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Fragments of a Stylistic Auto-Commentary

Occasionally, when penning these posts (note the paronomasia), your humble blogger vacillates in his formulations and struggles to find the mot juste. Apropos, need it be said, for instance, that instead of “fragments” in the title of this post, I first thought of the German word Fragmente, echoing the frequent recurrence by my father (who studied with Husserl in Freiburg) to Diels’s Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker in our conversations about the pre-Socratic philosophers? (I used to tell my own students that the truth could only be spoken in German.)

It might be of more than passing interest that when composing the post preceding this one (“Idiosyncratic Pronunciations: Tone-Deafness?”), I first wrote “slavish” and then changed the adjective to “stubborn” before settling on “contrarian.” The first variant was rejected for obvious––apotropaic––reasons (given the speaker being characterized); the second for reasons of insecurity regarding psychological motivation. Hence emerged “contrarian,” with its appositely neutral descriptive tinge, as the published variant.

MICHAEL SHAPIRO

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