Most people who play a lot of music have a great sensitivity to nuance. In my experience, this is similar to philosopical sensitivity. Likewise, the muse that brings me song ideas is the same muse that brings me philosophy ideas. Finally, this sensitivity has shown me that certain philosophies of mind are really preposterous. Our basic cognition of the world is not linguaform.
(6) Being given circular reasons for why the Gospel of Thomas was heretical in eleventh grade- The priest told me that we know from the other four Gospels that Jesus' first miracle was turning water into wine, but that the Gospel of Thomas says that it was turning bits of clay into birds. I responded, "yeah, but if Thomas were in the bible, then that would be the first miracle." To which the pastor replied, "but it's not." Not only did I then discover the fallacy of circular reasoning, I also realized that I should probably keep my philosophy to myself sometimes.
(7) My first philosophy class- It was taught by a grad. student at the University of Texas (I think her name was Margaret Lang, but that may be somebody else). She got really excited when I suggested that the ontological proof for God's existence should be viewed as a reductio on the claim that we have a coherent notion of "that than which no greater can be conceived."
(8) A very well taught class on Kant- As a junior at U.T. I took a class on Kant with Lawrence Becker (I think he didn't get tenure). We read the first two Critiques and considered the ethics and metaphysics of free will according to Kant. That's when I fell in love with philosophy's ability to make you see the world in a completely different way. All of the subjects that I write about come out of this initial exposure to Kant.
(9) Neil Tennant (the philosopher, not the lead singer of the pet shop boys)- I found graduate school to be a horrible experience prior to working with Neil. By example, and instruction, he gave me a way to worry about the same issues that Kant worried about.
(10) Iggy Pop and Angus Young- These guys taught me that "cool" is a soul destroying trap, and that one can have goofy joy and completely rock out. I tend to listen to their music prior to class and while writing.
(11) My wife Emily- I talk to her about everything and we proofread each other's stuff. Also Aristotle was right that a certain amount of physical wellbeing is a prerequisite for contemplation. Dysfunctional bachelors have a much harder time of it.
I think in a couple of years I'll add to this my exposure to computability theory, Mark Wilson, and Schopenhauer, as well as the work I've done and am doing with various co-writers (the most significant of whom posted the first response in this thread).
If anyone wishes to make recommendations for additions to this list, don't hesitate to mail me at email@example.com. However, I must add brief note about criteria for inclusion. For a book to be on this list it must enjoy some combination of: (1) affecting my world view strongly, (2) rewarding return visits, and (3) being an engaging read. Please only suggest books that satisfy at least two of these three criteria for you. Anyhow, look up the authors of the books below at
http://www.amazon.com and read about them. I hope you'll be motivated to check out some of their work.
Prior to giving the lists, some explanatory notes are in order.
First note: One doesn't have to agree with the world view presented in a book to find that book great (e.g. William S. Burroughs and Louis-Ferdinand Celine). Nor does a book have to be particularly good scholarship (e.g. both Russell and Durant's histories of philosophy) for it to be extremely rewarding reading. Second note: Some of my favorite fiction authors and books are "low brow." I make no apology, prose isn't
written merely to create something for literature professors to research. Moreover, if literature professors didn't watch so much T.V. they might give entertaining writers like Kingsley Amis their fair due. Third note: There are some fiction authors I love, but who haven't written any individual book that merits inclusion
on the list by the above criteria. These include:
Laurel K. Hamilton,
Alexander McCall Smith,
Fourth Note: To continue the theme of the previous note, one's favorite philosophers and one's favorite philosophical books are two different issues. For example, while Sartre's Nausea and Existentialism and Human Emotions are on my favorite books lists, he's not one of my favorite philosophers. The Critique of Dialectical Reason is just too execrably unclear (due to a combination of Sartre's by then debilitating amphetimine usage combined with with the extraordinary amount of bad faith involved in remaining a good communist). Also, some great contemporary philosophers haven't written books yet. My favorite philosophers write as clearly as their subject matter allowed them to at the time they were writing. Nietzsche says that sometimes you can't see the bottom of the lake because
the water is shallow and muddy (e.g. some disciples of
Heidegger). Occasionally the waters are genuinely are deep though! (early Heidegger). More importantly, favorite philosophers should allow you to experience the same kind of exhiliration you first felt when you read something like Durant's The Story of Philosophy or Plato's Symposium, the faith that understanding how your favorite philosophers see the world will give you genuinely deeper insight into reality and help make life worth living. By these two criteria, my favorite contemporary philosophers are: Michael Friedman, Alisdair MacIntyre, Graham Priest, Hilary Putnam, Neil Tennant, Mark Wilson, and Crispin Wright. Anyone who thinks that mainstream contemporary academic philosophy lacks depth and insight hasn't studied these thinkers!
