https://bobostory.wordpress.com List

  • The Time Capsule Brooklyn Barbershop that Could - [image: The Time Capsule Brooklyn Barbershop that Could] The one charm about the past, said Oscar Wilde, is just that: it’s the past. But clearly, he neve...
    3 hours ago
  • 若有差錯、停止交往 - ◇從前在學校裏,互相牽手或擁抱,這種友情長大後逐漸消失。經生活考驗,人變得愈來愈像判官,對朋友的要求嚴厲得很, […]
    18 hours ago
  • True Detective season 3 episode 3 - "The Big Never" - From the chaotic details established in the premiere, a story is beginning to coalesce in the detectives' minds. While the big picture remains foggy, at ...
    20 hours ago
  • 旭藝文社的社刊《旭藝》 - 有朋友電傳來問《旭藝》,說我有文章刊於其上,一定知道來龍去脈,我瞠目結舌,不知如何回答。翻查舊剪貼簿,我真有短 … 繼續閱覽 旭藝文社的社刊《旭藝》
    3 days ago
  • 許定銘:旭藝文社的社刊《旭藝》 - 有朋友電傳來問《旭藝》,說我有文章刊於其上,一定知道來龍去脈,我瞠目結舌,不知如何回答。翻查舊剪貼簿,我真有短篇刊於其上,依稀記得是龍敦光叫我寫的,其他的都記不起來了。 〈鼓手的戀歌〉是篇二千字的短篇,寫的是年輕鼓手美度士暗戀歌女夏綠蒂的故事,全篇以美度士的獨白演繹 ,沉鬱而悲傷。初稿於「民國五十三年十月」...
    3 days ago
  • 翻译:南茜·弗雷泽《女性主义十一条》 - 女性主义十一条 南茜·弗雷泽(NancyFraser) 原文载于《新左派评论》2018年11-12期(New Left Review 114) 南茜·弗雷泽 2018年春,脸书的亿万富翁雪莉·桑德伯格(Sheryl Sandberg )征询了几位在商业圈里颇为强悍且取得成功的女性,而这正是她们通...
    4 days ago
  • 敬悼潘光沛先生 - 驚聞潘光沛先生猝逝,怪不得近日有人向我查詢先生的散文集《兩小無猜》,此書一直是我 … 繼續閱讀 →
    1 week ago
  • 敬悼潘光沛先生 - 驚聞潘光沛先生猝逝,怪不得近日有人向我查詢先生的散文集《兩小無猜》,此書一直是我的珍藏,多年前曾有文提及 ,但那回沒有貼出書圖,今謹貼出,以表哀悼!先生一路好走!
    1 week ago
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    1 week ago
  • New Podcast: David Harvey’s Anti-Capitalist Chronicles - David Harvey’s Anti-Capitalist Chronicles is a bimonthly podcast that looks at capitalism through a Marxist lens. SUBSCRIBE: Apple Podcasts | Google Play S...
    1 month ago
  • 采銅于山,照見日影 - 采銅于山,照見日影 讀《日影之舞》讓我想起明末清初學者顧炎武(1613—1682):「嘗謂今人纂輯之書,正如今人之鑄錢。古人采铜于山,今人則買舊錢,名之曰廢銅,以充鑄而已。所鑄之錢,既已粗惡,而又將古人傳世之寶,舂銼碎散,不存于後,豈不兩失之乎?承詢《日知錄》又成幾卷,蓋期之以廢銅,而某自别來一...
    6 months ago
  • 楊國雄、古兆申(古蒼梧)、馮偉才、也斯、黃俊東、劉以鬯、小思、李文健(杜漸)、黃繼持一九八六年照片 - 馮偉才: 小思和楊國雄的文章都提過香港文學研究會的成立經過。在舊物中找到這張照片,後面寫著:「香港文學研究會成立日」。 左起楊國雄、古兆申、馮偉才、也斯、黃俊東、劉以鬯、小思、李文健(杜漸)、黃繼持。 (香港文學研究會於1986年9月成立。劉以鬯、黄繼持任正副會長,小思任秘書長。但這個會之後並沒有官方活...
