The View from Here: A Symposium on the Humanities in Honor of Philip Weinstein

Philip Weinstein

In this talk, Weinstein argues for "the value of what one sees from one's embedded position." He is introduced by his colleague Nora Johnson.

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Philip Weinstein, the Alexander Griswold Cummins Professor of English, presents "The View from Somewhere," originally published in Raritan: A Quarterly Review, Spring 2014. The subsequent panel includes responses to his talk by Carolyn Porter, professor of English Literature at UC- Berkeley, John Matthews, professor of English Literature at Boston University, Sean Latham '94, professor of English Literature at University of Tulsa, and Robert Bell, professor of English Literature at Williams College.

Before retiring in 2014, Weinstein taught courses and seminars on international Modernism as a literary and philosophical movement, featuring authors as varied as Kierkegaard, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, Dostoevsky, Rilke, Kafka, Proust, Joyce, Woolf, Beckett, and Benjamin. He also approaches American fiction concerned with race by way of a course that pairs Faulkner and Morrison, as well as one that places Faulkner, Wright, Ellison, and O'Connor in a Dostoevskian context. In addition, he pursues his interest in the aesthetics and ideology of realism, modernism, and postmodernism through the epic fictions of Tolstoy, Joyce, and García-Márquez.

The recipient of several NEH Fellowships and an ACLS Fellowship, Weinstein has written half a dozen books that range from James to Faulkner and Morrison (in American literature), and from Dickens through Joyce (in British literature). His comparative interests - centered on Kafka, Proust, and Faulkner - are most fully explored in his Unknowing: The Work of Modernist Fiction (2005). Finally, his abiding focus on William Faulkner has led to three books either centered on Faulkner or featuring him in their concerns: Faulkner's Subject: A Cosmos No One Owns (1992), What Else But Love? The Ordeal of Race in Faulkner and Morrison (1996), and Unknowing. This same focus animates his most recent study of Faulkner, a speculative reading of the interplay between Faulkner's life and work, Becoming Faulkner (2009).