George Scialabba Seminar

by Henry on July 9, 2009

We’ll soon be having a Crooked Timber seminar on George Scialabba’s wonderful book, “What Are Intellectuals Good For?” (Powells, Amazon). I really commend this book to CT readers – if you like the kinds of things that we talk about, you will almost certainly like this book. And if you read it, you will be You can also hear George in conversation on Chris Lydon’s Radio Open Source – his ability to speak in clear, beautifully articulated paragraphs is both frightening and awe-inspiring to the likes of myself (whose ability to respond to questions on the fly is … not quite as impressive).



geo (George Scialabba) 07.09.09 at 5:28 pm

Thank you, Henry, but I blush when I remember how heavily that conversation with Chris Lydon was edited.


Righteous Bubba 07.09.09 at 6:28 pm

Thanks. That was a good listen. Looking forward to the posts.


bert 07.09.09 at 8:14 pm

You also had an improving influence on Chris Lydon.
Whenever I’ve heard him he’s been winningly enthusiastic.
But on this occasion he burbled far less.

Ordered a copy, hope it arrives before you get started here.
Good cover, by the way.


anxiousmodernman 07.11.09 at 5:29 am

Second that, I like the cover.


Christian 07.11.09 at 9:01 pm

What’s with the cover??


terence 07.12.09 at 1:17 am

“And if you read it, you will be You”
That’s quite a promise Henry…are you sure.

More seriously, thanks for the link – the interview was fascinating. Looking forwards to the forum.


novakant 07.12.09 at 1:07 pm

Sounds interesting and I liked the interview.

One observation: from what I can gather, the book seems to be about US intellectuals or intellectuals in the English-speaking world and the situation in other countries, say France or Germany, is quite different. This is not a criticism of the author, as it is beyond any individual to summarize the state of intellectuals all over the world and of course there’s a language barrier, but sometimes it seems to me that the English-speaking world operates in a bubble.


Salient 07.12.09 at 1:53 pm

Please forgive a technical question, Henry — is this one of the CT “event” seminars for which various guest contributors provide a review of the book with geo’s response to those reviews comprising the final entry in the set of posts, or one of the CT seminars for which we read one chapter at a time and share our thoughts on the chapter in comments, with a focus on reading and responding to the posted discussion prompt for that chapter?

If this is an “event” style seminar with known guest contributors that could be named/identified, I’d like to go read their blogs or CVs or whatnot in advance of their book event posts. Either way, thank you for offering the seminar: I find geo’s work to be consistently engaging, even inspirational (I’m young enough to say such a thing and have it be coherent), and I’m looking forward to this seminar as a highlight of my summer.


Jeff Rubard 07.12.09 at 6:44 pm

I get a sense — though I’m reaching here — that it’s okay to buy things from Amazon, but it’s also okay to put an apostrophe in “Powell’s”: it’s owned by a Powell, they don’t sell them there.


SqueakyRat 07.12.09 at 9:36 pm

I was a bit stunned to learn that Sciallaba was once a member of Opus Dei. Way to fight free, guy!


geo 07.12.09 at 10:08 pm

Way to fight free, guy!

Actually, all the credit should go to Voltaire and John Stuart Mill.


Keara 07.16.09 at 3:57 pm

My copy of the book arrived yesterday, and I’m eagerly awaiting the seminar. Can someone please answer Salient’s question, above – “. . . is this one of the CT “event” seminars for which various guest contributors provide a review of the book . . . or one of the CT seminars for which we read one chapter at a time . . . ?” (I’m hoping it’s the latter, but there are probably too many chapters for that. Maybe we could do, say, 10 chapters?) Also, please, is there a start date yet?

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