“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Buddhaphobia Will Be Published by Chicago

Just got the confirmation yesterday. Brilliant! Some of you were wondering what was going on with it.

Of course one needs to respond to two very nice reader's reports. So I hope I'm not jumping the gun here, but Alan Thomas the Chicago editor is keen on making it work.

I love responding to reports. If you can read them right, even negative reports are workable. You have to swallow and be a bit humble and realize that scholarship is all about seeing what people can't see about their style and about what they're saying. There is an enlightened aspect to working with them.

But in this case--which is excellent as this is quite controversial stuff--it all worked out just right.

Alan came up with that idea while chatting with me last year. He has this series, Trios, in which three people discuss something, in long-essay format, rather than just squawking their individual squawks like parrots in a tree, I mean essay collection. It's a really good idea, isn't it?

I got together with two other scholars of Buddhism, Marcus Boon and Eric Cazdyn, and we decided it really would be good to pool all our stuff together into a real conversation rather than a collection of essays.

I figured out, also, that what I had wasn't a book, it was a very long essay. It's a bit technical but there is a sharp difference between an essay and a book. Now it feels right. Trust me I've done lots of both.

It's not about length. For instance, Dark Ecology will be shorter than this. But for sure it's a book, not an essay.

The book is called Nothing: Three Inquiries in Buddhism and Critical Theory.

We have all exchanged hilarious emails called things like “Here Is Nothing” and “Comments on Nothing” for about a year. “Is Nothing Ready?” We put it together while I was talking at UC Davis last year.

So I've written this roughly 30 000 word thing (which is about as long as Cary Wolfe's new book, and longer than Dark Ecology will be--stand by for more on that), which says almost everything I've wanted to say. It's called “Buddhaphobia: Nothingness and the Fear of Things.”

Knowing how these things go I bet it will be out early next year.

This has been kind of a long process. So many other things to do, and the argument needed to be tuned just right. You can see posts on it going back to November 2010 here.

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