Professor Andersen

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Professor Andersen’s Night

It is Christmas Eve, and 55-year-old Professor Pål Andersen is alone, drinking coffee and cognac in his living room. Lost in thought, he looks out of the window and sees a man strangle a woman in the apartment across the street.

Professor Andersen fails to report the crime. The days pass, and he becomes paralysed by indecision. Desperate for respite, the professor sets off It is Christmas Eve, and 55-year-old Professor Pål Andersen is alone, drinking coffee and cognac in his living room. Lost in thought, he looks out of the window and sees a man strangle a woman in the apartment across the street.

Professor Andersen fails to report the crime. The days pass, and he becomes paralysed by indecision. Desperate for respite, the professor sets off to a local sushi bar, only to find himself face to face with the murderer.

Professor Andersen’s Night is an unsettling yet highly entertaining novel of apathy, rebellion and morality. In flinty prose, Solstad presents an uncomfortable question: would we, like his cerebral protagonist, do nothing? . more

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A non materialistic dandy in an Italian suit, alone at a table by the window in a restaurant. Fifty five year old Professor Anderson, a representative of the small minority within his age group who could rightly claim to be a distinctive generation. Maybe the distinctive traits associated with their ways of acting and thinking could be traced back to a lifelong infatuation with the spirit of modernity, which had hit them and struck them down like lightning in the Sixties. The avant-garde. The

A non materialistic dandy in an Italian suit, alone at a table by the window in a restaurant. Fifty five year old Professor Anderson, a representative of the small minority within his age group who could rightly claim to be a distinctive generation. Maybe the distinctive traits associated with their ways of acting and thinking could be traced back to a lifelong infatuation with the spirit of modernity, which had hit them and struck them down like lightning in the Sixties. The avant-garde. The overriding futuristic alliance between political radicalism and the avant-garde in art. It was lodged deeply in their mind, as though still lightning-struck, like a lifelong infatuation. How much was left of the radicalism now was difficult to say.

The central conceit of this novel – man sees, while gazing through his window, a woman seemingly being murdered but doesn’t report it – is a set-up reminiscent of a short story or a Hitchcock movie, and initially rather distracts from the rest of the book.

However, where as as a murder mystery (who was she? what happened? and why?) the novel could be a disappointment, it instead excels as a psychological study of a mid-life crisis, and of the meaning of modernity.

The protagonist Pål Andersen “a professor of literature at the country’s oldest university” analyses in detail his own motivation for not reporting what he saw, and this leads him in turn to examine his life and literary career>

Because I had witnessed the murder and been negligent with my eyes open, I had sunk into a state of desperation which had long ago transformed my action from an apparent revolt into a form of damnation.

In his university days, in the Sixties, he was part of a radical group of friends,an “alliance who shared radical political attitudes and a pre-occupation with (or polite regard for) avant-garde art, in other words, members of the special minority who represented the New, modernity, the distinctive modernity of their. Time, and who cultivated being against them.

But thirty years later they have become, in their 50s, establishment figures – “professors, medical consultants, celebrated actors, heads of administration, senior psychologists”. Except they are still, at least in their minds, marked out as distinctive from their establishment peers by their “refusal to be pillars of society”.:

They didn’t feel they conformed: not to the authority, or rather duties, which they enacted, nor to the social group to which they belonged. They denied being what they were. They were still against them, the others, although they could scarcely be distinguished from them any longer. They continued to be against authority, deep inside they were in opposition, even though they were now, in fact, pillars of society who carried out the State’s orders, and no one besides themselves (and old photographs from the year 2020) could perceive that they were anything other than State officials, part of the fabric, and the fact that most of them voted in elections for the ruling party would hardly surprise anyone other than themselves.

Another of their distinctive traits was their relationship to the good things in life. They ate as became their position, resided likewise, had holiday homes and cars and boats and ever-increasing affluence, but it meant nothing do they claimed, and rightly so. They behaved as though those material goods were encumbrances in their lives. They didn’t define themselves through these objects which they enjoyed and which were there for one and all to see. This was particularly evident when one of them owned something that was extremely expensive or conspiciously striking. it would be explained as a personal deviation. Professor Andersen had another vice: a passion for italian suits. In his wardrobe hung five light-weight woolen Italian suits, bought in Italy, it’s true, while there on literary conferences, so they didn’t cost more than an ordinary suit at home, he made a point of stressing – a whopping lie by the way.

