Our Lost Continent: Preliminaries (2015-2018)

RELATED:

Our Lost Continent and

The Journey Back:

Episodes from an Alternate History of the Anarchist Idea,

1837–1936,

as They Happened, as They are Recorded in the Margins of More Familiar Histories and as They Might Have Happened, if Observed through Other Lenses,

with Reflections on the Past and Future Development of Anarchism.


 

“Our Lost Continent” (April 4, 2015)

The “lost continent” of anarchist history has been there all along, not so much lost but rather willfully ignored or dismissed, a blank spot on our map marked, not with some dire warning of the “Here be dragons” variety, but rather with the dismissive “Here be precursors.” The problem is that our attempts to simply sail around most of the period between 1840, when we can unquestionably say that there were anarchists, and 1880 or so, when we can point with equal confidence to the emergence of anarchism in one or more forms, tend to commit us to a history—and a vision of “the anarchist tradition”—that is both inaccurate and unhelpful.

I no longer feel the slightest hesitation in declaring that there was, in that forty-year period, what we might call an Era of Anarchy, during which a wide variety of anarchist philosophies developed and subsequently declined. Proudhon launched the era with his explicit declaration—”I am an anarchist!”—in 1840, but he wasn’t alone for long. The communists of l’Humanitaire identified the “anarchistic” roots of their approach the following year. We can argue about how anarchistic other communists of the period were, but certainly by the 1850s, Joseph Déjacque had explicitly joined communism to the anarchy of Proudhon—running ahead of nearly all his contemporaries in proposing some form of anarchism and launching the sort of internal struggle that would mark the whole of the post-1880 Era of Anarchism. There were individualists as well, including Josiah Warren, whose dislike of labels kept him from identifying as an anarchist, and Anselme Bellegarrigue, who looks, in contemporary terms, like some sort of left-wing market anarchist. Stirner is there, with his anarchistic egoism. Ernest Coeurderoy dreams of cossack invasions. Virtually every radical current from the revolutions of the late 18th century or the “utopian” period of the early 19th century manifests some more-or-less libertarian extreme. In North American, Calvin Blanchard announces Art-Liberty, Eliphalet Kimball publishes his Thoughts on Natural Principles, and antinomian principles bubble up, over and over again, on the fringes of New England’s religious culture. Proudhon, Pierre Leroux and New England transcendentalism unite in the work of William B. Greene. Activity in the anti-slavery movement leads Ezra Heywood and Lysander Spooner to the most libertarian conclusions. Networks develop, formally and informally, among some of these figures and spread their influence among the working classes. The New England reform leagues, the Association Internationale, the Union républicaine de langue française and the International Workingmen’s Association represent the efforts of various of these anarchist philosophies to manifest themselves as movements in the era before anarchism was established as an ideology, or even a widely-used keyword. In the context of these attempts, new tendencies will emerge, such as the anarchistic collectivism of Bakunin and his associates and a revived anti-state communism, which will reject the term an-anarchy because of its associations with Proudhon.

Make no mistake: the various anarchist philosophies and movements that existed for a time in this earlier period were indeed not the sort of mass movement that histories like Black Flame have sought. They differed organizationally, and they were born in radically different ideological contexts than the anarchisms of the 1880s. If we insist on defining anarchism as narrowly as those historians, then there are good reasons to consider virtually everything before the establishment of the Black International in 1881 as precursors—and to pick and choose very carefully among the contenders for the anarchist label in the years that followed. But there are, I think, plenty of reasons to reject that particular definition. When we look at the later era, we find that one of the early developments was a questioning, even by those firmly committed to communism and working-class organization, of the vision of revolutionary change embedded in the organizational model. Along with their emphasis on our inability to forecast future institutional forms, the “without adjectives” school also questioned whether the emphasis on the rising of the proletariat was perhaps not already an outdated strategy, better adapted to struggles from the earlier era. On this point, Max Nettlau, arguably the finest of our anarchist historians, produced a number of thought-provoking interventions. And if there is the possibility that the strategies appropriate to the era of the Paris Commune were of questionable use within a decade or two, how much farther are we from their conditions now? When we shift registers, and compare our beliefs about concepts like the relationship between individuals and collectives, can we ignore the possibility—raised provocatively, if not always usefully, by the post-anarchists—that our worldview differs from that of, say, Kropotkin in ways that we dare not ignore?

