Thursday, April 09, 2009

What is Michael Jubien reading?

The current featured contributor to Writers Read: Michael Jubien, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Florida and the author of the newly released Possibility (Oxford University Press).

His other publications include Ontology, Modality, and the Fallacy of Reference (recently re-issued in paperback by Cambridge University Press) and Contemporary Metaphysics.

Jubien majored in mathematics and minored in philosophy at Dartmouth College. He received the Ph.D. in philosophy and logic from the Rockefeller University in 1972 under the direction of Saul Kripke. He has taught at the University of Illinois, Chicago, the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and the University of California, Davis.

His Writers Read entry begins:
I am about 1000 or so pages into the recent, Pevear-Volokhonsky translation of War and Peace. I read the Garnett translation when I was in high school as part of an effort to go through all of the Modern Library’s Russian classics, but in retrospect I think I was in too much of a hurry and was too young to appreciate the deep and rich beauty of this titan of a book. The early reviews of the P-V translation were so favorable that I decided it was time to read it again, but to read it slowly and carefully this time. This approach has resulted in perhaps the most rewarding reading I’ve ever done.

This is clearly not the place for a book review or a summary of any kind. So I’ll just point to a few aspects of the book that have struck me the most, endearing me to the book. (1) Tolstoy’s detailed portrayal of the elite of Russian society is deeply sympathetic while often rather critical and even cynical. He really seems to be a ‘naturalist’ about people, their charms and their flaws, and their rituals and institutions. (2) His descriptions both of scenes in nature and episodes of human interaction, especially among children and young adults, are often remarkably beautiful and moving....[read on]
Learn more about Michael Jubien's scholarship at his faculty webpage.

Writers Read: Michael Jubien.

--Marshal Zeringue