Charlie Bertsch (cbertsch) wrote,
Charlie Bertsch

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Post Script

I suppose it's time to come out of the closet. The other day, as Laura and I were having a delightful conversation about Marxist theories of pedagogy and blogging, I admitted to her that I'm starting to see a resemblance between my own prose and -- [insert immodesty alert here] -- that of Henry James.

That's a strange thing for several reasons. First, I haven't read that much Henry James. Second, I did everything in my power to shape my UC Berkeley Ph.D. exam committee so that I wouldn't have to talk about James, picking Carolyn Porter to supervise my third field so that she wouldn't be selected to handle one of my historical fields. Third, I have more than once referred to complex interpersonal situations as "Henry James-esque" as a way of indicating that they had become too turned-in-on-themselves, too precious. Fourth, my mother was fond of repeating her mother's assessment of James during my impressionable years, noting that his brother William was a far better writer.

I've long considered William James one of the greatest inspirations for both my thinking and writing. What I'm realizing of late, however, is that the part of me that writes things like obsessive-compulsive blog entries is ineluctably drawn to the indirectness of his brother. It's a wonder I ever get laid.

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