Snorghs, Sailors, Philosophy and Mood

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With apologies for cross-posting from my personal website; but I’m very pleased to have received this morning two copies of the Spring Issue of Interdisciplinary Humanities journal, which includes my essay on “What the Snorgh Taught me about Emmanuel Levinas”. It’s a fairly personal essay/paper about the questions around children’s literature, creative writing, research and philosophy. The paper started out when …

What the Snorgh Taught me about Emmanuel Levinas

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I’m very pleased to have received this morning two copies of the Spring Issue of Interdisciplinary Humanities journal, which includes my essay on “What the Snorgh Taught me about Emmanuel Levinas”. “Philosophers are often more like Snorghs than they are like Sailors, which is to say that they generally prefer solitude, their own soup, routine, gloom and drizzle to high …

Philosophy at a Gallop

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Every summer I try and make a point of launching into a Big Fat Philosophy Book that I have, for some reason or another, not got round to reading before. My ideal holiday reading, in other words, is not a thriller or an airport blockbuster, but instead is something appetisingly dense like Merleau-Ponty’s [amazon_link id=”0415278414″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The Phenomenology …

Philosophers, Cleverness and Storytelling

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I’m very happy to have just signed a contract with Bloomsbury for a book about Levinas and storytelling called Levinas, Storytelling and Anti-Storytelling. The book comes out some time early next year, all being well, and it’s been a long time in the making. It aims to read Emmanuel Levinas, the French-Lithuanian philosopher of ethics, both as a storyteller of ethics, …

My Secret Life as a Writer of Romance

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Well, it looks like I’ve been found out and my cover as a writer of romance novels has at last been blown. This morning I headed over to LibraryThing.com, where I saw the following: Now, my German is far from excellent, but if I were to translate Rüssel und Hase, the title on the cover in the picture, I would …

Research, or something like it (Part I)

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Every few years, here in UK academic circles, there is a curious circus known as the REF, the “Research Excellence Framework”, a bizarrely arcane ritual of humiliation where academics struggle to demonstrate that their research is not merely good (one might have thought that being “good” was a sufficiently high demand, although apparently this is not so) but is instead excellent. …

Woodbrooke Borders and Crossings Conference

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Just a quick post from Birmingham, where I’m attending the “Borders and Crossings” conference at Woodbrooke Quaker study centre. The conference stars in the most civilised fashion imaginable with tea and cake from 3pm. I’ll be giving a paper on the Wenxin Diaolong 文心雕龍 (“Literary mind and the carving of dragons”) and the notion of shensi 神思, often translated as …

Two Tribes of Storytellers

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Next week, I’m away in Birmingham at the lovely Woodbrooke Quaker Study Center for their Borders and Crossings/Seuils et Traverses conference on travel writing. I’m not exactly a travel writer myself, although much of my writing—both in fiction and in philosophy—has a preoccupation with crossings, passages, movement and travel; and so I’m hugely looking forward to a week in such …