Tuesday, April 29, 2014

business as usual

Today is the feast day of St Catherine of Siena, who is more or less the patron saint of my novel Go Home, Miss America. I had no plans to write about St Catherine or Go Home, Miss America. I was going to write a post about Benito Perez Galdos' novel My Friend Manso (starts strong, continues as a great novel, begins to dissolve a bit toward the end, but the final chapter is excellent; maybe I'll write something more useful than that in the coming days), and I was thinking I'd write about how Ralph Waldo Emerson is known in America as a sort of kindly grandfather figure in love with the splendor of nature but if you read his essays (I'm reading The Portable Emerson now) you discover that he was just another of those 19th-century Will to Power guys, who privileged himself and his own needs above those of everyone else, a guy who hated the idea of charity ("Why should I feed the poor? Are they my poor?") and set the tone for an America which feels free to act on the global stage with no regard for any other nation. In other words, a lunatic. You should read the bit in "Self-Sufficiency" (by which he means something more like "self-regard" or "self-worship" than anything about paying one's own way) where he gives God a job description. Koo-koo-ca-choo, as we say at my house. The Thompson Gale Encyclopedia of Philosophy describes all of this as Emerson's "torturous metaphysical hallucination." I laughed out loud when I read that. But I'm not posting about Grampa Emerson, not today. Today I'm posting to say that I continue to query literary agents regarding my novel Go Home, Miss America. I'm also revising a book called Mona in the Desert which seems pretty good, and I'm tinkering with the first chapter or so of a book called The Transcendental Detective before I send it off to a publisher for possible rejection. We'll see. Anyway, business as usual, I guess. The detective novel has a lot about Immanuel Kant as a crime-fighter. There's a sequel in which the detective comments on the moral bankruptcy of Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics when she's not interrogating circus animals.

8 comments:

  1. Have you read the Michael Gregorio written novels also featuring Kant?

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    1. I have not. Is Kant an actual character in the novels? That would be cool. A friend of mine wants to write a series of mysteries featuring Franz Josef Haydn as the detective. They'd be called The Kapellmeister Mysteries. "Got a problem? Call the Kapellmeister!"

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    2. An aged Kant is present in two or three that I read and reviewed. The authors behind the pen name are husband and wife team. I interviewed them for the now defunct Mystery News several years ago. The mystery novels feature Hanno Stefanis, a Kant protege. I recommend them.

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    3. I have a friend who read one of those. She reads Kant in German. She was very disappointed in the use of Kant. "You wanted him to be the detective?" I asked. "No, I wanted him to be the killer!"

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    4. That would be excellent. "How do you know that corpse exists? And if it does, how do you know that corpse is experiencing what you call death? Where's your a priori experience of the experience of that corpse, eh? No, gentlemen, I deny everything."

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  2. Glad to hear about your projects, Scott. Go, go, go! I found this post about not being about anything to be fairly educational for what it was or was not.

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    1. I owe you an email! This post is all about the spaces between being and nothingness. And circus animals.

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  3. Koo-koo-ca-choo, indeed! I fully admit I don't know much about Emerson, but now I have a healthy interest in reading a bit more of him to discover this quite distasteful attitude of his. I want an email too, Mr. Bailey. Or maybe I should write one to you ...

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