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.