A professor’s life: A picture book

Here is a picture of a university:

Pretty I think. (Princeton, for the curious among you.)

Here is a bio–rest assured: it is the abridged version–of a successful academic professional working in what was once referred to as the humanities:

As one of the first translators of Jacques Derrida’s work into English, she in effect introduced his work to the American academy. Avital Ronell’s [sic] has continued the deep reading projects of her former teachers (and friends), focusing her attention on such varied assumptions as the telephone directory, Rodney King, Madame Bovary, Martin Heidegger and schizophrenia. Though often labeled a philosopher (as well as a key player in critical and political theory, cultural and literary criticism), [sic] Avital Ronell’s work, thoroughly transdisciplinary, consistently slips the bounds of traditional academic castes, earning her accolades from often disparate spheres of the cultural milieu. Her work is often determined to be deconstructive, Derridian, Heideggerian, post-feministic, post-structuralist, psychoanalytic, and yet her writing continually works beyond these labels remaining utterly singular. In her most infamous book, The Telephone Book, Avital Ronell seems to seek to undermine, or at least ‘address’ through direct intervention, commonly held views of the addressee and the author. Using fonts and texts that seem to explode from the page and which at times become illegible, Avital Ronell mimics the dislocating and alienating nature of the fractured telephone conversation to question the role of both author and reader. Avital Ronell’s published works includeTelephone Book (1989), Dictations: On Haunted Writing (1993), Crack Wars: Literature, Addiction, Mania (1993), Stupidity (2001), The Test Drive (2005), and recently, in 2007, The Über Reader (ed. Diane Davis).

Here is a blank page from Lawrence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy. I beseech you to make a literary sketch of Prof. Ronell in the space provided.

I now entreat you to ask 3 questions:

  1. Is this a picture of a life well-lived?
  2. Is this the work of holiness?
  3. Is this life–this work life, this life work–worth emulating?