(Or, 'On Convincing Myself to Travel Lightly')
I've written a few times on travel reading. Last time, I discussed a number of constraints involved:
there are numerous external limitations to what one can plan on reading: the size of one's luggage or carry on bag, the size of the books, the time of the flight, layovers, etc. Each has their own specific challenge. I find that if I fly early in the morning, or red-eye, novels are probably the best, but no James Joyce or David Foster Wallace.
That post was for a trip to a conference. Since we're going to visit family, I would say that there are a few additional constraints, like the expected amount of time that family members will not be vying for your attention, subtracted by time visiting friends. Or, more importantly, the number of books on departure in relation to the number of books expected to be acquired at destination (or, at least in this case, in Berkeley and San Francisco). Due primarily to that latter point, I've narrowed this trip's selection to four books and on photocopied essay:
- David Mitchell, Black Swan Green. Still working my way through Mitchell's novels, still not sure what I think about them, except that they are worthwhile enough that I will have read three of five.
- Jacques Rancière, Short Voyages to the Land of the People. As you know, I'm writing a book on JR. If you're wondering why I chose this book for this trip, check the physical dimensions: 4.5 x 7 x .5 inches.
- Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. It's the Oxford World's Classics edition, so A Vindication of the Rights of Men and An Historical and Moral View of the Origin and Progress of the French Revolution are included as well. I'll be teaching MW in my 'Great Philosophers' course next semester, so I am brushing up on her work now (or so I hope).
- Finally, two research selections for my paper with Sean Moreland, "Urged by Schelling": Edgar Allan Poe's Eureka (a critical edition),
- and, a photocopy of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's "On the Prometheus of Aeschylus." I was writing about this essay this evening, and then I hit a wall, and now I'm blogging. If I don't get around to discussing it on a subsequent post, I'd like to underline that this essay deserves a place among the best of short essays in/on German idealism. It's not immediately clear, but on a second read, one discovers that Coleridge is continuing his conversation with Schelling's work, this time with the often-neglected Deities of Samothrace (1815).