We seem doomed, at least for now, to some sort of rough-and-ready periodization of our early anarchist history, which has to serve as origin and foundation for a movement, as well as fodder for historical explorations. Perhaps the first step to a more nuanced approach is to at least redraw the dividing lines. Instead of lumping most of our pre-Spanish Civil War history under the label of “classical anarchism,” let’s acknowledge the fairly significant patterns of development that seem to exist in that era. As a first step, let’s recognize the rather dramatic disconnect—in terms of individuals, organizations, concepts and bodies of thought—that existed between the period between 1840 and 1880 and the period that followed the organizational efforts of 1881. That break was not complete, of course, but it was significant. We might break down that early era again, perhaps, around the time of Proudhon’s death and the birth of the International. But that is, I think, a harder divide to identify clearly, and one which we will only precisely understand as we begin to look carefully at this Era of Anarchy with fresh eyes.

 

“The ‘Benthamite’ anarchism and the origins of anarchist history” (April 5, 1015)

There is, perhaps, healing for some of our divisions to be found, a little farther down this road. But it is probably necessary, first, to take an unusually clear look at some of the wounds that that have served as foundations for our tradition. Wounds and foundations—wounds as foundations—that’s metaphor-mixing worthy of a Joseph Déjacque, but it also cuts directly to a fundamental problem with anarchist history and tradition: the extent to which organized anarchism and explicitly anarchist history both emerged as distinctly partisan affairs, both built upon and set against the an-archy of the earliest anarchists.

Them’s fightin’ words…,” you might well say, and indeed they are, but it’s a very old fight and, strangely enough, we seem to have nearly all been on the same side of it, regardless of our others differences. I am not suggesting that modern anarchists have been divided around this opportunist, love-hate relationship with the anarchy or anarchies of the earliest era. Instead, I’m suggesting that one of the reasons our divisions have been so troublesome is the fact that a conflicted, possibly incoherent relationship between our own anarchisms and the philosophies of that Era of Anarchy is the very thing that has held us together—for better and for worse.

One of the consequences of proposing this initial Era of Anarchy—and, I must admit, one of the motives for proposing it at this moment—is that the question of succession, from anarchy to anarchism, has to be raised, and the usual developmental account that makes up the basis of the “anarchist tradition” has to be at least reexamined. The diversity of the earlier period (complete, as it was, with positions at least analogous to virtually every modern school not specifically linked to technological advances, including the anti-state capitalists), the largely unexplored depths of the various writers and tendencies, and the relative lack of carry-over, even in the realm of memory, fit poorly into the story we have so often told of a progressive development from mutualism through collectivism to communism. But so do some of the earliest accounts we have given of the emergence of what Kropotkin called “modern anarchism,” accounts which have arguably played an important role in the emergence of a specifically anarchist history.

Take, for example, Kropotkin’s 1880 essay “On Order.” I must confess that this has become one of my very favorite bits of partisan polemic, at the same time that I consider it symptomatic of something very harmful embedded very near the core of the “anarchist tradition.” The whole essay is worth reading. In it Kropotkin takes up an already very familiar theme—the relationship between anarchy and order—that had already occupied anarchists like Proudhon and Bellegarrigue. In his conclusion on that score, he is in some regards quite orthodox. In The General Idea of the Revolution, Proudhon recognized that there is a “so-called public order” that is “only anarchy, corruption and brutal force,” just as there is a just, free order that is best recognized as “anarchy.” (This is the jumping-off point for my ongoing series on “Anarchy, in All its Senses.”) Bellegarrigue had argued that “anarchy is order” and “government is civil war.” Kropotkin, wishing to answer those who reproach anarchists “for accepting as a label this word anarchy, which frightens many people so much,” pointed to a similar inversion of concepts in the political world—and in that he simply returned to a familiar analysis—but he also wanted to make a point about the emergence of the “modern anarchism,” founded by Bakunin, which he saw as emerging from the struggle between libertarian and authoritarian factions in the International. Observing that “a party representing a new tendancy, seldom has the opportunity of choosing a name for itself,” he claimed that:

It was the same with the anarchists. When a party emerged within the International which denied authority to the Association and also rebelled against authority in all its forms, this party at first called itself federalist, then anti-statist or anti-authoritarian. At that period they actually avoided using the name anarchist. The word an-archy (that is how it was written then) seemed to identify the party too closely with the Proudhonists, whose ideas about economic reform were at that time opposed by the International. But it is precisely because of this — to cause confusion — that its enemies decided to make use of the name; after all, it made it possible to say that the very name of the anarchist proved that their only ambition was to create disorder and chaos without caring about the result.

