On Thursday of this week we will begin our group discussion of Hofstadter’s book, Gödel, Escher, Bach (see here for more details). I’m posting this a little early since it is the first assignment/discussion. The plan is to post on Thursdays and Mondays so that participants can start commenting (this means you will have to do the reading BEFOREHAND, so check and follow the schedule!). We’re still working out the best day/format for a live group chat. Stay tuned.
Assignment for Thursday, September 10 (Part I: GEB begins)
Listen: Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 (BWV 1050)
You still have time to order the book from Amazon.com (or pick one up at a used book store, mine was 25¢). This is a no guilt discussion group. If you miss a week, try to jump back in. You can also read/listen ahead by looking at the schedule posted here.
Douglas Hofstadter wrote a very helpful preface to the 20th anniversary edition of the book. The actual content of the book remains unchanged. However, if you read the preface, you will get a good idea of what Hofstadter was hoping readers would “get” in his book. He wrote it because so many people over the years have not understood what he was really trying to say. I guess you could say there was a real chasm between reader response and authorial intention! You can read a fair bit of it by creatively using the Amazon “Look Inside” feature. Actually, you can read all of it if you try hard enough (first puzzle of the course to solve).
Feel free to start posting your thoughts and/or questions on the Introduction!
Up next (For September 14):
Read: Three-Part Invention and Chapter I: The MU-puzzle
Listen: The Three-Part Ricercar, from the Musical Offering (BWV 1079), introduces the Kings theme (which appears in nearly every piece of the Musical Offering) and the fugue style in general.