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
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/