- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1593761252
- ISBN-13: 978-1593761257
- Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 2.2 x 22.4 cm
- Shipping Weight: 476 g
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
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Germs: A Memoir Of Childhood Hardcover – 1707
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January 9, 2009
Most memoirs of juvenile life consist of efforts of an author to recover specific details of a former existence from a vantage of the present. Memory in these cases remains strictly an academic exercise in selectively recalling and interpreting important detail from an adult's perspective.The late great British philosopher, Richard Wollheim, wrote a unique memoir of his childhood that isn't limited to rehashing the achievements and failings of the past. Rather, he compiled a complex story seen the eyes of young boy growing up in an upper-middle class Jewish family in England in the 1920s and 30s. Wollheim is that youngster who was forever inquisitively checking out many of the phenomenal things going on in his small world and then creatively incorporating them into evolving life experiences: the theatre, school. nannies, books, parents, and relatives. What the reader gets here is a ever-changing, dynamic picture of society opening up to someone curious and eager to learn about its great potential. Wollheim's gift for describing critical detail about his past is both a funny and serious light makes this autobiography - worked on for over twenty years and never quite finished - a must read. The processing of memory for the purpose of understanding in hindsight the maturation process in one's life is an invaluable tool as long as the individual uses it to strive for greater certainty and objectivity.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Amazon.com: 3 reviews
March 16, 2011 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
5 people found this helpful.
I had the tremendous opportunity to become acquainted and study with Richard Wollheim when he served as the Chair of the Philosophy Dept at UC Berkeley. He was a remarkable man of superior intellect, passion, and charm. We had many conversations on art, music, and his recently published book on the emotions. This memoir, which was in part printed in the London Review of Books, is a marvelous retelling of his childhood memories, and it takes the reader through several of his war experiences as well. I highly recommend this book. It discusses the cultural milieu of his childhood upbringing, family life, school years, and sheds light on the education of a philosopher. The sentences here are often as eloquent as those in Henry James (Wollheim actually wanted to write a novel)--remarkable writing style. Wollheim was a genuine gentleman scholar--he loved ideas, art, and music--a genuine aesthete. I loved listening to his stories. Many stories of his childhood and youth can be found in this book... I also recommend Bryan Magee's page-turner 'Confessions of a Philosopher.'
November 24, 2006 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
2 people found this helpful.
This memoir set in pre-World War II England has many very well written passages that nicely evoke a bygone era. It is centered on Professor Wollheim's recollections and introspections on his emotional start to life. With his sexual identity up in the air, being a social zero, and faced with irrational fears at every turn, this was not a blissfully happy childhood. Dr. Freud would have had a field day with this raw material of a life.
I was bored
July 4, 2013 - Published on Amazon.com
One person found this helpful.
What more can I say? I just tossed it in the garbage after trying to find something interesting. I was interested in this period so I tried it. I know he was an accomplished man in his field. I think Freud was right about writing an autobiography - if you are going to be really truthful, you will undoubtedly insult and hurt many peoples' feelings. Making the book interesting and exciting would mean leaving out critical information and making up a bunch of baloney.