Author Archives: Scott Abbott

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

Alex Caldiero on Fame, Anonymity, Oblivion

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Memento mori

Last week I got a reminder from my dermatologist that I was overdue for an examination. Because of sun damage over the years to the skin on my face and arms, these are important visits, saving me more times than … Continue reading

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[The title of this blog, The Goalie’s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick, is Michael Roloff’s translation of the title of Peter Handke’s novel Die Angst des Tormanns beim Elfmeter. Our correspondence over two decades consisted in large part of responses … Continue reading

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Film of Our Lecture on the Meanings of Barbed Wire

The UVU Library has just posted this film of the lecture Lyn and I gave earlier in the month. First half about Native Americans and barbed wire, the second half about advertising barbed wire at the end of the 19th … Continue reading

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Germans on Harleys

Scott Carrier’s ecstatic piece on Germans in the landscape of southern Utah is now up on the Goethe Institute’s site (#11). Beautiful, idyllic, isn’t it, Scott says, channeling Alex Caldiero. The Germans he interviews keep saying it is the “wideness” of … Continue reading

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Rick Gate: Anthology

This morning, I drove to Spring City with artists Alex Caldiero and Tom Schulte. We met Rick Gate at Das Cafe, where, joined by Otto Mileti, former owner of the Zephyr Club in SLC, we ate Bratwurst, mashed potatoes with … Continue reading

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Goethe, Diderot, and the Lost Manuscript of Rameau’s Nephew

Reading Andrew Curran’s Diderot and the Art of Thinking Freely, I came across an interesting connection to something I wrote for a book my friend Zarko Radakovic and I have just finished. Curran points out that after spending time in prison for … Continue reading

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Reviews of our book: The Perfect Fence

Two recent takes on our attempts to untangle the meanings of barbed wire:

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The Real Poem, by Alex Caldiero

I read this little gem late this afternoon, sun low on the horizon, clouds sifting snowflakes through the light. I’ve never touched the hair of one either, Alex, but, supposing poems to be women (as Nietzsche posited about truth), you … Continue reading

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Further Intimations of Mortality

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