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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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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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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