    7 months ago
  • 杭寧遊記 - 我的藏書裡有二部古籍和西湖相關,一是《御覽西湖志纂》,一是《西湖志》。
    8 months ago
  • Travel (驛馬) - 驛馬犯流年,十八個月三級跳升,在飛機上睡的時間比上床睡的時間還多。 今天工作需要的,已不再是知識與經驗,而是體力而已!
    9 months ago
  • 蘇賡哲:城寨和大學 - 12月5日多倫多明報 據説日本人最喜歡的香港特色地區是已消失了的九龍城寨,改建成公園已久,他們仍出版一本又一本追憶書籍。 以前家在九龍城賈炳達道,城寨自然也是熟悉的。所謂三不管黃、賭、毒集中地,髒亂無序不難想像。中共智囊強世功稱之為「一切人類道德所鄙視的東西,在這裏可以合法存在」。其實這話是有語病的,因...
    1 year ago
  • 釐清香港議員取消資格案的法律概念:又名「跳出跳入打我呀笨蛋」然後被打 - 好多人真的不懂法律又要講法律。又有好多人以為只有香港才會有「人大釋法」。任何一個 … 繼續閱讀 →
    1 year ago
  • 照顧與創作 - 月前為谷淑美的攝影詩文集《流光.時黑》做了中文部分的編輯工作,實在因為是一種唇亡齒寒感。谷淑美的書,是關於她照顧年老患病的母親,過程中進而對母親生命、自己生命的發掘,轉化為攝影與文字創作。自己進入中年,身體開始變差,也進一步想到將來要照顧家人的責任,暗暗畏懼其龐大。於是,也就想通過進入谷淑美的歷程,讓自己學...
    1 year ago
  • - 暗夜小巴像搖骰,我們每個橫切面都刻了字,不知我們在終站會變成甚麼。或者是上帝,或者是狗。或者倒轉的日歷。紙張一天一天倒著依附,雨中有人望過來問:為甚麼不可以?聽到問題的人,心裡又虛又慌,因為撇除了時日的制裁,也沒有多麼費力。耗費也是不足夠的。如果真的有努力過的話,根本不會站在這裡。喂,他其實一早...
    1 year ago
  • 《別字》試刊號第二期出版﹗ - 立即下載:《別字》試刊號第二期 《字花》的網上純創作誌《別字》登場了! 「別字」一名,既有別冊之意,更寄望透過網上平台,另闢傳播門徑,開拓閱讀體驗。 暫定三個欄目,「透光」的作品從自由投稿中特別挑選,「有時」配合《字花》徵稿或另設新題,「極限」則專載萬字長篇。 試刊號第二期,以PDF形式呈現,供各位下載...
    1 year ago
  • - 今晚和倩去百老匯看Antiporno. 如果這部片子要跟誰一起看,我只要她,不然就自己看。獨自欣賞是至高享受,看電影聽音樂於我不是社交活動,我最厭煩聽完即討論,太嘈雜。 倩是有negative capability的女孩。夜晚我們走在公園,一陣風吹過,樹葉沙沙作響,她會由衷感歎:風的聲音真好聽,然後我們沉默...
    1 year ago
  • “舔舐自己的生命,仿佛那是一颗麦芽糖” - ​ “舔舐自己的生命,仿佛那是一颗麦芽糖” 顾文豪 1、《加缪手记》 加缪 浙江大学出版社·启真馆 如果在接下来的两个月里,没有特别巨大的阅读惊喜的话,我想三册的《加缪手记》,将会成为我今年的阅读首选。 从1935年5月到1942年2月,《手记》记录了加缪的读书杂感、生活随想、情感波动,以及写作...
