Standing as Metaphor

Working this summer on a book I began thinking about while still teaching at Vanderbilt University in the 1980’s. The first chapter explores the metaphor of standing in Sophocles’ Oedipus the King and in Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis.” What does it meaning to be human? It means to go on 4 legs in the morning, on 2 at noon, and on 3 in the evening. Unfortunately, that heroic uprightness is fraught with impending decay as the name Oedipus / Swollen Foot portends. The Sphinx can’t standing on 2 legs, nor can the vermin Gregor Samsa has become. Gregor’s upright family, however, is both stagnant and violent as Homo erectus.

I’ll offer the topic as an Integrated Studies course this coming fall. And perhaps have a good draft of the book by the end of summer 2018.


About Scott Abbott

Ph.D. in German Literature from Princeton University, 1979. Then I taught at Vanderbilt University, BYU, and Utah Valley State College. At Utah Valley University, I'm Director of the Program in Integrated Studies and former Chair of the Department of Humanities and Philosophy. My publications include a book on Freemasonry and the German Novel, two co-authored books with Zarko Radakovic (published in Serbo-Croatian in Belgrade), and translations of a book by Austrian author Peter Handke and of a catalogue of an exhibit called "The German Army and Genocide." More famously, my children are in the process of creating good lives for themselves: as a model and manager, as a teacher of Chinese language, as a watershed scientist and science writer, as a jazz musician, as a corrections officer, as university students, and as parents. I share my life with UVU historian Lyn Bennett and our yellow dog Blue. Some publications at
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