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The Aesthetics of Piet Mondrian (New York: MSS Educational Publishing, 1972) -- an examination of the theories behind the paintings of this seminal artist. Click here for a .pdf version.

Backstory to The Aesthetics of Piet Mondrian


Stereo Views of the Golden Era in San Francisco (Lafayette, CA: Stereoptic Perspectives, 1976) -- stereoscopic photographs from 19th-century San Francisco, with commentary on each image

Backstory to Stereo Views of the Golden Era in San Francisco


Old Tales of San Francisco (Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Co., 1977; second edition, revised, 1987) -- an anthology, with prefaces and notes, of San Francisco literature from 1776-1906

Backstory to Old Tales of San Francisco


Through the Communication Barrier (New York: Harper and Row, 1979) -- an edited collection of essays on language and thought by S.I. Hayakawa

Backstory to Through the Communication Barrier


Stereo Views (San Francisco: Troubadour Press, 1979; reprinted by Price/Stern/Sloan, 1983) -- a historical survey, with anaglyphic reproductions of stereoscopic photography and art

Backstory to Stereo Views


The Biography of San Francisco State University (San Francisco: Lexikos Press, 1986) -- a history of the university

Backstory to The Biography of San Francisco State University


The Fantastic Fair  (Minneapolis: Pogo Press, 1994) -- A history of the first international exposition staged in San Francisco, 1894

Backstory to The Fantastic  Fair

Scanned version of The Fantastic Fair


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The following entries link to my essays on the great Parisian universal expositions held in the 19th and 20th centuries:

"Fanfare for the New Empire: The Paris Exposition Universelle of 1855," World's Fair, spring, 1986 -- an assessment of the architecture, art, and social thought of the first international exhibition held in France

"Empire of Autumn: The Paris Exposition Universelle of 1867," World's Fair, summer, 1986 -- an assessment of the architecture, art, and social thought of the second international exhibition held in France

"Heroism in Defeat: The Paris Exposition Universelle of 1878," World's Fair, autumn, 1986 -- an assessment of the architecture, art, and social thought of the third international exhibition held in France

"Revolution: The Paris Exposition Universelle of 1889," World's Fair, winter, 1986 -- an assessment of the architecture, art, and social thought of the fourth international exhibition held in France

"Culmination: The Paris Exposition Universelle of 1900," World's Fair, summer, 1987 --an assessment of the architecture, art, and social thought of the fifth international exhibition held in France

"Where Art Deco Was Born: Paris, 1925," World's Fair, winter, 1988 -- a discussion of the Exposition des Arts Décoratifs

"Empire of the Republic: the Exposition Coloniale Internationale de Paris, 1931," World's Fair magazine, Volume VIII, Number 4 and Contemporary French Civilization, Winter/Spring, 1990 -- a discussion of the social, intellectual and artistic aspects of the French colonial exposition

"Confrontation: The Paris Exposition Universelle of 1937," World's Fair, winter, 1988 -- an assessment of the architecture, art, and social thought of the sixth and final international exhibition held in France


*** Three essays on the Paris expositions -- 1867, 1878, and 1937 -- appear in Historical Dictionary of World's Fairs and Expositions (Greenwood Press, 1990), edited by John Findling


The following essays treat the eleven national industrial expositions held in Paris between 1798 and 1849. 


Here is the introductory section, concerning the history of marketplaces, fairs, salons, spectacles, etc. as predecessors of the Paris expositions.


"The First Exposition: L'Exposition Publique des Produits de l'Industrie Française, Paris, 1798," -- an analysis of the first national industrial exposition

"The Napoleonic Expositions: 1801, 1802, 1806" -- includes the first major public appearance of the Jacquard Loom

"Expositions of the Restoration" -- the national expositions of 1819, 1823, and 1827

"The July Monarchy Expositions" -- the national expositions of 1834, 1839, and 1844

"Exposition of the Second Republic" -- the last national exposition, 1849


Backstory to the Paris Expositions Essays


Essays on Various Subjects


"Pictures from Plato's Cave," The New Mexico Humanities Review, fall, 1985 -- a comparison of the intrinsic capabilities of painting and photography

Backstory to “Pictures from Plato’s Cave"


"New Visions of Space-Time," Magazine, fall, 1984 -- a comparison of the languages of contemporary physics, painting, and film.

