From time to time, I think of winnowing down and revising my published work into a collection of essays. And then kicks in the memory of having a player in literary publishing in New York (fully “made,” as they say in the Mafia) tell me, in the tone one would use in explaining things to a child, “You can’t publish a book of essays until you are somebody.”
Well, now I’ll keep in mind the example of John Emerson, whose writings appear at Idiocentrism and who regularly intervenes in the CT comments section. He has launched the Éditions le Real imprint with a book of his poems and a volume of essays.
The latter, called Substantific Marrow, contains the following items, among others:
Ressentiment and Schooling / Could Nietzsche have Married Jane Austen? / Van Gogh as Chump / Gautier’s Hippo / Oafs and Wimps / Aristotle and Mollusc Sex / Kenneth Burke Faked it Too / What Was Cratylus Trying to Say? / Parmenides in Szechuan / On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the Philosophers / Hemoglobin and Alchemy / Fish Milk / The Authenticity and Feng Shui of Bob Dylan / Satie and the Sewing Machine / W. C. Fields and the American Family Comedy / Carl Schmitt and Leo Strauss / Agamben and Schmitt / Werewolves and the State / Orwell and Pacifism / Philosophers and Nuclear War / Transience and Water
They have been extracted and redacted from his website. Another book, this one of polemics, will appear in due course.
I post this in part because CT readers are the ideal audience; in part because Éditions le Real (part of Lulu) seems like a good example of the dispersal of authority for cultural production, per Yochai Benkler; and in part, finally, as a shameless effort to get for myself free copies of the books.