Given my aversion to the word "blog" it's perhaps fitting that convention requires me to use it to inaugurate and label this space of occasional commentary. For this is a space that I would expect to be mostly about words. My general plan is to use this area to post what I might call experiments in micro-criticism. That is, little bits of writing about various texts and events that occupy what's left of my mind at a given time. In specific, I'm thinking of using this for bits of writing about single words that catch my fancy (we might call it, then, a "Wordbook"), or perhaps phrases ("Phrasebook"). More generally, then, a "Workbook."

I've written a few essays here and there about single words, or even single letters. I like writing about small things, and the bits of writing I want to post here will, I hope, themselves be small.

Bound By Words

May 26, 2018

Tags: Commencement, humanities, language, ethics, lying, Montaigne, Henry James

Commencement Talk, Arts and Humanities, UC Berkeley, May 14, 2018

I would like to begin by taking care of one piece of business that needs to be dealt with so that we can move on to talk about more interesting things. We meet here today to celebrate the work of our graduates in the Humanities. It (more…)

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Oedipus, Facebook and Humanities Education

March 22, 2018

Tags: Oedipus, Facebook, humanities, Hamlet, responsibility

I usually reserve this blog for micro-essays about literature. However, I published this yesterday in the "Berkeley Blog." Some mistakes found their way into the published version, so I correct them and expand a bit here. If Fortune smiles, I'll be back to writing about poetry soon. But, here it is:

No less disturbing (more…)

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Selected Works

In Progress
A list of forthcoming articles and of books I'm writing.
Literary History/Political Theory
Literary Criticism/Diplomatic History
Fiction/Translation
A translation of selections from the writings of the heretic, scientist and libertine Cyrano de Bergerac.
Literature/Philosophy of History

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