Thursday, January 7, 2010

Two philosophy-&-literature publications

Great news for fiction readers with a philosophical bent:

First, in June Columbia University Press will issue a collection of papers by philosophers on J. M. Coetzee's works. It's called J. M. Coetzee and Ethics: Philosophical Perspectives on Literature, ed. Anton Leist and Peter Singer. The table of contents looks intriguing (to say the least).

Secondly, down the street in Buffalo The Monist has issued a call for papers for an issue on the philosophy of Robert Musil. Scroll to the bottom of that page for the Musil call. The deadline for submissions is January 31, 2013. That gives me only three years to read, contemplate and expand upon Musil's The Man Without Qualities -- I don't think I'll make that deadline.


Steven Riddle said...

Dear Sir,

I know what you mean re: Musil, nevertheless, I wish you good fortune. I would be most interested in your reflections should you decide to assume the task.



waggish said...

Awesome. I will get to work.

Less enthusiastic about the Coetzee book. I've heard philosophers speak about Coetzee (including some of the authors) and the result has normally been disastrous (often because of a total ignorance of Coetzee's fictional constructs and techniques). I'd rather read Coetzee on philosophy!

praymont said...

Thanks, Steven. I guess the Musilian thing to do is to begin a paper and then fret over it for decades.

I agree, Mr. Waggish, about some of the philosophers in question. Reading Singer on Coetzee is about as rewarding as reading Bentham on 'push-pin & poetry'. But I like Jonathan Lear's work. He had a paper on Coetzee in The Raritan (Summer, 2008), where he engaged Coetzee more fully. And Pippin's often quite good.

Andy said...

I am one of the contributors to the Coetzee anthology and am grateful for your interest. I hope people give the book a chance before dismissing it the way Waggish does.

As it happens I've read Singer's co-written contribution to the collection and I think it is very strong (and very different from his short story about Coetzee in The Lives of Animals). People who think they know what this or that philosopher will say may be surprised when they actually pick up the book.

I share your high estimation of Lear and Pippen. I'm also looking forward to reading the essay by Jeff McMahan, who in my view is one of the best moral philosophers now writing.

praymont said...

Hi Andy -- Thanks for stopping by. I've already pre-ordered my copy of the book about Coetzee.

Yes, it was Singer's contribution to The Lives of Animals that had me wary of his co-authored paper in this new volume. Singer's a razor sharp analytic philosopher, but having him write on Coetzee makes me think of getting Bertrand Russell to write a paper on Kafka -- two very different temperaments engaged in different projects, and never the twain shall meet.

Well, there's my prejudice uprooted, presented and hopefully discarded. Given what you say, I'm looking forward to reading Singer's & Dawn's paper.