Backstory to "New Visions of Space-Time"


 "The Relative Absolute," California Humanities Association Bulletin, fall, 1976 -- a discussion of the replacment of laws by theories in art and science

Backstory to "The Relative Absolute"


"The Faustian Infinite," Western Humanities Review, autumn, 1975 -- an attempt to find a common vision of the world in Western mathematics, painting, and music; winner of the Fels Award for Non-Fiction in 1976

Backstory to "The Faustian Infinite"


"Comparing Frontiers: A Scout Report," in Magazine, spring, 1988

"The Doré Vase," World's Fair, Volume III, No. 2, 1983 -- the history and aesthetics of Gustave Dore's major work of sculpture, now in the California Palace of the Legion of Honor; reprinted as a monograph for the San Francisco Museums

"Life Juggling," in Juggler's World, Winter 1990-91 Vol. 42, number 4)

"On the Symbolism of Juggling: The Moral and Aesthetic Implications of the Mastery of Falling Objects," in Journal of Popular Culture, Volume 25, Number 3 (Winter, 1991) 

Backstory to "On the Symbolism of Juggling"


The Media's Tribute to the Unabomber (1995) -- a personal essay on the response of the American media to the Unabomber's threats

Overlinked -- An essay on the perils of putting in links to other sites -- for the much-reduced published version, see the "Idées Fortes" section of Wired, January, 1996.

The Jazz Flute -- A brief essay on the history and nature of the flute in jazz

Backstory to "The Jazz Flute"


The Aesthetics of Customized Cars

Backstory to "The Aesthetics of Customized Cars"


I Touch the Moon (2015)

"The Humanities of the City," Humanities Education, summer, 1990 -- a consideration of humanities courses focusing on cities

Review of From Satori to Silicon Valley by Theodore Roszak, in the Whole Earth Review, 1986

Backstory included


"Oswald Spengler and the Morphology of Cultures," Humanities, 1979 -- presentation and analysis of Spengler's most innovative ideas

Backstory at the end of the essay


"Morality Play" -- a story of compassion and deception on the FLUTE list in 1997

Backstory to "Morality Play"


"Mathematics for the Humanities," California Humanities Association Bulletin, September, 1975 -- a plea for including mathematical concepts in courses of humanistic study

"Therapy for a Dying Craft: A Reconstruction of Literary Criticism," Pequod, summer, 1975 -- a rejection of "New Criticism," and a program for an integrative approach to literature

"The Vision of Hyperspace," Stereo World, Nov.-Dec., 1975 -- a discussion of the perceptual qualities of hyperstereoscopy (a branch of three-dimensional photography)

"The Towers of San Francisco," World's Fair, summer, 1984 -- an assessment of the Bonet Electric Tower (Midwinter Exposition, 1894), the Tower of Jewels (Panama Pacific Exposition, 1915), and the Tower of the Sun (Treasure Island Fair, 1939)

"The Electronic Humanities," Humanities, spring, 1985 -- a discussion of the implication of computers for the theory and practice of the humanities

"The Signature Buildings of San Francisco," San Francisco Bay Architect's Review, spring, 1985 -- a humanist's view of the five skyline-defining buildings in the city's history

"The Fantastic Fair," World's Fair, winter, 1985 -- a humanistic study of San Francisco's first international exhibition (See above for a link to the book version of this essay.)

"The Morality of Computer Gaming" in Humanities, 1991-1992

"Have We Been Here Before? Hippie and Raver Cultures of the 60's and 90s" in Assemblage 1.1 (an electronic journal published on the Internet), November, 1992


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Madame de Sablé -- maxims, biography, etc.

La Rochefoucauld -- maxims, biography, etc.