Final note: There are some books that I suspect would be on the list had I studied them in appropriate depth. The four biggest in the running for eventual inclusion are: Heidegger's Being and Time, McDowell's Mind and World, Merleau Ponty's Phenomenology of Perception, Sartre's Being and Nothingness, and Shopenhauer's The World as Will and Representation. It's nice to have a list of favorite under-read books, as you always have something to which you can look forward. I also suspect that Theodor Adorno would be a favorite philosopher if I had more time to devote to the study of his work.
[One of my favorite genres of books. I haven't completed the initial list yet. Ray Monk's excellent treatments of Wittgenstein and Russell will definitely make the cut though.]
Kingsley Amis- Lucky Jim, One Fat Englishman, The Folks That Live On The Hill
Charles Bukowski- Ham on Rye, Factotum
William S. Burroughs- Cities of the Red Night, The Place of Dead Roads, Western Lands
Louis-Ferdinand Celine- Journey to the End of the Night, Death on the Installment Plan
Isak Dinesen- Seven Gothic Tails
Fyodor Dostoevsky- Notes from the Underground, The Idiot
Tibor Fischer- The Thought Gang
Jonathan Franzen- The Corrections
William Golding- Lord of the Flies
Jaroslav Hasek- The Good Soldier Svejk and His Fortunes in the World War
Ernest Hemingway-The Snows of Kilmanjaro
Jack Kerouac- On the Road
John Kennedy O Toole- A Confederacy of Dunces
Carson McCullers- The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
Vladimir Nabokov- Pale Fire
T.R. Pearson- A Short History of a Small Place, Off For the Sweet Hereafter, The Last of How it Was, Call and Response, Gospel Hour, Cry Me a River
Sylvia Plath- The Bell Jar
Richard Russo- Nobody's Fool, Empire Falls
J.D. Salinger- Catcher in the Rye
Jean Paul Sartre- Nausea
Hubert Selby Jr.- Last Exit to Brooklyn, The Demon,
Requium for a Dream
Gilbert Sorrentino- Imaginative Qualities of Actual Things
John Steinbeck- Of Mice and Men
Mark Twain- Huckleberry Finn
J.R. Tolkein- Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, Return of the King
Tolstoy- Anna Karenina, Resurrection
[Another one of my favorite generes which I haven't had time to compile into a good list yet. Ruth Reichl's books are great examples of non-fiction autobiographical food writing. So are the recent books on Salt and Cod. If you have any suggestions, e-mail me!]