    2 years ago
  • 酒足飯飽。酣然入夢——江戶子的老派追求 - 東京適合散步。出了名的散步文士,堪稱達人者有二:二次大戰前,搞不定老婆,不想吵,遂攜著一把蝙蝠傘,四處趴趴走的永井荷風;戰後,老婆、老母擺得一平二穩,隨身帶著幾張江戶古地圖,這邊那邊亂亂踅的池波正太郎。 *正港的江戶子* 池波是正港的「江戶子」,淺草出身,愛玩愛熱鬧愛美食。父母親很早離異,跟著...
    2 years ago
  • 乌托邦遗迹 - [image: uploads/201510/18_114414_s1.1973peterderret.jpg] [水瓶节,宁宾,1973年。摄影:Peter Derret] 乌托邦遗迹 欧宁 宁宾(Nimbin)是澳大利亚新南威尔士东北部山区的一个小镇,因1973年举办水瓶节(Aquarius Fes...
    3 years ago
  • 「馬拉松 看世界」專頁 向世界馬拉松出發 - 如無意外,本周日我應該身在三藩巿,跑今年第五個外國比賽,也是人生第三十個馬拉松比賽(廿九個在香港以外)。雖然Blog有好一段日子沒有update,但跑步仍是繼續下去,這兩年尤其多,也去了俄羅斯、澳洲這些新國家、新大陸跑,是另一個飛躍期。 這些年的跑馬路上,有幸認識一些志同道合、見識廣博、洞察力強、對比賽有要...
    3 years ago
  • 自由路艱:再思肖友懷事件 - 文:野莩遣返或特赦肖友懷,無絕對之可不可行,但決定時當先考慮法理依據,而非道德情懷。我曾就此事詢問一位在入境處工作的朋友,她的答覆非常簡單:「1. 依法當遣返事主;2. 父母非港人,事主不能申請單程證;3. 除了酌情,事主無其他留港途徑。」那麼酌情先例會為制度開漏洞嗎?「Personally speaking...
    3 years ago
  • 烏蘭巴托的夜 - 《烏蘭巴托的夜》是首蒙古歌曲。蒙古的作曲家寫的,賈樟柯重新填了詞,左小祖咒改編,電影《世界》插曲(湖南台的字幕打錯了)。左小原版的就好聽,他少有的比較「正經」地演唱。譚版也不錯,大氣,聲情並茂。 左小改編演唱的《烏蘭巴托的夜》 賈樟柯電影片斷(趙濤演唱) 蒙古族樂隊杭蓋的版本 烏蘭巴托的夜 作詞:賈樟...
    3 years ago
  • 莉娜骑士在盘子上 - 1874年12月25日,一个女孩诞生在罗马北部小城维泰博的贫民窟,迷信说,这一天诞生的人有特别的命运,父母为她取名“娜塔莉娜”(Natalina ),因为“natale”是意大利语里的“圣诞节”。12 岁开始,她当过卖花姑娘、包装女工,生活虽然贫寒,好在她天赋歌喉,每天从早唱到晚。邻居一个音乐教师给她上...
    4 years ago
  • 欲望的事故 - 欲望的事故 顾文豪 特里林在《知性乃道德职责》一书中引述亚里士多德关于悲剧的定义,认为悲剧的主人公具有某种程度的、可进行自由选择的可能性,他“必须通过自己的道德状况来为自己的命运进行辩解”,而其道德状况并非十全十... *博客大巴,你的个人传媒早班车*
    4 years ago
  • 給《明報》 - 一口答應寫一篇給《明報》,箇中心情,猶如「償還」。 明明我沒有欠這報甚麼,稿債沒有,瓜葛沒有。 都是人情吧。多老套。 這些年來,跟《明報》的這些年來,救命,怎麼細數。 第一次認真寫稿刊登,已是2003年的事了。正是馬家輝博士邀請,給世紀版寫一篇關於「網上飄流的香港家書」。(私人回憶:先生有份跟我寫的。)一年過...