The anarchist party quickly accepted the name it has been given. At first it insisted on the hyphen between an and archy, explaining that in this form the work an-archy — which comes from the Greek — means “no authority” and not “disorder”; but it soon accepted the word as it was, and stopped giving extra work to proof readers and Greek lessons to the public.

So the word returned to its basic, normal, common meaning, as expressed in 1816 by the English philosopher Bentham, in the following terms: “The philosopher who wished to reform a bad law”, he said, “does not preach an insurrection against it…. The character of the anarchist is quite different. He denies the existence of the law, he rejects its validity, he incites men to refuse to recognize it as law and to rise up against its execution”. The sense of the word has become wider today; the anarchist denies not just existing laws, but all established power, all authority; however its essence has remained the same: it rebels — and this is what it starts from — against power and authority in any form.

It’s a really fascinating story, full of interesting rhetorical twists. The (modern) anarchists had their name imposed by antagonists within the International, who called them the name associated with the Proudhonists, who were “opposed by the International,” and did it in order to cause confusion, both, it seems, between the soon-to-be anarchists and the Proudhonists and between the ideas of the libertarian faction and disorder. Unlike Proudhon, who seems to have imposed the troubling label on himself, these new anarchists made the best of the charge that they were like, well…, that they were like anarchists! Taking the label from the “opponents” of the International—otherwise known as founders of the International—was a matter of taking one for the team. And just in case we had any doubts that Kropotkin’s anarchism might still be the spawn of Proudhonism, he gave an alternate origin for the “basic, normal, common meaning” of the term “anarchist,” tracing it back to the anti-revolutionary writings of Jeremy Bentham.

Kropotkin apparently had a forgiving memory of Bentham’s comments on the French Declaration of Rights, which paints the “anarchists” of the French Revolution in the most unflattering tones:

[S]uch is the difference—the great and perpetual difference, betwixt the good subject, the rational censor of the laws, and the anarchist—between the moderate man and the man of violence. The rational censor, acknowledging the existence of the law he disapproves, proposes the repeal of it: the anarchist, setting up his will and fancy for a law before which all mankind are called upon to bow down at the first word—the anarchist, trampling on truth and decency, denies the validity of the law in question,—denies the existence of it in the character of a law, and calls upon all mankind to rise up in a mass, and resist the execution of it.

and

“Cruel is the judge,” says Lord Bacon, “who, in order to enable himself to torture men, applies torture to the law.” Still more cruel is the anarchist, who, for the purpose of effecting the subversion of the laws themselves, as well as the massacre of the legislators, tortures not only the words of the law, but the very vitals of the language.

But the end-run around Proudhonand all the rest of our Era of Anarchyis served in either case.

It’s all really rather delicious, in a rather trollish sort of way. It was not, of course, an account that could survive in quite so scurrilous a form, and it is quite likely that part of what seems like outrageous, partisan revision was actually the result of a real ignorance of much of what anarchists had done and believed in the earlier period. Subsequent versions of this origin story for “modern anarchism” soften the stark distinctions between the partisans of anarchism and “the Proudhonists,” but the general shape and sense of the narrative should be recognizable to just about any modern student of anarchism.

For usthe modern students of “anarchy,” of “anarchism,” of “anarchist history” and of “the anarchist tradition”—the mix of ignorance and audaciousness, whatever the actual proportions of each, should probably inspire a range of responses. Of those, I would hope that the sectarian impulses will be the most muted, both because, hey, this is an old, old gambit, which never entirely succeeded, and because it seems quite possible that really digging around in this old would might allow us to get at some things that have poisoned us in various ways for a long time.

 

“New Uncertainties and Opportunities” (April 6, 2015)

Having identified our “Era of Anarchy,” and recognized some of the ways in which the anarchist history and tradition we have inherited have obscured and distorted that early era, we have to be careful not to simply replace the old distortions with new ones. The difficulty is that we are products, as well as inheritors, of that history and tradition, and the way in which we “are anarchists”—the range of possible meanings accessible to us for the phrase “I am an anarchist”—is inevitably shaped by that fact. None of us will ever repeat Proudhon’s experience of making that declaration for the first time, and trying to make it mean something in a political landscape without clear precedents for it. Instead, all of us face the very different challenge of making the declaration mean something concrete and individual, in the face of so many similar attempts and so many ideological pressures to make our own meanings fall in line with this or that existing tendency. We may choose to identify more with anarchy than anarchism, but that is almost inevitably a response to the fact that anarchism, as an ideology or system, is so inescapably a part of our political reality. We may share a great deal with those early proponents of a “pre-anarchism” anarchy, but our experience of asserting those shared elements is likely to be very different.

