9.17.2008

Update on the Researchin'

My homie A has been off in Peru, kicking ass and stomping all over archives. Among her many positive qualities, she has the gift of laser-focus, so I am not at all surprised that she's already dug through tons of data in the few weeks she's been down there. Inspired by her tales of funny Marxist reading rooms and wee museums, here's a quick update as to progress on my end.

At this point, I've gathered almost every book my guy, André Gorz, ever wrote. I started by haunting the bookstores of the Latin Quarter, but discovered that A. everything is too bloody expensive and B. they only had the stuff he wrote in the last ten or fifteen years before he died, anyway. In a bright fizzling 40-watt stroke of pseudo-genius, I decided to check out Amazon.fr, the French cousin of amazon.com. Sure enough, tons of books I could never find in the bookstores here or back in the states (or on the English-language main amazon site for that matter) popped right up. I bought 'em all and had them shipped to the UC center.

The search interface for the Bibliothèque Nationale is a nightmare, but I hunted down the one periodical Gorz wrote in back in the 50s that I'm quite sure I can't get in the states (Paris-Presse, AKA l'Intransigeant). The BN reopens next week after its annual month off, so I'll be there on Tuesday, swallowing my terror and confronting the full awesome power of French bureaucracy in hopes of getting a few reels of microfiche out of it.

On a happier note, I verified that the main periodicals Gorz wrote in (Le Nouvel Obs, which he co-founded, and Sartre's Les Temps Modernes) are not only available in the states, they're available in the bloody UC to the SC library! Yay for SCHOOL! Also, I got in touch with one of the major scholars who knew Gorz and wrote about him, and he agreed to answer a bunch of questions for me. Yay for E-MAIL!

This morning the latest book showed up in the mail at the center...Gorz's one true philosophical treatise, Fondements Pour Une Morale. It's...well, it's 600 pages of dense phenomenology. I've been steadily working through his better-known and more accessible stuff, but this one is going to be a bitch. Oh, André! Why did you have to party with Sartre and get inspired by him! One Critique of Dialectical Reason per century is more than enough!

So, basically, things are going ok. I feel like I'm truly lost in the surreal mists of dissertation research, shot-through with doubt. And that's how the system is supposed to work.

3 comments:

Elizabeth said...

Three cheers for Super Laser Focus Gorz- man! This sounds great! Lots of material, prospects and overwhelming feelings of self-doubt. You are in the thick of it now, my friend. We're dancing around with pom-poms in a semi-permanent state of enthusiastic support for your project.

Dolce Vita said...

How cool! That sounds awesome and I can't wait to hear about the BN. Can you take pictures inside?

the rambler said...

3 cheers to Amazon.fr - hadn't thought of that!