Thursday, 20 July 2006

Event: Vice Chancellor's Distinguished Lecture with Professor Quentin Skinner

Skinner is the Regius Professor of Modern History at Cambridge University and his topic was "How many concepts of liberty?". A lot of it went over my head, and he spoke very fast, so some of it was lost on me. Generally though, it was really a wonderful exegesis of the history of political thought, from Hobbes through Locke and from Bentham through Mills to the twentieth-century thinkers. There will be a podcast published and when it is they'll put up the link.

It was raining, so after work and before the talk I trotted down to Gleebooks and picked up two books:

The Orchid Thief, Susan Orlean (1998)
My Name Is Red, Orhan Pamuk (2001)

This set me back about $50, so I went into Fisher Library and sat down on a comfy seat on the fourth floor. I read for half an hour before meeting up with my friend, eating a hot dog, and walking up to the Great Hall of The University of Sydney for the performance.

And really it was a performance. Skinner sloped, twirled, gesticulated, made pushing gestures, spoke rapidly, spoke succinctly, put up overhead transparencies and took questions from the audience, who filled the room. Afterward, there was a reception organised in MacLauren Hall, but I didn't feel like going, so we both went home.

Today, I finally received the following in the mail (having waited for over two months):

A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare: 1599, James Shapiro (2005)

And also yesterday I finally ordered my new bookshelf. They will have it made by the weekend, but since I also ordered a new sideboard they'll hold off until both are ready before making the delivery. I expect to have the new units installed and filled by the weekend after next.

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