If we’re going to avoid new distortions, we should take our time and explore the possible depths of our differences. Having underlined the disconnections between eras, one of the questions we have to ask is whether perhaps even identifying the period from 1840 to 1880 as an “Era of Anarchy” is a bit too presentist. Having called part of our own foundation into question, it hardly seems useful to stop short of a full inspection. That’s why “Anarchy, in All of its Senses” is likely to end up a book-length monograph, why an “alternate historiography” project like “The Great Atercratic Revolution” has seemed at least potentially useful, and why it may be worth going to some potentially extreme lengths to determine if even identifying the earlier era with anarchy is a move more beholden to ideological than historical concerns.

If we are going to explore our “lost continent,” we might as well make the most of it, have some fun and see what we can see that we haven’t seen before. Having determined that we are at least a bit wrong about our origins, there’s something to be said for doing our best to correct that state of affairs. And once we start looking closely at the details, all sorts of curious things emerge. In the midst of trying to work out just what Proudhon meant when he first said “je suis anarchiste,” I was struck by the fact that I cannot even be absolutely sure whether, in that original context, “anarchiste” is best read as a noun or an adjective. It’s not the sort of thing that ought to keep us up at night, but it might be useful to consider, in the context of contemporary debates about identity, what it might mean to “be anarchist,” without necessarily “being an anarchist,” and how relations between what we might call “the anarchist” (when opting for the adjectival reading, and with echoes perhaps of constructions like Die Freien) or “the anarchistic” might differ with those among anarchists. There are historical reasons to emphasize all the elements in Proudhon which resist or deny simple conceptions of identity, as we search for the real content of his thought and shape of his method, and, once we have acknowledged this much, we are encouraged to ask whether Proudhon’s use of multiple keywords to identify the elements of his project really represents a problem or inconsistency—as has often been claimed—or whether the problem is largely interpretive, a matter of our own choice of keywords and interpretive lenses.

Without getting too lost in details that I’m still ferreting out, I think we can safely say that “anarchy” did not have the same primacy for Proudhon that it does for us, that “anarchist” is probably a simpler sort of identity for us than it could have been for him, and that we are perhaps a bit quick to read terms like “mutualism” as designating ideologies, when they may well just indicate categories of relations. I want to tackle the question of “science” in a separate post, but let’s just note here that Proudhon had something rather specific, and in some senses quite radical, in mind when he proposed his form of scientific socialism. So perhaps one of the reasons that we do not find a treatment of “anarchism,” or a more systematic treatment of “federalism” or “mutualism,” is his works is his anarchistic resistance to systems, and one of the sources of his various terminological variations is his commitment to experiment.

From a present perspective, we know that anarchy and anarchist were the enduring keywords of the era, and we know it because they are the ones that we have adopted. We have Kropotkin’s story of the adoption, in which the absence of Proudhon plays such a prominent role. Behind it, we have the testimony of Bakunin, widely recognized as the founder of “modern anarchism,” that he, at least, despite differences on that question of science, acknowledged Proudhon as a source. Bakunin’s Proudhon was the one who “adored Statan and proclaimed anarchy,” an individual notable more for revolutionary zeal than for social-scientific prowess, a figure as unfamiliar in many ways as the historical Proudhon—the social scientist, political prisoner and exile, who wrote more than fifty volumes of theory and correspondence—but also very clearly not quite that historical figure. For better of worse, reconstructing the development of anarchist ideas and vocabularies through these formative years commits us to a very complicated project, where both historical facts and developing traditions necessarily have a place. It’s not a rabbit-hole that everyone is going to be eager to fall down.

