Coming Soon:

The following books by Robert Paul Wolff are available on Amazon.com as e-books: KANT'S THEORY OF MENTAL ACTIVITY, THE AUTONOMY OF REASON, UNDERSTANDING MARX, UNDERSTANDING RAWLS, THE POVERTY OF LIBERALISM, A LIFE IN THE ACADEMY, MONEYBAGS MUST BE SO LUCKY, AN INTRODUCTION TO THE USE OF FORMAL METHODS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.
Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON KANT'S CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON. To view the lectures, go to YouTube and search for "Robert Paul Wolff Kant." There they will be.

To contact me about organizing, email me at rpwolff750@gmail.com




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Sunday, November 30, 2014

archy and mehitabel

most of you, especially my younger readers, will be unfamiliar with the touching love story of archy and mehitabel.   this passage from wikipedia will explain.  marquis is don marquis, an old time newspaper columnist.

In 1916, Marquis introduced Archy, a fictional cockroach, into his daily newspaper column at The New York Evening Sun. Archy (whose name was always written in lower case in the book titles, but was upper case when Marquis would write about him in narrative form) was a cockroach who had been a free verse poet in a previous life, and took to writing stories and poems on an old typewriter at the newspaper office when everyone in the building had left. Archy would climb up onto the typewriter and hurl himself at the keys, laboriously typing out stories of the daily challenges and travails of a cockroach. Archy's best friend was Mehitabel, an alley cat. The two of them shared a series of day-to-day adventures that made satiric commentary on daily life in the city during the 1910s and 1920s.  Because he was a cockroach, Archy was unable to operate the shift key on the typewriter (he jumped on each key to type; since using shift requires two keys to be pressed simultaneously, he physically could not use capitals), and so all of his verse was written without capitalization or punctuation.

for several months now i have been struggling with a very painful case of what the doctors call tennis elbow.  at present, i am in my second week wearing an arm brace and taking naproxin, but this has not cured the problem.  yesterday susie and i saw the rather depressing biopic of the life of stephan hawking, called the theory of everything.  after a troubled night, in which i managed to conflate his heroic efforts to communicate despite his total disability with my quite minor affliction, i arose today determined to use my left hand as little as possible, to see whether that will help.

instead of typing with two fingers, as i have for sixty-five years, i am writing this with one finger.  hence, like archy, i am forced to eschew the instrumentality of capitalization.  thus slowed down, i find that i have time to think before i write, a relatively new experience for me.

6 comments:

Jerry Fresia said...

Your grab bag of arcane and scholarly references is astonishing. No wonder you are so good at difficult crossword puzzles. Here's a suggestion for your class: create a serious crossword puzzle based exclusively upon references from Capital. Maybe the NYT's would publish it on the anniversary of the publication of the first edition.

Robert Paul Wolff said...

wow [exclamation point] what an idea. i have never created a crossword puzzle. it would be a challenge.

Andrew Lionel Blais said...

Haven't you always wished to live in a post-capital world?

Harry said...

Good luck, I hurt my hand recently so I know how being keyboard impaired goes. Perhaps try speech to text - the ones on my Android and iOS devices are relatively decent if you can get used to saying comma, period and exclamation point.

David Auerbach said...

Ahh, Archie and Mehibtabel, toujours gai. I have the collected works. They still read well.

Joe Ruckus said...

Both Windows and Apple's OSX have a 'sticky keys' feature which allows you to capitalise without having to hold down Shift. Once it's turned on, it notices when you've pressed shift and capitalises the next key pressed.

For Windows (PCs):
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-GB/windows-xp/help/using-stickykeys

For OSX (Mac):
http://support.apple.com/kb/PH11262

I hope you make a swift recovery!