Keith Douglas' Web Page

About me Find out who I am and what I do.
My resumé A copy of my resumé and other documentation about my education and work experience for employers and the curious.
Reviews, theses, articles, presentations A collection of papers from my work, categorized and annotated.
Current research projects What I am currently working on, including some non-research material.
Interesting people People professionally "connected" to me in some way.
Interesting organizations Organizations I am "connected" to. (Some rather loosely.)
Intellectual/professional influences Influences on my work, including an organization chart. Here you can also buy many good books on philosophy and other subjects via amazon.com. I have included brief reviews of hundreds of books.
Professional resources Research sources, amazon.com associates programs, etc.
What is the philosophy of computing? A brief introduction to my primary professional interest.
My intellectual heroes A partial list of important people. Limited to the dead.
My educational philosophy As a sometime teacher I've developed one. Includes book resources.

Book Influences - Literature

Title
Author
Purchase / Enjoy Cover
Comment
Aeschylus I Aeschylus I have somewhat gained an appreciation for classical Greek theatre.
Arthur Miller's Collected Plays Miller Collection of the works of one of the great American playwrights. I bought this used when I saw it by chance when wondering about ordering Death of a Salesman for a project.
Birds / Lysistrata / Women At The Thesmophoria Aristophanes A more faithful (and hence cruder) translation than the below, complete with the Greek text.
Complete Plays of Aristophanes Aristophanes Classic comedy. And no, I don't mean "I Love Lucy". I do want to find a way to involve Raven and Robin in something to do with Birds.
Conversation with Spinoza: A Cobweb Novel Smilevski (Korzenski trans.) I don't know what to think and feel about this fictionalized double telling of Spinoza's life. The afterword of sorts by the author explains some of the fictionalization, and that one version of the life is thought, the other sentiment. Nevertheless, both center around sex and death. While Spinoza is known to have done the latter, the former is shrouded in mystery. The form of having the Spinoza address the reader and supposedly having the reader respond is also very strange. The author is also not a philosopher and as such he seems to rely heavily on Deleuzian interpretations, which are perhaps dubious - to be fair, however, they could just be the author's misreading of Deleuze as well. Ultimately I cannot recommend it wholeheartedly, but I do find it fascinating to see that someone bothered writing a novel about one of those profound but difficult of the "greats" in the history of philosophy.
Doctor Faustus Marlow (Barnet, ed.) A famous play, by one of the non-Shakespearean Elizabethan playwrights. Repetitive and very didactic, at least superficially in the latter case, it is nevertheless a dramatic and powerful work if excised properly. This edition includes commentary and notes. (The linked edition is a later republication of the same one I have. I take it as equivalent, though it does seem to be longer.)
Euripides V Euripides Another Greek theatre volume.
Heart of Darkness and Other Stories Conrad A collection of short stories by a relatively famous author. "Heart of Darkness" is by far the most famous, as far as I can tell - a horrific story of what racism and environmental destruction does to both its victims and its perpetrators. This edition includes an editor's introduction and some end notes.
Heath Introduction to Literature Landy I keep this around primarily for Hamlet, Oedipus Rex and Antigone.
Life of Pi Martel Decent novel, though drags on a little too long. Also the most overrated work I have ever read. It is good, but not earth-shatteringly amazing, like some people think.
Little Prince Saint-Exupéry Star Trek (TOS and TNG at least) fans might recognize some of its flavour in this children's story. I cannot for the life of me remember if it is mentioned in Gene Roddenberry: The Last Conversation.
Of Men and Machines Lewis Collection of essays and fiction on machine-human relations.
Quotable Star Trek Sherwin A Star Trek quote book! Does not include TAS, the last season of DS9 (despite using an image from it ...) and the last few seasons of Voyager or any of Enterprise or some recent movies. (No big loss for the most part.) I hope that Babylon 5 quotebook comes out.
The Day of the Triffids Wyndham 1950s style end-of-the-world science fiction, with all the usual elements. A clean, clear style is the strength of this novel. anA well evoked sense of foreboding and doom helps too. The ending, however, is too abrupt - the work feels unfinished.
The Golden Mean Lyon A fictionalized rendition of part of the life of Aristotle, partially told as a flashback. All told from "his" perspective, as well. The author has portrayed him as bipolar, or something like it, which I don't know how justifiable that would be. There are some acknowledged by the author historical liberties; there are a few more that she doesn't seem to consider. One concerns Aristotle invoking "atoms" in an explanation of something. This is not just a historical liberty, it is an out and out mistake. The novel does seem to try to portray a favourable but realistic (at least with regards to treatment of slaves and women) view of the Hellenic world and the rise of Alexander, but something about it feels wrong too. Part of it is that the story doesn't seem to move. Aristotle just does stuff, remembers stuff. Warning: There are a LOT of allusions, and those not familiar with ancient philosophy might not get enough of them to avoid confusion.
The Inheritors Golding A curious, difficult novel about, of all things, the dawn of human history.
The Physicists Dürrenmatt An odd, surreal play about three inmates in an asylum, two of which think they are Newton and Einstein, respectively.
The Three Impostors Machen Oddly both Lovecraftian and Kierkegaardian, this is a bunch of stories within stories about an elaborate conspiracy, forgotten races, mysterious treasure, etc.
The Trial Kafka Although it is meant to, the dragging on of this novel is a bit much. We get the point fairly early on.
The Waste Land and other Poems Eliot The other poems, classics of English literature and rife with allusions are: "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock", "Preludes", "Sweeney Among the Nightingales", "Ash-Wednesday", "Journey of the Magi", "Marina", "Landscapes" and "The Rock" (parts - from a play). All are difficult to follow and suffused with religious imagery, particularly Christian, though oddly some reference Hinduism and Buddhism as well. Eliot had been a philosophy student, but it is difficult to detect direct philosophical themes in the narrow sense in the work, however.
The Wave Strasser This novel is a dramatization of a lesson in fascism a high school history teacher once used.
Wuthering Heights Brontë (ed. by Pritchett) A gory, depressing classic of 19th century literature. I tried to grasp any sort of point or goal to the story other than "people can be vicious" but did not discern one. The bulk of the story is actually told by a second level of indirection, becoming in part a third, which is a bit confusing in places. I am not sure what the goal of this approach was, but reminded me of Kierkegaard, especially as Brontë and Kierkegaard would have been approximate contemporaries.
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance Pirsig Pirsig's classic is a bit overrated.

 

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