Wednesday, March 21, 2012

In Praise of the Pram in the Hall

I've a column on the Wheeler Centre's website today, 'The Pram in the Hall: Fatherhood, Writing and Self'.

I was invited to reflection on children and the literary life. I've argued that fatherhood helped me become a better philosopher and author.  A sample:
As an author, parenthood has also been a psychological education. Someone once compared a baby to a hand grenade thrown into a marriage. But if this is so, it’s not simply because it is destructive, but also because it’s like a stun grenade: a bright flash, which suddenly (and perhaps painfully) sheds light on the psyche. It illuminates parts of oneself and others – spouse, parents, strangers – that were previously hazy or vague. It reveals tensions, impulses, biases, fantasies – and all with the intensity of higher stakes. To mix metaphors, children are floodlights into psychological architecture. Good philosophy, fiction and poetry can thrive with this confronting clarity.
(Photo: American Library of Congress)

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