Stephen Ambrose- D-Day, Citizen Soldier
Julius Caesar- The Conquest of Gaul, The Civil
Winston Churchill (ed. John Keegan)- Second World War
Edward Gibbon- The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
J. Christopher Herold- The Age of Napoleon
Abbott Joseph Liebling- The Earl of Louisiana
Livy- Early History of Rome: Books I-V of the History of Rome from Its Foundation
John Maginnis- Last Hayride, Cross to Bear
Simon Sebag Montefiore- Stalin : The Court of the Red Tsar
Plutarch- Fall of the Roman Republic: Six Lives: Marius, Sulla, Crassus, Pompey, Caesar, Cicero
Sallust- The Jugurthine War & The Conspiracy of Catiline
William L. Shirer- The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany
Suetonius- The Twelve Caesars Tacitus- Annals of Imperial Rome
Solomon Volkov, Antonina W. Bouis- Shostakovich and Stalin: The Extraordinary Relationship Between the Great Composer and the Brutal Dictator
T. Harry Williams- Huey Long
Margaret George- The Memoirs of Cleopatra : A Novel
Robert Graves- I Claudius, Claudius the God
Colleen McCullough- The First Man in Rome, The Grass Crown, Caesar's Women, Fortune's Favorites,Caesar
Marguerite Yourcenar- Memoirs of Hadrian
(CAN BE READ WITH NO INSTRUCTION OR SECONDARY LITERATURE)
Will Durant- The Story of Philosophy
Bertrand Russell- History of Wetern Philosophy, The Problems of Philosophy
Brian Magee- Confessions of a Philosopher
[Note: Magee's concept of "analytic philosophy" is both dated and selective, so his criticisms need to be taken with a grain of salt. That being said, this book is a tremendously good read and helped me fall back in love with philosophy during a particularly jaded period. I think it could help people fall in love with philosophy for the first time too! I haven't yet read Magee's book on Schopenhauer (favorite philosopher of Ludwig Wittgenstein and Gilbert Ryle), but reading what he had to say about him has really peaked my interest.]
John Ralston Saul- Voltaire's Bastards: The Dictatorship of Reason in the West, The Unconscious Civilization
[Note: Voltaire's Bastards is one of those great books that is potentially dangerous in the hands of bad readers, in particular those who suffer from overly romantic views about non-reason and the consequent tendency towards facism. Saul is not an academic philosopher, but his work is profound and vital, in the tradition of Nietzsche but better argued and coming from a humanistic moral standpoint. Saul is also an amazingly lucid and entertaining writer. I couldn't put these books down. They've profoundly changed the way I think about the world, and I hope my research will at some point reflect this.]
Huston Smith- The World's Religions
[Note: Leibniz once wrote something to the effect that he never read falsehoods. By this he meant that he was going to try to use whatever he was reading to discern the truth. Smith
comes close to approaching the world's religions this way. His drive to see what is beautiful and true in all of these disparate traditions stems from a deep moral and spiritual sensibility. It is a testament to his genius that he manages to pull it off so well. If everyone in the world dug this book, things wouldn't be so messed up. Given that things are likely to be messed up for years to come, the minimum books like The World's Religions can do is make dealing with the mess easier on an individual basis.]
NOT TOO DEMANDING
(CAN STILL BE READ PROFITABLY WITHOUT SECONDARY
LITERATURE, INSTRUCTION, OR KNOWLEDGE OF LOGIC)
Aristotle- Nichomachean Ethics
Marcus Aurelious- Meditations
J.L. Austin- Sense and Sensibilia
Paul Churchland-Engine of Reason Seat of the Soul
Alisdair MacIntyre- After Virtue
[Note: This book is so compulsively readible that I finished it in two or three evenings of very little sleep. It completely recharged me, and helped me finish my dissertation (which was completely unrelated to ethics). I've heard that MacIntyre's new book, Dependent Rational Animals, is great too, and I hope to read it soon.]
Iris Murdoch- Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals
Friedrich Nietzsche- The Birth of Tragedy out of the Spirit of Music,
On the Genealogy of Morals, The Anti-Christ
Hilary Putnam- Reason, Truth, and History
[Note: My favorite thing that Jesus said was that as you treat the least, so you treat him. When I met Putnam he just seemed to embody this. A very distraught person during the Q & A session after Putnam's paper asked him these really off-the-wall questions about God. Putnam managed to re-interpret the questions so that they were both philosophically interesting and such that his answers could both comfort the listener and be again philosophically fascinating. I've never seen anything like it. Somehow Putnam managed to help the distraught person without wasting everyone else's time. It's amazing what a good will can accomplish when harnassed to brilliance. Then, in the reception afterwards Putnam was just really excited about talking with people, even second year graduate students like me who didn't really understand his work at that time. Keep in mind that Putnam is one of the most famous philosophers in the world, and he was just humble and really interested and attentive, as well as interesting. Meeting him was so great because it was the first concrete example of the kind of exalted view of philosophers that I had as a high
school student and early undergraduate. It really gave me a model
of behavior for which I can strive, and helped me to recognize that kind of goodness in others. Later I got to know Stewart Shapiro and met Bob Hale (and have recently gotten to know some of his students pretty well) who share the virtues I saw manifest
Graham Priest- Beyond the Limits of Thought
[Note: if Priest's Beyond the Limits of Thought doesn't make you want to learn more logic, reread it, and then read everything Priest has written, you have no soul!]