    5 years ago
  • 那一身華美的曲線 - [image: 那一身華美的曲線] 她就站在落地窗邊,回眸對我笑了笑。我沒說話,什麼話都不想說。能說什麼呢?在她的笑容裏早就透露了對我些微的輕視:你總歸只能沈默吧!她似乎視我的沈默為一種必然的結果,像是看透我的一切。其實,我想了想,和她也不過就一面之緣。甚至在之後的好長一段時間再見到她,她根本就不記得我。自然,要...
    5 years ago
  • 偶然的發現 - 很久沒在facebook上看到湯正川的post,早上偶然看到他與另一DJ的對談,發現這首歌,先放上來,待電腦回復正常,再仔細欣賞。
    5 years ago
  • - *Chapeau...!*Cock your hat - angles are attitudes (Sinatra) By Heinz Decker Hats seem to stimulate the imagination; maybe because they are a prolongatio...
    6 years ago
  • 閱讀讓我質疑制度 - [本訪問稿乃〈不可能所有的真實都出現在你的攝影機前──賈樟柯、杜海濱訪談〉的第一部份。訪問稿全文網上版見以下網頁: http://leftfilm.wordpress.com/2012/07/17/jiaduinterview1/ http://leftfilm.wordpress.com/2012/07/17...
    6 years ago
  • 蜚聲卓越在書林──蘇州文育山房 - 蘇州的氣候溫潤,步調舒緩,水道與巷弄縱橫交錯,教人一來到此便安下心來。城裡的平江街區,從宋代便已經存在,以今日留存的巷弄來看,八百年來的格局規劃變化並不大,只是範圍縮小許多。而就在這僅存的街區裡,留下的不只是悠悠時光,亦有不少哲人賢士駐守的痕跡。書癡黃丕烈的百宋一廛、史學家顧頡剛的顧氏花園、清代狀元洪...
    7 years ago
  • 當世界留下二行詩 宣傳BV - 當世界留下二行詩瓦歷斯.諾幹Walis.Nokan本書以極簡的形式,現代詩行的排列,挑戰詩藝和語境的實驗風格觀察視角從台灣的土地與家園,擴及到族群、社會乃至世界的關懷。動情至深,引發共鳴,為作者近年來最新創意力作!短短的二行詩,宛如「芥子納須彌」激起無限想像空間,是一本趣意盎然、值得珍藏的現代詩集。向陽、李...
    7 years ago
  • 韩戍:无序的社会流动,模糊的文化认同——《中国社会的阶层与流动》重读(【读品】110辑) - republichan@gmail.com 所谓社会流动,指的是个人在社会大众公认为高低不等的位置里,由一个位置向另一个位置的移动过程。一般来讲,社会分为“封闭社会”和“开放社会”两种形态。在完全封闭的社会里,个人的出身决定了他在社会阶层体系中的地位,如欧洲的封建社会;在完全开放的社会中,个...
    7 years ago
  • V城系列明信片 - 圖:by 智海 and 楊智恆
    7 years ago
  • 诗歌是飞行术,散文是步兵 - *诗歌是飞行术,散文是步兵顾文豪* *刊于《南方都市报——阅读周刊》2009年10月11日* 在众多优秀诗人看来,散文不是适合他们展露才思表陈感情的文体,偶然为之,亦不过如布罗茨基所说的是一种“以其他方式延续的诗歌”。他还有另一个比喻———诗歌是飞行术,散文则是步兵。 是的,诗人兴许能在...
    9 years ago
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Friday, March 27, 2015

Umberto Eco’s How To Write a Thesis: A Witty, Irreverent & Highly Practical Guide Now Out in English

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Image by Università Reggio Calabria, released under a C BY-SA 3.0 license.
