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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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
LECTURE ONE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d__In2PQS60
LECTURE TWO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Al7O2puvdDA

ALSO AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ONE THROUGH TEN ON IDEOLOGICAL CRITIQUE



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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

STOP ME IF YOU'VE HEARD THIS ONE


One of the odd side-effects of writing an eight hundred page autobiography is that one meets total strangers who know a very great deal about one's life.   A second consequence, at least for an inveterate story-teller like me, is that quite often, when I start to tell a story, my audience nods wearily as if to say, "Oh yes, we recall that one from your autobiography."  I did not put every one of my stories into that account of my life, but I did put quite a number in.  I sometimes feel that I have lived past my sell-by date.

But there are things I did not say in my autobiography, and that has gotten me thinking about famous authors who use elements of their personal lives in their writings.  I have in mind people like Norman Mailer, Philip Roth, Saul Bellow, and -- for all I know -- Jane Austen, Leo Tolstoy, and Feodor Dostoyevsky.  It is my impression that if Philip Roth wanted to draw on his personal life for a really great scene or character in a novel, the only down side of which would be a permanent breach with a wife or child, he would not even hesitate.  I could not imagine saying anything in my Autobiography  [or elsewhere, for that matter] that might upset one of my sons or even offend a close friend.  The rich and famous are of course fair game.

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