The Fate of Evil Genius?

There are so many points at which David Lavery’s sources on thinking and writing touch mine, that I need to remind myself that it might be no coincidence. I suspect I picked-up a lot of references from reading an on-line draft of his “Evil Genius” back in 2004, though I know a lot more about philosophy and the evolution of consciousness from the studies I’ve done since.

Since around 2010, his web-pages have carried this note:

The web version of Evil Genius has been removed from my website as I revise the text for possible publication as a book.

I discovered Lavery had died in 2016 by email from fellow researcher Henry Gurr in January this year, but I had forgotten until reminded by some unexpected David Lavery hits on my blog this week, so I did a little digging.

For most of the 21st Century, Lavery’s focus and success had been popular culture – Buffy, Sopranos, GoT and the like. Since his death, all Lavery’s earlier blog material – anything other than his Mid-Tennessee State Uni content – has gone completely off-line. Henry has a snapshot from earlier this year, and I’ve extracted all – fairly complete – off-line copies of Evil Genius entries I could find in the archive web.

Aside: As well as Robert Pirsig references and a major collection of Owen Barfield writings, Lavery, like Barfield, uses many Rudolf Steiner references. Steiner’s anthroposophy has a bad press in the UK thanks to Steiner schools that use a very prescriptive version of his ideas for their curriculum. It makes any references to Steiner potentially toxic despite any value in his actual thinking. There is nothing in Lavery – or Barfield for that matter – that is dependent on Steiner, he simply informed some of their thinking. In fact there are no Steiner references at all in the body of EG, and as many bibliographic items for Rudolf Steiner as there are for George Steiner – just one each – in that work. Almost all R Steiner references by Lavery are in his Barfield writings “Re-weaving the Rainbow” (which I have as a Kindle copy).

[Barfield is a whole other topic – see also Barfield on Psybertron –
and very influential for C.S.Lewis, J.R.R.Tolkien and the rest of the Oxford Inklings. ]

EG is, as the cover suggests, a fantasy based on Kirkegaard’s heroine going back in time to “prevent” Descartes having his cogito ergo sum thought that might be seen as the root of the modern-day obsession with objectivity as something more fundamental than and distinct from human consciousness. Hence my interest. And a good deal more high-brow than popular culture.

As well as that fantastical plot device, EG was drafted very much as a blog-like project, a series of interlinked contemporary dated diary entries and notes by the various protagonists – in fact very like Pirsig’s early drafts of Zen and the Art compiled as a vast collection of index cards with meta-index linking cards. A blog before web-logging was invented.

I’ve given thought before to how such a work could be meaningfully published in readable form. So the question is, did Lavery take his draft EG any further before his death?

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