Stanley Cavell: Philosophy's Recounting of the Ordinary

By Stephen Mulhall | Go to book overview

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Several institutions and individuals were instrumental in the successful completion of this study. A first draft was written during the last years of my tenure of a Prize Fellowship at All Souls College, Oxford; and I find it difficult to imagine that embarking on a project of this size would have seemed feasible without the time for thought and research, as well as the scholarly and secretarial resources, that the College provides for its Fellows. Here, once again, I would like to thank Deborah McGovern, the Visiting Fellows' Secretary, for her guidance and patience. That first draft was brought to its present state in the first months after my arrival at the University of Essex; and the intellectual environment provided by my new colleagues made my task easier and more stimulating. In particular, I would like to thank Jay Bernstein, for reading through and offering detailed comments on the whole manuscript, and Karen Shields and Barbara Crawshaw, who worked miracles in producing readable text from my confused and confusing files, style sheets, and floppy disks. Many other people made particularly important contributions along the way. Adam Swift placed a copy of The Claim of Reason in my hand when I visited him at Harvard in 1983, at a time when I hadn't even heard of Stanley Cavell; little did he know. . . Peter Hacker suppressed his considerable qualms about the project in order to offer me a set of penetrating comments on early drafts of the early chapters. Philip Wheatley formed the other half of a two-person reading group on Cavell's writings for several months at a pivotal stage of my project, and has been consistently supportive in many other ways. A version of material from Chapters 2 and 11 has appeared in the Journal of Political Philosophy ( 1993), under the title 'Perfectionism, Politics and the Social Contract: Rawls and Cavell on Justice'; I benefited greatly from the comments of its editor and two anonymous referees. In the final months of work on the text, I attended and delivered a paper at a conference on Cavell's philosophy held at the University of Warwick in March 1992; there I experienced the stimulating criticisms and the infectious enthusiasm of Gillian Rose and James Conant, and there I was fortunate enough to meet and talk to Stanley Cavell himself. Since that encounter, he has sent me unpublished material, answered my questions, and offered generous encouragement without at any time attempting to influence or alter the lines of my

-xviii-

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