The Arimaspian Eye

By David L. Hall

Subjects: Literary Criticism
Series: SUNY series, The Margins of Literature
Paperback : 9780791413081, 423 pages, May 1993
Hardcover : 9780791413074, 423 pages, October 1992

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Table of contents

I. Karla and Company

I. Sutra of the Single Fat Dharma

III. Per Obscurum ad Obscurius

IV. The Rhetoric of Rainbows

V. Consuming the Past

VI. Speculum Dementiæ

VII. A Reluctant Avatar

David Lynn Hall is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Texas. He is the author of The Civilization of Experience, and The Uncertain Phoenix, as well as Eros and Irony (with Roger Ames), and Thinking Through Confucius, both published by SUNY Press. This is Hall's first fictional work.


"I want to offer my most favorable impression of Hall's The Arimaspian Eye. I am ordinarily not a reader of fiction, that is ordinary fiction, and my tastes go distinctly in the direction of the more unusual forms. Hall's novel is one I took to immediately—to the point that instead of reading it over many short periods, I set aside everything else and read it to the finish.

"What attracts me, outside the sheer quality of the writing, is the marvelous balance the author has achieved between novelistic detail and philosophical reflection. He presents a series of adventures that are at once concrete adventures within a discernible world and philosophical reflections that seem to rise naturally from these novelistic adventures. The reflections encompass a wide range of philosophical systems, but the author convinces us of their relevance to his text at all times. Though there is little plot in any ordinary sense, Hall's prose seems to carry the reader along with far greater ease than do the plots of ordinary novels.

"Hall's mixture of the novelistic and the philosophical really pays off, for his method allows him wonderful insights into a number of human realms. It's a very polished piece of work." — Herbert Lindenberger, Stanford University; author of Saul's Fall

"This is a novel of ideas that is extremely interesting to read. It traces the spiritual development of its main character, Michael Evers, a professor of philosophy, from a largely hedonistic to a tantric Buddhist mode of thought and behavior. Brilliant in its conception, the book has considerable intellectual significance, especially because it points to the fact that some of the problems that plague modern western thought have long been addressed by certain oriental schools. Hall's novel dramatizes the pressing need for an extensive dialogue between Eastern and Western thought.

"Hall's work can equally be placed within the Bildungsroman tradition, and the author often seems to use as playful, even parodic models, such masters of the genre as Goethe, Mann, Hesse, Fowles, and Barth. This is also an academic novel both in its subject and its treatment, and as such it stretches our understanding of the boundaries between fictional (imaginative) and nonfictional (scholarly) discourse." — Mihai I. Spariosu, University of Georgia