Saturday, May 05, 2007

Your Place On The Bookshelf

Recently, I've been editing my dissertation bibliography, which included an article that I wrote a few years ago and that I referenced in my dissertation. (I figure that noone else is citing me right now, so I might as well get the ball rolling.) I noticed that in my bibliography, I am situated between Fredric Jameson and Immanuel Kant. Very good company.

In my occasional delusions-of-grandeur moments, I have had a tendency to lament the "commonness" of my last name. I can never really expect an adjectival form of my name to be attached to my work (like "Kantian," "Hegelian," "Derridean" or "Cartesian") because... well, the adjectival form of my last name would not in any way distinguish me from large percentage of the English-speaking population. So, this little treaure of my bibliography was a nice surprise and gave me something else to ponder. Where would I fall on someone's bookshelf? On my own bookshelf (unlike my bibliography), I would be placed between Luce Irigaray and Immanual Kant, which is only slightly better than my position in the bibliography. (I should also note that I have a separate set of bookshelves for "philosophy" texts. "Non-philosophy nonfiction" and "fiction" have their own shelves.) Of course, this provided me with a full-blown opportunity to waste time by trying to figure out where my friends and enemies would fall on my bookshelf... and, subsequently, to read a deeper meaning into those placements than any sane person would deduce from them.

So, here's the question-- who are your neighbors on the bookshelf?


Catou said...

Hey... I just wanted to tell you that i really love your blog! congratulations!

p.s. I love this article, by the way! But what if, like me, you like randomness and do not put your books in alphabetical order? Will I ever find my place in life???

LEIGH said...

thanks for the kind words, catou. unfortunately, the idea of NOT having my books in alphabetical order makes my skin crawl... just one of many inexplicable obsessions, i'm afraid. but you pose an interesting question-- assuming you are not bound by the strictures of the alphabet, you could still ask yourself the same question: where would you place yourself on the bookshelf? it's almost a more interesting question that way, since you get to choose your own neighbors!

kgrady said...

Great question, Leigh. Since my "bookshelf" is currently on two continents and one boat (keep your fingers crossed for me!) I'll have to just take a guess and say that I'd land between Gadamer and Guyer...hahaha, that's about right, actually!

Daniel said...

I am trapped between F.H. Bradley and Justus Buchler (actually, James Buchan, but his book is more pop intellectual history). I am not sure how I feel about this.