A Palimpsest of Sorts


A Palimpsest of Sorts

Sunday night I found a framed pastel portrait I had been looking for for several months. My brother John did it in high school, from a photo in National Geographic, if I remember correctly.

Cleaning the glass, I noticed something behind the pastel. I took off the back panel and found a painting, a watercolor, stapled to the panel.

I assume it too is by John.

If that’s the case, then nearly fifty years ago John was painting a barbed-wire fence. And now, fifty years later, I’m co-authoring a book about barbed wire.

It feels like a gift from beyond the grave.

About Scott Abbott

I received my Ph.D. in German Literature from Princeton University in 1979. Then I taught at Vanderbilt University, BYU, and Utah Valley State College. At Utah Valley University, I directed the Program in Integrated Studies for its initial 13 years and was also Chair of the Department of Humanities and Philosophy for three years. My publications include a book on Freemasonry and the German Novel, two co-authored books with Zarko Radakovic (REPETITIONS and VAMPIRES & A REASONABLE DICTIONARY, published in Serbo-Croatian in Belgrade and in English with Punctum Books), a book with Sam Rushforth (WILD RIDES AND WILDFLOWERS, Torrey House Press), a "fraternal meditation" called IMMORTAL FOR QUITE SOME TIME (University of Utah Press), and translations of three books by Austrian author Peter Handke, of an exhibition catalogue called "The German Army and Genocide," and, with Dan Fairbanks, of Gregor Mendel's important paper on hybridity in peas. More famously, my children are in the process of creating good lives for themselves: as a model and dance/yoga studio manager, as a teacher of Chinese language, as an ecologist and science writer, as a jazz musician, as a parole officer, as a contractor, as a seasonal worker (Alaska and Park City, Utah), and as parents. I share my life with UVU historian Lyn Bennett, with whom I have written a cultural history of barbed wire -- THE PERFECT FENCE (Texas A&M University Press). Some publications at http://works.bepress.com/scott_abbott/
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2 Responses to A Palimpsest of Sorts

  1. mikerol says:

    That is an interesting water color which says why the hell is that fence there staking out a claim in paradise!


    • Scott Abbott says:

      the vicious wire has become a part of the landscape over time. there’s almost no place in the west you can go and not find barbed-wire fences. and for a 17-year old boy who has grown up with a sense that it’s not out of place, it makes a pretty way to demonstrate perspective.


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