In general, the how-to book—whether on beekeeping, piano-playing, or wilderness survival—is a dubious object, always running the risk of boring readers into despairing apathy or hopelessly perplexing them with complexity. Instructional books abound, but few succeed in their mission of imparting theoretical wisdom or keen, practical skill. The best few I’ve encountered in my various roles have mostly done the former. In my days as an educator, I found abstract, discursive books like Robert Scholes’ Textual Power or poet and teacher Marie Ponsot’s lyrical Beat Not the Poor Deskinfinitely more salutary than more down-to-earth books on the art of teaching. As a sometime writer of fiction, I’ve found Milan Kundera’s idiosyncratic The Art of the Novel—a book that might have been titled The Art of Kundera—a great deal more inspiring than any number of other well-meaning MFA-lite publications. And as a self-taught audio engineer, I’ve found a book called Zen and the Art of Mixing—a classic of the genre, even shorter on technical specifications than its namesake is on motorcycle maintenance—better than any other dense, diagram-filled manual.
How I wish, then, that as a onetime (longtime) grad student, I had had access to the English translation, just published this month, of Umberto Eco’s How to Write a Thesis, a guide to the production of scholarly work worth the name by the highly celebrated Italian novelist and intellectual. Written originally in Italian in 1977, before Eco’s name was well-known for such works of fiction as The Name of the Rose and Foucault’s Pendulum,How to Write Thesis is appropriately described by MIT Press as reading: “like a novel”: “opinionated… frequently irreverent, sometimes polemical, and often hilarious.” For example, in the second part of his introduction, after a rather dry definition of the academic “thesis,” Eco dissuades a certain type of possible reader from his book, those students “who areforced to write a thesis so that they may graduate quickly and obtain the career advancement that originally motivated their university enrollment.” These students, he writes, some of whom “may be as old as 40” (gasp), “will ask for instructions on how to write a thesis in a month.” To them, he recommends two pieces of advice, in full knowledge that both are clearly “illegal”:
(a) Invest a reasonable amount of money in having a thesis written by a second party. (b) Copy a thesis that was written a few years prior for another institution. (It is better not to copy a book currently in print, even if it was written in a foreign language. If the professor is even minimally informed on the topic, he will be aware of the book’s existence.
Eco goes on to say that “even plagiarizing a thesis requires an intelligent research effort,” a caveat, I suppose, for those too thoughtless or lazy even to put the required effort into academic dishonesty.
Instead, he writes for “students who want to do rigorous work” and “want to write a thesis that will provide a certain intellectual satisfaction.” Eco doesn’t allow for the fact that these groups may not be mutually exclusive, but no matter. His style is loose and conversational, and the unseriousness of his dogmatic assertions belies the liberating tenor of his advice. For all of the fun Eco has discussing the whys and wherefores of academic writing, he also dispenses a wealth of practical hows, making his book a rarity among the small pool of readable How-tos. For example, Eco offers us “Four Obvious Rules for Choosing a Thesis Topic,” the very bedrock of a doctoral (or masters) project, on which said project truly stands or falls:
1. The topic should reflect your previous studies and experience. It should be related to your completed courses; your other research; and your political, cultural, or religious experience.
2. The necessary sources should be materially accessible. You should be near enough to the sources for convenient access, and you should have the permission you need to access them.
3. The necessary sources should be manageable. In other words, you should have the ability, experience, and background knowledge needed to understand the sources.
4. You should have some experience with the methodological framework that you will use in the thesis. For example, if your thesis topic requires you to analyze a Bach violin sonata, you should be versed in music theory and analysis.
Having suffered the throes of proposing, then actually writing, an academic thesis, I can say without reservation that, unlike Eco’s encouragement to plagiarism, these four rules are not only helpful, but necessary, and not nearly as obvious as they appear. Eco goes on in the following chapter, “Choosing the Topic,” to present many examples, general and specific, of how this is so.
Much of the remainder of Eco’s book—though written in as lively a style and shot through with witticisms and profundity—is gravely outdated in its minute descriptions of research methods and formatting and style guides. This is pre-internet, and technology has—sadly in many cases—made redundant much of the footwork he discusses. That said, his startling takes on such topics as “Must You Read Books?,” “Academic Humility,” “The Audience,” and “How to Write” again offer indispensable ways of thinking about scholarly work that one generally arrives at only, if at all, at the completion of a long, painful, and mostly bewildering course of writing and research.
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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

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