Archive for January, 2014

Existential America (6): Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, C.L.R. James

Cotkin was wise to include Black American appropriations of existentialism, as this gives me an opportunity to test my hypothesis that their perspective was different from white people’s investment in existentialism, and particularly that Wright used Kierkegaard for different purposes than his white contemporaries. Chapter 8 features Richard Wright and Ralph Ellison. Sartre unwittingly and […]

Time Travel lore (4): Chrononauts

Many many many years ago I acquired the first edition of the card game Fluxx, a product of Looney Labs, in which the rules are constantly changing. This past year I played the latest version of the standard game for the first time, and it is most delightful. I also got to meet the inventor. […]

Time travel lore (3): ‘scientific’ search for time travelers

In our time it has become difficult to distinguish genuine news items from spoofs and satire. Real news items are sometimes indistinguishable from what one would find in The Onion. Is the same thing happening in the realm of science? “Search of the Internet Reveals No Evidence of Time Travelers” by Erin McCarthy, Mental Floss. […]

Existential America (5): C.L.R. James, Richard Wright, & Kierkegaard

I knew Richard Wright very well indeed. I may have mentioned this to some of you. Dick fancied himself as a cook. He would cook rice and chicken or something in some Southern way and say, “Come over, I’m going to cook today.” I used to eat it. But he was a remarkable man. One […]

Existential America (4): Kierkegaard analyzed (1942)

Otto F. Kraushaar, “Kierkegaard in English. I”, The Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 39, No. 21 (Oct. 8, 1942), pp. 561-583. While long recognized in Scandinavian, German, and theological circles, Kierkegaard began to be profusely translated into English only in the three years preceding the writing of this article, in which eight books are under review. […]

Existential America (3): reactionary Kierkegaard: references

These are references of interest from George Cotkin’s Existential America pointing to critiques of Kierkegaard and his reactionary appropriation in the United States. See also my bibliography on Case Studies of Metaphysical Pessimism. Samuel Greenberg, “Auden, Poet of Anxiety,” Masses and Mainstream, June 1948 Norbert Guterman, “Neither-Nor”, Partisan Review 10 (March-April 1943), pp. 134-142. V. […]

Time travel lore (2)

One interesting aspect of the notion of time travel is how it migrates out of the realm of science fiction into other areas of culture. Here is an example: “11 Time Traveler Urban Legends That Pretty Much Debunk Themselves” by Bill DeMain, courtesy of Mental Floss magazine, August 12, 2012. Hoaxes, gullibility, and superstition aren’t […]