By Richard M. Rorty, Kent Puckett
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Additional info for Against Bosses, Against Oligarchies: A Conversation with Richard Rorty
The department was put into receivership some years back, and started up again with a bunch of analytic philosophers. But in those days, if you wanted a career, it was the wrong place to study. Yale had offered me a fellowship, and Harvard hadn’t, so I went to Yale. It was decisive for the kind of training I got. If I had gone to Harvard, my career would have been utterly different. So I had to quickly fix myself up during three years at Wellesley, and again during my first few years at Princeton.
It was just that I got a call from the chair of an English department who needed somebody to teach philosophy to English graduate students. Q: What is your position at Stanford going to be? RR: Professor of Comparative Literature. When it comes to finding jobs, I have been always dependent on the kindness of professors of literature. In this case, the equivalent of Don Hirsch was Sepp Gumbrecht. When I was at Stanford in 1996-7, he invited me to come to his philosophy discussion group. Like all German scholars, he thinks American graduate students don’t know enough about philosophy.
Just as I wouldn’t have written Achieving Our Country if Harvard hadn’t asked me to give the Massey lectures, I wouldn’t have dared write about Orwell if Trinity College, Cambridge hadn’t asked me to give the Clark lectures. The Clarks had to have some relation to literature. ” Q: It seems to me that those sections, those on Nabokov and Orwell, are among the most persuasive in Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity. Your arguments about cruelty and re-description are fleshed out really nicely in those chapters.