Friday, April 29, 2005
About a month ago, I sent a letter off to Graeme Nicholson, a professor of mine in undergrad. He was fantastic. He had a wide range of interests, big bushy eyebrows, a wonderful way of holding himself -- so jovial! so merry! -- , and an unending curiosity about philosophy. Anyway, I took PHL102Y: History of Philosophy with him, my first philosophy class ever, and loved it. I proceeded to take at least one class with Graeme every year of my undergrad. I did an independent study with him in my final year that I still kinda like (it's horribly awkward and uninformed -- I didn't have much grasp of philosophical literature, and the notion of being up-to-date on philosophical debate -- but it still expresses a lot of my concerns/interests about the relationship between the individual and the community; my dissertation is a pretty natural outgrowth of that independent study). I bought him a bottle of scotch while I was in Scotland. He wrote me a great reference letter, but most importantly, he told me I had a future as a philosopher.
Anyway, I ended up at Fordham because of Graeme -- he introduced me to his student, Michael Baur, who is a professor here at Fordham, and who invited me to come visit Fordham (which is why I'd heard of Fordham in the first place). Further, it looks very much like Baur will be my dissertation director (either Baur or Tress, with whom I'm currently doing my independent study on feminist ethics & autonomy). So, my whole career in philosophy: all thanks to Graeme.
I got a handwritten response to my card today from him. Yay! How exciting! My hero! Here's the letter, just 'cause I'm so excited:
Your card was most welcome, and I thank you for your thoughtfulness. I have often wondered how you're finding Fordham, and it sounds as if it's meeting your needs. I suspected you would be working with Michael Baur (please pass on my best wishes when you see him) -- perhaps on Fichte? German Idealism? I'd like to hear what you decide on.
Did you know I spent three years in New York? Union Theological Seminary, 1957-1960, a great school then at its peak. As it turned out, I didn't opt to pursue theology and went to Germany to pursue philosophy instead.
My three years of retirement have been happy; I've done a lot of reading + writing, and have just about finished a book called Reason and Spirit, some of whose contents will be known to you.
I was glad to learn that you miss Canada, and I hope you'll find an appointment here in due course. I hope you'll let me know if I can write letters on your behalf.
YAY!!! Yay Graeme! I'm so happy. Here's a paper of Graeme's, on Hegel and death (reading it -- it's remarkable how similar Graeme's voice is to Robertson Davies's, in some ways -- two men of a generation, from small-town Canada).
Anyway, I just wanted to share.
[I should be working in my office right now, but my officemate Gary has a student in there who plagiarized. She's weeping up a storm. She sounds really upset. Well, she shouldn't have plagiarized. Poor Gary. She's lying to him right through her teeth, about where she got the material from, which is even worse]
jane 11:59 AM [+]