Fortunately—as I’m sure at least some readers will agree—not everyone has to risk drowning in the details in order for all of us to at least potentially benefit from the questions raised. If we acknowledge that there is an era of anarchist activity largely ignored in our anarchist histories, and recognize that at least part of the reason for that has been tendencies internal to the modern anarchist movement, which has found itself using that era of activity as both a foundation and a foil, then it is logical to ask how else we might view it, if not as a useful appendage to our own origin story. And one of the most provocative questions is probably whether or not the activity of that early era is best characterized as “anarchist.” With so many concepts in play, and so many vocabularies in use, what do we gain or lose by focusing on “anarchy”? Perhaps more importantly, what might we gain or lose if some other characterization turned out to be more generally accurate? It appears that we have inherited something from a mythologized Proudhon, or a sanitized Bentham, or a slightly mistranslated Bakunin. Does any of that matter? If it doesn’t matter, does our present use of history and tradition make any sense? If it does matter, what are the consequences?

Internet chat rooms are full of quibbling over the true meaning of “anarchy,” with historical and lexical authority grappling endlessly, as if either mattered in some straightforward sense. If comparatively few anarchists do historical study, or even acknowledge its importance, vague references to anarchist history are among the most common maneuvers in our rhetorical toolkit—and we often resort to them when the stakes for the movement are quite high, when, for example, we are dealing with the attempts of capitalists and other authoritarians to claim that they too (or they alone) are “anarchists.” There are, I think, no shortage of theoretically adequate answers to be drawn from virtually every period of our history, and recovering early anarchist writings only increases our resources, but the rote retorts that “anarchists have always…” is perhaps less serviceable as our sense of our origins becomes increasingly complex and the “verdict of history” arguments also suffer as the traditional evolutionary narrative comes under closer scrutiny.

There are opportunities for strengthening our arguments for anarchism as we deal with these newfound complexities in our history, but we will have to embrace them.

 

“Looking Forward—Mapping Our Lost Continent” (April, 2018)

Despite the potentially daunting number of research and publishing projects I have in progress, I really don’t get overwhelmed by the variety.

That’s not to say, of course, that I don’t get overwhelmed. I do, at fairly frequent intervals, but what is truly daunting about the project-load that I’ve accumulated over the last decade or so is the fact that it is all really just one big project.

Somehow — for my sins, as like as not — I’ve found myself committed to some deep explorations of just how the anarchist tradition developed in its earliest, formative years, between Proudhon’s original anarchist declaration — je suis anarchiste — and the point at which what Kropotkin called “modern anarchism” had come together enough to become concerned about coming apart — a concern ultimately reflected in works like Voline’s 1924 essay “On Synthesis.”

I’ve talked recently about my strong sense that many of the problems faced by anarchists in the present day have their roots in unresolved tensions that were ultimately built right into what we think of as the anarchist tradition. That sense only gets stronger as I continue my research. But it is, I suspect, a sense that still doesn’t make a lot of sense even to many of my regular readers, since there has still been no opportunity to really lay out the historical analysis on which it is based. I have introduced a range of more specific analyses addressing elements of the anarchist tradition, as well as elements generally excluded from the anarchist tradition that either influenced or might have influenced its shape and character. But it has all been decidedly labyrinthine in character. However interesting the various explorations may have been, even I have struggled to get any sort of comprehensive view from above of this “lost continent.”

With the history of mutualism I wrote for the Palgrave Handbook of Anarchism and the very recent proposal for an exploration of “Neo-Proudhonian Anarchism,” I think things have changed to the point where I at least have a fairly clear sense of the outlines of the region I have been exploring. And perhaps I also have a fairly clear sense of how to fill in at least the most important details. I at least have enough clarity to outline how the various works of history and theory that I have mentioned over the last couple of years fit into the larger project. So here we go:

What Mutualism Was is, in many ways, a return to some of my oldest projects, including the dissertation that there was never an opportunity to write. I’ve been collecting pieces of the history of mutualism now for over twenty years, but writing the Palgrave Handbook chapter was the first time that I’ve been forced to make some significant percentage of them feature in a single, coherent story. It nearly drove me crazy, but, having survived the process a first time, I once again became convinced that a more relaxed telling of that history was a story that the world — and the anarchist milieu — might find both entertaining and instructional. But where I had previous thought of the work as at least potentially providing a foundation for the various insurgent and resurgent mutualisms of the present day, I am now inclined to to treat it as a bit of a postmortem examination, explaining how such a wide variety of individuals and tendencies became linked together under the mutualist banner. Beginning in the middle of the history, with the establishment of mutualism as a theoretical foil for communistic “modern anarchism,” I hope to explore the various sorts of continuity and discontinuity that appear when we attempt to give that only quasi-historical mutualism a more substantial history. It’s not a story that requires high seriousness, so hopefully much of the focus can be on the diverse projects and personalities that have been woven into the story of mutualism.

