Cover

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Frontmatter

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Contents

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1. They and There: The Right Side of the Tracks

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pp. 1-31

My father read the newspaper from back to front, as if it were the Talmud. He read every word of it (though let me not be misleading, he was skeptical about the Talmud), without worrying about origins or the sense of an ending. He was convinced that wherever it started, whatever it was, it couldn’t be trusted. No matter what was reported about it, there was nothing but thievery from beginning to end. But as though to confirm it ...

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2. The Invisible Wounded and the Ethos of Depression

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pp. 32-65

Each year, as commencement approaches, senior classes throughout America are hailed with the traditional advice about conquering new worlds and entering upon an era ‘full of forebodings.’” Thus, the opening sentence of the farewell editorial in the Senior Recorder, the year I graduated from Boys High School. As that year was different, the editorial went on to say, the words assumed a new, twofold significance: “First of all, upon us, ...

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3. From Entropy to Galilee: The Indeterminacy Principle

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pp. 66-100

I’ve always had mixed feelings about Wernher von Braun, who developed the V-2 ballistic missile at a forced labor factory in Mittelwork, and put himself in the service of the Nazis before bringing his expertise on rocketry to the American army and NASA. Yet he might have been speaking for me when he said, “Research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing.” It takes a while, however, before you can learn to live with that, and ...

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4. Rehearsing the Impossible: The Widening Gyre

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pp. 101-131

They want to put up a fence now, and lock it, to keep out the vagrants, the druggies, the dealers, the homeless ready for sleep, on the benches or withered grass, the late-hour couples making out, or even the midnight strollers, but when I first entered Washington Square it was as in Henry James, on an autumn afternoon, with pigeons and hawthorn foliage, honey locust and ambered maples, but hardly anyone there, not even the chess ...

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5. Clear and Present Dangers: The Nothing to Be Done

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pp. 132-167

It was shortly after my eightieth birthday when I first started this chapter, and because of several detours, so much of the life before me, what to write about, what not, it could take some aging time before, or if, it’s finished. I am no longer directing in the theater, but I am still teaching. I have no intention of retiring, after doing it now for nearly sixty years. There were periods in the early years when I was teaching full-time...

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6. Revising the Dream: A Discipline of Distrust

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pp. 168-214

Journal entry: “I dreamt again that there was trouble at the theater and that Buddy had to ‘protect’ me.” That may not have been the nightmare from which I wanted to wake up sweating, but with some distressing truth it came after what I’d written, with familiar redundancy, about my brain being stressed, taut, and tormented all the more by a pledge I’d made to myself, “to understand my motives as they really are.” I insisted I was do- ...

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7. Dark Energy: An Aesthetic of Irrelevance

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pp. 215-258

The Encore Theater was down in the depths. But its lobby, an embedded cable car, might once have been up above, descending from the Mark Hopkins, that exclusive hotel, with its Peacock Lounge, on the crest of Nob Hill. I said that in the years from Oedipus through Galileo, whether foreseeing potential terror in pursuing the forbidden or the possible end of history in scientific research, I had come to think of the theater, from its ...

Index

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pp. 288-109

Illustrations

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