Little Did I Know: Excerpts from Memory by Stanley Cavell
An autobiography in the form of a philosophical diary, Little Did I Know's underlying motive is to describe the events of a life that produced the kind of writing associated with Stanley Cavell's name. Cavell recounts his journey from early childhood in Atlanta, Georgia, through musical studies at UC Berkeley and Julliard, his subsequent veering off into philosophy at UCLA, his Ph.D. studies at Harvard, and his half century of teaching. Influential people from various fields figure prominently or in passing over the course of this memoir. J.L. Austin, Ernest Bloch, Roger Sessions, Thomas Kuhn, Robert Lowell, Rogers Albritton, Seymour Shifrin, John Rawls, Bernard Williams, W. V. O. Quine, and Jacques Derrida are no longer with us; but Cavell also pays homage to the living: Michael Fried, John Harbison, Rose Mary Harbison, Kurt Fischer, Milton Babbitt, Thompson Clarke, John Hollander, Hilary Putnam, Sandra Laugier, Belle Randall, and Terrence Malick. The drift of his narrative also registers the decisiveness of the relatively unknown and the purely accidental. Cavell's life has produced a trail of some eighteen published books that range from treatments of individual writers like Wittgenstein, Austin, Emerson, Thoreau, Heidegger, Shakespeare, and Beckett to studies in aesthetics, epistemology, moral and political philosophy, cinema, opera, and religion.