Sunday, August 1, 2010


Samuel Johnson wrote, “What we read with inclination makes a much stronger impression. If we read without inclination, half the mind is employed in fixing the attention; so there is but one half to be employed on what we read.”

This summer, I'm feeling more inclined to read neuroscience/non-fiction writers like Jonah Lehrer and Malcolm Gladwell than works in French.  This is making me wonder about my life choices--comes with the territory I think when you're at the point of writing the dissertation, there's no class structure or professor telling me what I SHOULD read, I'm not teaching at the moment, so I'm not looking up interesting new snippets to inspire my students (and me! for that matter), and I'm contemplating whether or not this whole Ph.D. in French is ultimately going to land me a job at a university, given the tight academic job market.  And besides, do I want to end up teaching in Wichita?

Cynical?  Maybe.  But the coming year in Geneva will help remind me of my original inclinations--French language/literature and  "brassage culturel"--these are the things  that move me, inspire me.  And hopefully, it will help me get through this quagmire of doubt that is only natural as you're on the verge of realizing one of your life dreams. Once I finish and obtain the Ph.D., who knows where that dream may take me.  Perhaps in a completely different direction. Perhaps to the perfect job in Witchita! :)  On verra.  And in the meantime, I'll read--with inclination AND without, if it means I will finish.

1 comment:

  1. Loved your opening quote, as I find myself reading without inclination a majority of the time. This serves as a reminder of the shared human experience, as well as the fact that there really is a quote for everything!