Jean Paul Sartre- Existentialism and Human Emotions
Ludwig Wittgenstein- The Brown and Blue Books
Crispin Wright- Truth and Objectivity
AND EXEGETICALLY DEMANDING
(REQUIRES SECONDARY LITERATURE AND/OR INSTRUCTION)
Immanuel Kant- Critique of Pure Reason, Critique of Practical Reason, Critique of Judgment
[Note: For what it's worth, Kant gets my votes for the best, and most important, philosopher ever. Every area of philosophy is in some respects in his footsteps, and rightfully so. No other philosopher can have this truthfully claimed for them; albeit, various fans of Plato, Aristotle, Saint Thomas, Descartes, David Hume, Hegel, and Heidegger would vehemently (and with greater and lesser justifications) disagree with me.]
William Lycan (ed.)- Thought and Cognition
Ludwig Wittgenstein- Philosophical Investigations
(REQUIRES SOME KNOWLEDGE OF LOGIC IN ADDITION
TO SECONDARY LITERATURE AND/OR INSTRUCTION)
Donald Davidson-Essays on Truth and Interpretation
Michael Dummett- The Logical Basis of Metaphysics
Rosanna Keefe- Theories of Vagueness
Hilary Putnam- Representation and Reality
W.V.O. Quine- Word and Object
Neil Tennant- The Taming of the True
[Note: Tennant is to me what Hegel was to the late 19th century early 20th century pre-analytic British philosophers. All of my original philosophy comes out of reflection upon his writings and program. On a personal note, the most important thing in grad. school is to find a good advisor, one who will encourage you and give you helpful responses in a timely manner. Tennant was an amazing advisor. While I was there, he initiated three reading groups with his students. In his classes we would get to read stuff that he was currently writing, and after hashing it over, if your comments led to revision he'd cite you. He would meet with you weekly to help you prepare for your exams. For all of his students, this period of graduate school marked one of the most exciting periods of our life. Some advisors have years where all of their students failed their candidacy or qualifying exams. The entire time I was at O.S.U. not one of Neil's students failed an exam! After working and studying with Tennant we were ready to confront the hardest intellectual challege of our life up to that point. Some advisors will keep your stuff for months and not get back to you, or get back to you with no really helpful comments. Tennant always gets stuff back soon and with specific comments about how you might rewrite. Tennant represents an intellectual and ethical ideal that, in my experience, nobody but he achieves, one to which I aspire.]
DVERY TECHNICALLY DEMANDING
(REQUIRES A LITTLE MORE KNOWLEDGE OF LOGIC THAN PREVIOUS LIST)
[Note: if philosophers of language would just read these and understand them, much falsehood would be avoided.]
David Dowty- Word Meaning and Montague Grammar
Dowty, Wall, and Peters-Introduction to Montague Semantics
Shalom Lappin- The Handbook of Contemporary Semantic Theory
Paul Portner, and Barbara Partee- Formal Semantics: The Essential Readings
Peter Weiss- Marat/Sade, the Investigation, and the Shadow
of the Body of the Coachman
Charles Bukowski- Love Is a Dog from Hell: Poems, 1974-1977, Play the Piano Drunk Like a Percussion Instrument Until the Fingers Begin to Bleed a Bit
T.S. Eliot- Complete Poems and Plays
Phillip Larkin- Collected Poems
Arthur Rimbaud- Complete Works
Wallace Stevens- The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens