4.0299 Holmes; Borges and Foucault; ...and Kuhn; Zen (4/103)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Wed, 18 Jul 90 18:07:53 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 4, No. 0299. Wednesday, 18 Jul 1990.

(1) Date: 18 Jul 90 00:24:31 EST (36 lines)
Subject: 4.0291 Holmes

(2) Date: Wed, 18 Jul 90 12:01 EST (12 lines)
From: "Peter D. Junger" <JUNGER@CWRU>
Subject: Thanks for the source of the Borges quotation

(3) Date: Wed, 18 Jul 90 16:22 CDT (36 lines)
From: Michael Hancher <MH@UMNACVX.BITNET>
Subject: Foucault > Borges > Franz Kuhn?

(4) Date: Wed, 18 Jul 90 11:51 EST (19 lines)
From: "Peter D. Junger" <JUNGER@CWRU>
Subject: Dutch student of Zenn

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: 18 Jul 90 00:24:31 EST
Subject: 4.0291 Holmes (2/27)

Can't resist: quotation marks or underlining A Study in Scarlet? The
first edition of that work appeared as the only editorial contents of
something called *Beeton's Christmas Annual* in 1887. Beeton was a
magazine publisher who would at Christmas sell ads to put out a
Christmas thing, and in that year the only thing in the book (about the
size and shape of a copy of Readers' Digest) was the story by Conan
Doyle. There are numerous pages of ads at the beginning, and others (I
think later on). Now if an entire issue of a periodical be given over
to a single story (which is later sometimes published in a volume with
other stories and sometimes published separately), is that story a
`novel' and therefore to be underscored or a `story' and therefore to be
put in quotation marks?

Serious question.

I know the *Beeton's Christmas Annual* so well because once upon a time
in the stacks of Sterling Library at Yale I was looking idly at the
Conan Doyle range and wondered what this odd little cardboard covered,
untitled volume was. It was indeed the first first edition, sloppily
bound in cardboard in the library bindery. I knew that this was an
extreme bibliographical rarity (who in 1887 knew that *this* edition of
this throwaway magazine on little better than newsprint contained a
literary classic?) and knew perfectly well that it would be a matter of
two seconds concealment to get it out of the building. Instead I took
it to the reference desk, who asked me to write up a note explaining why
it was rare and valuable (1960s price: over $1000) and they would pass it
on. I nosed further and found taht the reason why a copy was in the
stacks was that they already had a copy in Beinecke (with `With the
Author's Compliments' but no signature on the first page of the story)
and figured that the second was just redundant and could be left in the
stacks to circulate! Any curious Yalie would do me a favor to check and
see if both copies are now safely in Beinecke.
(2) --------------------------------------------------------------18----
Date: Wed, 18 Jul 90 12:01 EST
From: "Peter D. Junger" <JUNGER@CWRU>
Subject: Thanks for the source of the Borges quotation

I wish to thank all those who told me, through HUMANIST or directly,
where I could find the quotation from Borges. I am especially
grateful to John Lavagnino for the matching quotation dividing
mankind into officers, serving-maids and chimney sweeps.

Peter D. Junger
CWRU Law School
Cleveland, Ohio
(3) --------------------------------------------------------------44----
Date: Wed, 18 Jul 90 16:22 CDT
From: Michael Hancher <MH@UMNACVX.BITNET>
Subject: Foucault > Borges > Franz Kuhn?

Like other participants in this discussion I was puzzled by
Foucault's crediting the "Chinese encyclopedia" to Borges. When
a friend referred me to Borges's _Other Inquisitions_ the puzzle
didn't disappear but regressed, as I should have expected.

It is not clear that the encyclopedia is Borges's "invention," as
Alvin Snider suggests (16 Jul 90). Borges introduces it as

These ambiguities, redundancies, and deficiencies [i.e., in
Wilkins's seventeenth-century taxonomy] recall those
attributed by Dr. Franz Kuhn to a certain Chinese
encyclopedia entitled _Celestial Emporium of Benevolent
Knowledge_. On those remote pages it is written that
animals are divided into (a) those that belong to the
Emperor, (b) embalmed ones, (c) those that are trained . . .
[etc.] (103)

Kuhn was a prolific sinologist; Hatto Kuhn has described his
career in _Dr. Franz Kuhn (1884-1961): Lebensbeschreibung und
Bibliographie seiner Werke_, Sinologica Coloniensia 10
(Wiesbaden: Steiner, 1980). Many of his works are hard to locate
in the United States.

Borges could just as well have invented the Chinese encyclopedia:
but maybe he really did rely on Kuhn. Thanks to Foucault's
famous commentary it would be worth tracking down what Kuhn
wrote, and with reference to what.

Michael Hancher
Deparment of English
University of Minnesota
(4) --------------------------------------------------------------25----
Date: Wed, 18 Jul 90 11:51 EST
From: "Peter D. Junger" <JUNGER@CWRU>
Subject: Dutch student of Zenn

I believe that Kessler's reference to a Dutchman who studied Zen in
Japan is to Van der Wettering (or something like that) who wrote The
Empty Mirror about his experiences and later book called something like
A Touch of Nothingness about his attendance at a sesshin in the United
States. Van der Wettering is the author of several detective
procedurals about a team of policemen in Amsterdam--the Zen attitudes
often show through in his writing.

As I understand it, the various zen practices are designe to free one's
mind from distracting thoughts and perceptions, rather than to clear
memories out of the old lumber room in the back of the house.

[for designe please read designed--I abominate mailers!]

Peter Junger--CWRU Law School--Cleveland, OH