"Film and literature are where Cavell sees these issues most profoundly and, in a way, most philosophically enacted, which accounts for the excitement with which his work has been greeted by non-philosophers. His autobiography, Little Did I Know: Excerpts from Memory, is itself a work of literature, as much a testing and investigation of voice as it is a human record . . . What Cavell gives us is a way to hear what we already know, but refuse to face. Little Did I know makes it clear that we already know more than enough. Our problem is a refusal to acknowledge it."Thomas Gardner, Books and Culture
"[S]tunning . . . What appears at first as a recapitulation of the themes of a life . . . reveals itself in its final pages, with breathtaking emotional force, as a farewell to the father as complex and elusive as it is ordinary . . . A master teacher."Matthew Goulish, TDR: The Drama Review
"Alongside the memories themselves are many meditations on the art of remembering, of retelling stories. This is Cavell at his most philosophical, so it is compelling stuff . . . Writing, like philosophy, and like life, does not provide answers. Like all his works, these memoirs are intended to have a therapeutic effectfor the writer as well as the reader."Katrina Forrester, Cambridge Literary Review
"Stanley Cavell's recent book, Little Did I Know: Excerpts From Memory, is an unusual and absorbing work of recollection . . . At the close of this magisterial, idiosyncratic and rewarding book, it is not easy to know where we have ended up. Yet it is a fascinating place to find ourselves."Adam Gonya, Yearbook of the Irish Philosophical Society
"It is in [Cavell's] ability to intervene in his own storytelling to explain something further that the autobiography emerges as an important work of Cavellian philosophy . . . Little Did I Know takes on the challenge of using ordinary language to face a real threat, the actual end to the writer's thought. Thus, the memoir emerges not as a simple autobiography, but rather as the undertaking of the philosophical task Cavell has set, the attainment of peace through the repositioning of himself against his pending death . . . His autobiography becomes the marker of himself in history, the reminder to himself and to his readers that he exists in relation to all with which he interacts."Alexanda Manglis, Oxonian Review
About the Author
Stanley Cavell is Walter M. Cabot Professor of Aesthetics and the General Theory of Value, Emeritus, at Harvard University.