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

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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On a Snowy Evening, Intimations of Mortality

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Working at home today — if reading Andrew Curran’s new biography of Diderot for the class on the European/American Enlightenment I’m teaching can be called work — I  witnessed a most remarkable succession of clouds.

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Fire on the Mountain

Three months ago we were evacuated from our home in Woodland Hills, Utah, along with other residents of our town and people in Elk Ridge, Covered Bridge Canyon, and residents in Hobble Creek Canyon, because of a threatening fire burning … Continue reading

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Hyunmee Lee at the NuArt Gallery in Santa Fe

Lyn and I spent an afternoon during our Thanksgiving break with our friend Hyunmee Lee’s new paintings in Santa Fe, an exhibition called “Epochal Dimensions.” We have lived for a decade with three of Hyunmee’s paintings. I wrote about the … Continue reading

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My Son and My Friend: Birthdays on November 24

This conjunction of birthdays (my son Ben and my friend Sam) leads me, today, to think about friendship and family. Father/Son relationships are difficult in as many ways as they are rewarding. “Your mum and dad,” as Philip Larkin famously … Continue reading

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A Utah Woman

. . . who tried to hire a hitman to kill her ex-husband was sentenced to prison on Monday — a three-year-to-life sentence.” The Salt Lake Tribune, 30 October 2018 “The prosecutor said human life meant nothing to her. ‘She is … Continue reading

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