I expect that the book will end with at least a chapter exploring alternatives, both in terms of interpreting the historical data and with regard to alternate paths that anarchist development might have taken, ending with some elaboration of the notion of Neo-Proudhonian anarchism. Some of that elaboration may also take place in Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: Between Science and Vengeance, the introductory volume I’m currently working on.

Anarchism: An Exploration and a Synthesis is now the working title for the book of “shareable” anarchist theory that I have been calling Anarchism, Plain and Simple. My original intention had been to separate this work, conceived as a modern bit of anarchism without adjectives, as much as possible from my historical research, but as my interest has shifted increasingly toward the more complex conceptions of anarchist synthesis my sense of appropriate strategies has shifted as well. As a sort of compromise between the more conventionally historical approach of What Mutualism Was (and A Good Word, which I expect will get completed largely as a byproduct of other projects) and the “pure theory” approach I had originally envisioned for the book, my current plan is to divide the work between an extended thought-experiment, elaborating the potential Neo-Proudhonian anarchism, and a version of the shareable anarchist narrative explicitly built from an attempt to synthesize what seems most promising in the thought-experiment with elements from across the spectrum of anarchist tendencies.

Part of the fun in the first section should involve an attempt to tell at least parts of the history of “modern” anarchism as if it had developed more directly from Proudhonian roots, so expect an exploration of neo-Proudhonian anarchist communism among the highlights there.

I think of those works as at least part of the blade of the intellectual earth-moving machinery required to clear a space in which the Bakunin Library and Proudhon Library translation projects can enjoy the reception and use that they deserve. At the same time, concerns similar to those that have encouraged me to highlight the complex dynamics in anarchist history and tradition have also encouraged me to do what I can to lift early figures like Proudhon, Bakunin and Déjacque out of some of the more familiar interpretive frames and to specifically devote space in many of the translation volumes to questions of context and interpretation connected to my other work. Situating Proudhon “between science and vengeance,” considering Bakunin as a “man of life” (rather than a distracted theorist or largely unsuccessful “man of action”) and extending the examination of Déjacque’s “utopian” tendencies to works other than The Humanisphere are all means of shedding new light on these figures, outside the context of their eventual contributions to “modern” anarchism. New or broadened contexts mean new and broader connections to other figures, events, institutions, tendencies and ideologies, many of which do not fit well into the familiar anarchist and Marxist traditions.

2019 should see the first of some new collections dedicated to documenting what I have called the anarchistic undercurrent, beginning with some of Max Nettlau’s theoretical work and a new edition of the Short History. There’s a collection of works on anarchist synthesis nearing completion as well.

Anarchist Beginnings: Declarations and Professions of Faith, also likely in 2019, will help to demonstrate the internal diversity among anarchists in the formative period — and I’m assembling texts for potential follow-ups volumes, designed to show a similar diversity in organizational ideas, artistic expressions, etc. I’m also hoping to publish a volume of some of the best internal critiques of anarchism, either under the Anarchist Beginnings banner or separately.

I hope to return the Corvus Editions project to its original focus on the margins of the anarchist (and related) traditions, probably moving forward with some print-on-demand collections of works for which there is not yet even an academic audience, but which ought to be available for those who want to get a sense of the interconnections between early anarchist agitation and traditions like freethought, spiritualism, free love, etc.

Finally, lurking beyond all of this is the possibility of tackling The Rise and Progress of the Great Atercratic Revolution as it exists in my head and notebooks, as a bit of historiographical fiction, playing with the ways that radical history has been constructed and the very different ways in which it might have been constructed, had it emerged in slightly different times and places. But that is a project that can comfortably sit on a back burner for a while yet. It either will or will not coalesce into something worth sharing, and it will be pretty clear which is the case, I think, as the pieces either do or do not come together.

Taken together, this is undoubtedly a clear case of too much on one’s plate, but, with a much clearer sense of how the various investigations already underway might fit together, none of the individual pieces look terribly daunting. I won’t make bold claims about publishing schedules. Life is too full of complications and my work all inches forward with only the most minimal sort of material support. But the fact is that I have been working steadily on most of these projects for a good long time now, so don’t be surprised if there is a bit of a dam-burst in the next year or so.

About Shawn P. Wilbur 2417 Articles
Independent scholar, translator and archivist.