Archaeology of Criticism



"A preface is a place for genealogy, apology and the acknowledgement of debts." [Stanley Cohen & Laurie Taylor, Escape Attempts: The Theory and practice of Resistance to Everyday Life 1 (New York: Penguin Books, 1978)(1976)]

"To describe one's aim in writing a book is rather like explaining a joke in advance." [Robert A. Samek, The Meta Phenomenon xiii (New York: Philosophical Library, 1981)]

"This book does not run a straight course from beginning to end. It hunts; and in the hunting, it sometimes worries the same raccoon in different trees, or different raccoons in the same tree, or even what turns out to be no raccoon in any tree. It finds itself balking more than once at the same barrier and taking off on other trails. It drinks often from the same streams, and stumbles over some cruel country. It counts not the kill but what is learned of the territory explored." [Nelson Goodman, Ways of Worldmaking ix (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1978)]

"Every explorer needs provisions. One does not forge into the wilderness alone. Yet few ever hear about base camps, the bearers, the incredible logistics involved in mounting an expedition. We admire the courage of the few who reach the summit, but we forget that the privilege of courage presupposes the preparation that distinguishes courage from foolish bravado.

This book is an exploration, a series of log entries based on adventures in some little known lands of the intellect. Of course there are those who have gone before. But it is worth noting at the outset that these scribblings make no claims to be definite maps, only sketches drawn by a pen moving all too quickly before cold or storm forced a retreat to the safety of more familiar thoughts. Once the less familiar has become more familiar, others will doubtless find it both necessary and possible to improve upon these primitive charts." [James Ogilvy, Many Dimensional Man: Decentralizing Self, Society, and the Sacred 1 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1977)]

"I have written down all these thoughts as remarks, short paragraphs, of which there is sometimes a fairly long chain about the same subject, while I sometimes made a sudden change, jumping from one topic to another. --It was my intention at first to bring all this together in a book whose form I pictured differently at different times. But the essential thing was that the thoughts should proceed from one subject to another in a natural order and without breaks.

After several unsuccessful attempts to weld my results together into such a whole, I realized that I should never succeed. The best that I could write would never be more than philosophical remarks; my thoughts were soon crippled if I tried to force them on in any single direction against their natural inclination. --And this was, of course, connected with the very nature of the investigation. For this compels us to travel over a wide field of thought criss-cross in every direction. --The philosophical remarks in this book are, as it were, a number of sketches of landscapes which were made in the course of these long and involved journeyings.

The same or almost the same points were always being approached afresh from different directions, and new sketches made. Very many of these were badly drawn or uncharacteristic, marked by all the defects of a weak draughtsman. And when they were rejected a number of tolerable ones were left, which now had to be arranged and sometimes cut down, so that if you looked at them you could get a picture of the landscape. Thus this book is really only an album." [Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations v (New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., G.E.M. Anscombe transl., 3rd ed., 1968)]


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