Sunday, October 01, 2017

About Isaac Newton


Preparatory reading for my MA course, which begins properly tomorrow, is happily reinforcing my obsession with the notion of an epistemological canon — essentially, what can/should we be expected to know; or, to put it another way, what prompts a disapproving glance from Richard on Pointless?

For example, re-reading Barthes’s Mythologies, I come across this in the introduction:
...which also has echoes of Bachelard and Hjelmslev...
and assume I’m just *meant* to know who they are. I mean, I know there’s Google (although there wasn’t the first time I read Barthes) but the throwaway feel to the phrase implies, you know, Bachelard and Hjelmslev, those guys... And then, in another book, I find:
...the scientist Isaac Newton...
and this annoys me for the opposite reason. Oh, right, the *scientist* Isaac Newton, as opposed to the plumber, the travelling salesman, the serial killer.

But of course, my annoyance is pretty solipsistic; my gripe is that the authors’ assumptions, in both cases, fail to correlate with what I (don’t) know. Although deep down I rather hope there’s someone who’s a mirror image of me, who’s fully conversant with Bachelard and Hjelmslev and all their works, but doesn’t know who Isaac Newton was.

And in other news, I think I’ll give up on social media, because the best Instagram name has already been taken.

6 comments:

Vicus Scurra said...

What's Instagram?

Annie said...

Gosh it's been so long, it took 15 minutes to work out how to leave a comment.

Hurrah! we can be students together! Liquorice paper rollies all round!
Where are you studying?

Tim Footman said...

It is a foolish game the young folk enjoy while listening to Russ Conway in coffee bars.

Tim Footman said...

Gosh, Annie, didn't see you hiding there.

I am at Birkbeck, doing an MA in Cultural and Critical Studies. I am the oldest, including the teachers. Today I said something about New Kids On The Block and I'm not sure whether it registered.

Martin said...

Good luck with the MA, Tim. Although I'm sure luck won't be necessary. I was ancient when I started as a postgrad at City University. By the time I graduated, I was dead.

Annie said...

How fab. Birkbeck is great.