CAN U DEFINE SELF? What are you afraid of?: CAN U DEFINE SELF?
By SELF on Tuesday, April 28, 1998 - 04:34 am:

By Christopher on Tuesday, April 28, 1998 - 03:27 pm:
    read Douglas Hofstadters "The Minds I", or any of his earlier works on self referentiality (Goedel, Escher, Bach: The eternal golden braid or his articles in Scientific American called Metamagical Themas). But first learn how to shut off the caps key, ya big maroon.

By Markus on Tuesday, April 28, 1998 - 04:28 pm:
    I have no idea what he's on about up there, as it's my policy never to read anything in all caps. But wanted to let you know that Metamagical Themas was collected into a volume a few years ago when he quit doing the column. And I finally got my hands on a first edition hardcover of GEB.

By Christopher on Tuesday, April 28, 1998 - 05:45 pm:
    Markus, Have you checked out Hofstadters last two books? I was in a bookstore recently and saw that he just had something published in the last 2 months or so. I read the dedication and it was to his wife who had died of some radically bizarre and rare disorder. His previous book on fluid dynamics or some such topic dissapeared off the shelves almost immediately after it was published, yet the proprietor of the shop saw fit not to restock it. Not to worry, I torched the place and I hear that he has reopened a little shop dealing exclusively with romance novels.

    I have the first edition of GEB as well, and all of the Scientfic American articles in their respective magazines. I know that MT was published in a single volume, but I'm reluctant to spend the money on the softcover edition, as I've found them in secondhand shops and they are all yellowed already. I'm waiting for the day that I luck out and find the hardbound edition.

    I was fortunate to catch Hofstadter lecturing on A.I. and self referentiality about 6 years ago. He was very entertaining and shockingly younger than I had expected.

By Markus on Wednesday, April 29, 1998 - 10:52 am:
    I actually picked up Le Bon Ton de Marot about six months ago at a bookshop in Union Station, of all places. I don't think this is the one is dedicated to his wife, as she has several active contributions in it and the tone when he mentioned her wasn't indicative of mortality. It's a riff on the nature of translation, which uses a short poem in French and translations by various people and in various styles and languages.

    I knew he was one of the Young Turks in AI, and since the publication of GEB (at age 29! as I recall) has emerged as one of the primary speakers for one of the two warring factions in that discipline's civil war. I believe Roger Penrose is in the other camp; he's worth reading, but as he sums his position up so neatly and concisely to begin with, his later volumes tend to be somewhat repetitive.

    I've had the same experience with MT, and am waiting to stumble across it. I think I'm due to fly up to NYC on a book expedition soon.

By Christopher on Wednesday, April 29, 1998 - 03:24 pm:
    Markus, Le Bon Ton de Marot, is INDEED the very book that I saw recently that, in it's forward, mentions the untimely passing of Hofstadters wife. From what I recall, it is a lengthy intro, but the tragic circumstances of her death are mentioned. The edition I saw was the oversize softbound. I assume that it is possible that you may have a hardbound first edition and she went west between its publication and that of the softbound.

    I have a question for you..Is it possible that there has NEVER been a hardbound edition of MT? I am keeping my fingers crossed, because as I've said, the softbound editions that I find are already yellowed, and won't last another 25 years.

    I hope when you visit NYC that you are a habitue of The Strand, in Greenwich Village. It's one of my favorites. Their tag line "Miles and miles of books" is accurate. I always feel like a coal miner finding a diamond when I stumble across some unusual text. I found my first edition of William S. Burroughs "Dead Fingers Talk" there, complete with autograph and date of signing. Somehow it was sold to me for $5.50. It's hard to imagine finding real literary treasure anymore, but it does happen, and in my opinion, it's largely a numbers game. When I was younger, I would buy books by the yard at estate auctions. One of these purchases landed me an extremely rare text on entomology. The Strand has always given me that feeling of (ahem) boundless opportunity.

Navneet Miglani on Tuesday, October 2, 2001 - 02:19 am:

    Hi guys,
    I have been recently introduced to DRH and i find it really intriguing. Since the messages here are pretty old I was wondering if there is somebody around here still.

By Hal on Tuesday, October 2, 2001 - 01:06 pm:

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