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[JANUARY 2008.]

I am a useless heap of formless content, but here’s something: I was telling J. about how I always associate Schubert and Schumann with Schelling and Schlegel and Schiller and those guys, because of contemporaneity and my inability to tell all the damn kraut names apart, and all at once we realized that a lot of German philosophers pair up pretty intuitively with German composers (construing “German” a bit broadly). These were the obvious ones:

Bach :: Leibniz (each voice a monad, yet they synchronize by divine fiat!)

Haydn :: Spinoza

Mozart -> Beethoven :: Kant -> Hegel

Schubert/the Schumanns :: Schiller/the Schlegels/Schelling

Wagner :: Nietzsche

Frege -> Vienna Circle :: Schoenberg -> Second Viennese School

But we had plenty of unanswered questions. There wasn’t a clear Brahms in the running (Fichte? Novalis?). J. thought that Mahler should be Husserl; I thought he should be Schopenhauer; and then there’s Bruckner and Strauss to deal with. The twentieth century got completely hazy—is Henze Habermas? Is Adorno Stockhausen? Who’s going to be Wittgenstein and Heidegger? Dear web, your thoughts are welcome.

schopenhauer should clearly be wagner. nietzsche dumped him!

Ah yes - "Wagner as Educator!"

adorno ought to be his composition teacher, berg!

"No Teddie, it's not that there's anything wrong with your tone rows. You put it all together very correctly. There's just something... not there...."

no way, beethoven has to be kant. mozart is more of a wolff figure. I'm going to say Wagner is Hegel (though if we're being nasty, how about Liszt?), schopenhauer is bruckner, fichte is chopin (or maybe liszt). and spinoza is biber, for sure.

I like Wolff : Mozart :: Kant : Beethoven because that fixes up the chronology with the Sch guys. Hegel : Wagner gets both the influence and the pomposity lined up aright. Maybe Liszt can be Fichte and Chopin Novalis, though we're getting outside Germany there.

and frege really has to be reger

wittgenstein is webern, ain't he?

The Tractatus fits Webern like a right-handed glove turned around in four-dimensional space (though I think you need to keep Frege as Schoenberg then). But the later Wittgenstein? If Webern were somehow reincarnated in even stranger form after that bullet got him in Salzburg....

- i'd buy mahler as schopenhauer. we still need a nietzsche.
- scriabin
- who is schoenberg?
- carnap or ernst mach
in which case berg can be carnap
- husserl is tricky
alkan, maybe?
- hmm... and then a Heidegger to come after
- stravinsky
for sure
but then husserl can't really be alkan
he'd have to be debussy or something
but that doesn't really fit

well, if heidegger is stravinsky, then husserl should be rimsky-korsakov, i guess. hmm.


Have read [Francis Marion Crawford’s] Mr. Isaacs this week and like it. It’s quite refreshing after the Ann Elizas, Henry James and Howells etc.—the tiger hunt is very good.

—Clover Adams to her father, January 14, 1883


I mustn’t interrupt it too much with elucidations or it will be interminable.

—Henry James’s notebooks, while working on The Spoils of Poynton


Lost in the Snow

Driving at night with a misted windscreen behind a utility truck that strobes orange flashes over the hills, every flash an object flying at us.

Wake up. We should wake up.

I remember those drives, those dreams so well.... Where did humankind find its nightmares before the automobile?


Every Man His Own Boswell

Blizzards off and on for the last few days. Earth and sky the same color, cut off from California. On the higher slopes of Reno, where my family lives, around a foot of snow has come down and humped itself over the sage like a spread of creamy yogurt. It fills in the hollows of the traffic signals and the red and green lights shine past in crescents, like eclipsed moons. In the vacant lot behind the Wal-Mart snow ploughs have raised great pyramids.

I do my job on the fourth floor and watch snowflakes fall past the Wells Fargo building, or swallows, depending on the time of day. In my back office there is a large electric fan that looks over my shoulder: its model name is “Typhoon” and its proprietary blade technology is “Silent FORCE.” Henry Adams was all too right about the American worship of power.


This year I got freaked out about the brevity of human life too. It’s so frustrating to spend so much of your life in flight from cliche, or not even bothering to run because you are so convinced that cliche exists in a completely separate universe from your own original self, and then run like Oedipus straight into the arms of your terrible destiny. Of contemplating your thirtieth birthday with trepidation, and realizing your parents - yea, and your own self! - are going to die. I looked down at my sleeve just now and found a fallen grey hair. Good grief.

For the past few months I had been OK with my sole gray hair, cause usually you couldn’t see it under the other hairs, then in a fit I decided to sever it for 2008. Operation Inappropriately Extended Youth!

I drove from Reno to Winnemucca today, and back again. This year I want a mind wide like those plains. Snow and sage, and a couple of birds, and enough time to regard each thing and know it.


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