Thursday, November 4, 2010

Blogging and Letter Writing

Well, I have certainly been missing in action, with nothing posted since October 16. The past two weeks I have been under the gun, finishing all the details that are involved in submitting a manuscript (in this case, the volume on the origins of freedom of speech in the 18th century) to a publisher. One has to do literally everything these days. The numbers of errors, misprints, and the like in books these days had long suggested to me either that publishers no longer provide basic copyediting or that the copyeditors are illiterate. So, I spent a long time with basic copyediting of the contributors to my volume. I also wrote what will eventually be the jacket copy for the book, and I will post that soon.

Shortly after I initiated this blog, I realized I could not keep up blogging on a daily basis. To write about Goethe, after all, requires some thought. Still, I had hoped to make this a record of my work, both on Goethe and on other subjects. For the most part I think I have been successful in that aim, though I would like to have posted more. Thinking, and then putting down one's thoughts in writing, takes a lot of work!

Recently I read a review essay by the classics scholar Peter Green in The New Republic. The subject was a new biography of the novelist William Golding with whom Green was friends many decades ago, when both lived with their families on some Greek island. (Those were the days.) Professor Green, a classics scholar, mentioned in his review that he and Golding had also exchanged long letters, and gave some details from those letters.

I still write letters occasionally. (In fact, I even wrote one to Professor Green, with whom I have earlier corresponded, after reading the review.) Before the computer and emails, however, I wrote often and long letters at that, especially when I lived in Asia. Letters were a way of keeping up with friends and family, letting them know what I was up to. It struck me on reading the review of the Golding biography that the blog has become my way of keeping up, with letting people know what I am up to. Thus, the "Etc." in the name of this blog, since Goethe is not my only subject of research and writing.

Still, I long to get back to Goethe. Though my knowledge of the 18th century has expanded considerably, the free speech volume has diverted me somewhat from my main area of literary interest. I barely have a chance to read anymore. And I am also falling behind in my "letter writing," i.e., blogging. When I can read again, I can get back to thinking and writing.

Picture credits: Clipart ETC. ; Gopal Khetanchi

1 comment:

Zentrist said...

I wonder what these Krishna devotees are thinking about and, one of the young ladies--writing! With holidays approaching I look forward to note-writing if not letter writing. (To my cousins in Taos, NM. and to friends here and there.) I've been reading some Faulkner lately; he shares with Golding a non-Rousseauan view of human nature (or so it seems to me). I compliment you on the amazing amount and quality of work you do--including articles of note in my favorite magazine, "The Weekly Standard." I've also recently stumbled upon something you wrote years ago for First Things, "The Self in Full." This article, in turn, informs me you've written on "spiritual autobiography." You know, indeed, life is short and one cannot read as much as one would like! But without this incredible work I cannot imagine life at all!