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 http://works.bepress.com/scott_abbott/

Respect: Louise Erdrich’s The Night Watchman

While holding congressional hearings aimed at terminating treaty rights of various Native American tribes, Senator Arthur K. Watkins, Utah, wrote to leaders of the LDS church (13 April 1954):  The more I go into this Indian problem the more I … Continue reading

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Metaphor, Religion, and the Human Condition

This evening I finished reading Marilynne Robinson’s new novel Jack. A blurb on the back cover says that Robinson “is one of the great religious novelists. . . .” Another blurb talks about her “spiritual force.” President Obama listed this … Continue reading

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Janice Hilton Abbott

A year ago today we held a funeral for our mother. She died on December 3, just short of the age of 91. Here are a few of the thoughts I expressed at that time: Mom was born in Salt … Continue reading

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Peter Handke’s “Head Coverings in Skopje”

On a bright November morning, with hope for relief from nationalist and xenophobic provocations by our current red-hatted narcicist-in-chief, I offer this translation of Peter Handke’s paean to “and” as opposed to “or” (from the book Once Again for Thucydides). … Continue reading

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Abstracting Nature, Reifying Time

This gallery contains 3 photos.

A beautiful fall day and I have time for a walk this afternoon. Like so often before—I’ve been walking this route for fifteen years—I pick up a smooth stone on the way down the hill, what Germans call a Handschmeichler—a … Continue reading

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Words about clouds are clouds themselves

It’s no secret that I have developed an obsession with clouds. It’s not a scientific obsession like the one Richard Hamblyn describes in his book about Luke Howard—the Quaker amateur meteorologist who gave us words to name and thus classify … Continue reading

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Reading Notes

Walking this morning, I watched two bicyclists ride past and couldn’t remember the German word for a road bike. “Strasse…”–street…, I thought, and then the word “Strassenkreuzer” came to mind, street cruiser (cruiser as in a warship, streetcruiser as in … Continue reading

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Mormonism and White Supremacy: The Case of Steven Epperson

            Joanna Brooks’ Mormonism and White Supremacy: American Religion and the Problem of Racial Innocence (Oxford University Press, 2020) has given me new ways to think about Steven Epperson’s review of McConkie’s and Millet’s book Our Destiny and BYU’s subsequent investigation and decision to fire … Continue reading

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Coming to Know My Place

On July 3, The New York Times published a piece by Natasha Trethewey, former poet laureate of the United States and former poet laureate of Mississipi. The title was “Goodbye to a Symbol That Told Black Americans to ‘Know Your … Continue reading

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Turkey Talk, Cursive Clouds

Walking today around a familiar loop on the side of our mountain— about 10 kilometers with maybe 400 meters of altitude gain—I stepped off Summit Creek Road (there is neither summit nor a creek, just a developer’s scheme to sell … Continue reading

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