Saturday, November 9, 2013
#313 / Intimate History
Theodore Zeldin (pictured) has written a very interesting book, An Intimate History of Humanity. For the life of me, I can't remember how I managed to acquire a copy of this book, but I have had a copy of it for years. The book I possess is stamped with an address on the title page that indicates that I must have picked up the book, somehow, when I was the General Counsel of the Planning and Conservation League, which means sometime between 1995 and 1998. I am just reading it now.
Zeldin's book reminds me of another unusual and interesting book - one recommended to me by Page Smith, the great American historian who was the first Provost of Cowell College at the University of California at Santa Cruz. That book is titled, Out of Revolution, by Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy. I recommend both the books!
With respect to Zeldin's book, each chapter begins with a kind of "conversation" between Zeldin and a person whose life and thinking is somehow related to the topic of the chapter. It's hard to describe the technique, which I don't remember having seen before. What I particularly like about An Intimate History is the sense, as we are guided by the author, that each one of us does, indeed, possess that "piece of good news" that Ugo Betti mentions in The Burnt Flower Bed, and that I mentioned most recently in reviewing a book by a high school friend, Karl Schonborn.
Zeldin's most recent project has been the creation of the Oxford Muse Foundation. He is seeking to advance the message that "conversation" is a way to "change our lives."
There's something in that!