Professor Andersen realises that in reality the one of his friends who has remained “most loyal to the spirit of his youth” is the “one who on the face of it had changed the most”, selling out by moving from a position as a public sector psychologist to a director of a private sector commercial advertising agency. He “was the man of the future. That made him unflinchingly radical, he claimed, because he was able to consider without prejudice, and not least without old prestige, the new problems which arose. because their radicalism had perhaps only been a chance expression of the spirit of modernity.”

And he also comes to question the lasting impact of great literature, his life’s passion; the very modernity in which he so passionately believes negates it.

‘I’m in doubt, I’m so terribly in doubt about my own function in this age, which I really cannot stand any longer. The ravages of time, this is what gnaws at me, destroying everything. The ravages at time gnaw at even the most outstanding intellectual accomplishments and destroy them, making them pale and faded.’

‘But you must be able to accept the patina of time,’ his colleague said suddenly. The essential thing to recognise, and enjoy, was the noble patina which rested on a work of art which had lasted beyond it’s own century.’

The suspicion that human consciousness was not sufficient to create works of art fit to survive. ‘The patina is necessary to cover up this horrifying state of affairs, their own period. ‘That is what I am afraid of,’ said Professor Andersen, ‘We have such a burning desire for something we are incapable of achieving, and we can’t bear to face up to this lack of ability.

“Which wasn’t just the suspicion that the play does not stand a chance of returning its force in our own day and age, other than as a poor reflection of the original from 1890, but also to get rid of the cynical question which continually accompanied his inspired interpretations, and which ran like this, mockingly, over and over again: ‘Is this really all that good, when all said and done? That a general’s daughter who marries in a state of panic, and who gets bored, causes a damned lot of trouble for others, and then finally shoots herself? Is that something to apply oneself to, with all one’s mental faculties and emotional intensity, for centuries?’

If every Chinese were to eat an egg for breakfast the world would come to an end. It’s as simple as that. ‘When it has happened, these books can’t tell you anything any more’, he said pointing at the bookshelves which covered the walls in Professor Andersen’s study. ‘And you who have all of that in your head!’ he exclaimed, ‘Poor you!

Professor Andersen felt obliged to say: ‘It might just be that one day it may give me a quiet sense of pleasure which will only be granted to a few people’.

All these conflicts he had read about, all those men under duress, at crossroads, forced to make a choice, metres and metres of books on the shelves dealt with just that, but these could not help him at all now. ‘Oh, but I have learnt nothing,’ he sighed, ‘because there is nothing to learn.’

If, at times, Andersen descends into monologues reminscent a Thomas Bernhard narrator, in practice the tone is much lighter, almost playful, there is much more sympathy and less misantrophy in his view of his fellows, and he alternates between gloom and optimism rather than remaining permanently in the former condition.

Overall, an excellent novel, commendably translated by Agnes Scott Langeland, and I look forward to reading more of Dag Solstad’s work.
. more

Professor David J. Anderson


Seymour Benzer Professor of Biology
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Leadership Chair
Director, Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute for Neuroscience

A.B., Harvard University, 1978; Ph.D., Rockefeller University, 1983. Assistant Professor, Caltech, 1986-92; Associate Professor, 1992-96; Professor, 1996-2004; Roger W. Sperry Professor, 2004-09; Benzer Professor, 2009-. Assistant Investigator, 1989-92; Associate Investigator, 1992-97; Investigator, 1997-.

David J. Anderson, Ph.D., is Seymour Benzer Professor of Biology at the California Institute of Technology where he has been on the faculty since 1986. Dr. Anderson is also an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Dr. Anderson received his A.B. from Harvard, Ph.D. from the Rockefeller University under Günter Blobel and was postdoctoral fellow with Richard Axel at Columbia.

For the first 20+ years of his career, Anderson’s research focused on the biology of neural crest stem cells. He was the first to isolate a multipotent self-renewing stem cell for neurons and glia, and subsequently identified growth factors and master transcriptional regulators that control their differentiation into neurons vs. glia, as well as their self-renewal. Anderson has also made important contributions to angiogenesis and nerve-blood vessel interactions, including the discovery that arteries and veins are genetically distinct from before the onset of heartbeat.

Beginning in the early part of the last decade, Anderson gradually switched his research focus from neural development to the study of neural circuits underlying innate behaviors that are associated with emotional states, including defensive behaviors and inter-male aggression. His work employs both mice and the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster as model organisms, and incorporates optogenetics, pharmacogenetics, electrophysiology, in vivo imaging and (in collaboration with Prof. Pietro Perona in the Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences), quantitative behavior analysis using machine vision-based approaches.

Dr. Anderson played a key advisory role in the initial foundation of the Allan Institute for Brain Sciences and the Allen Brain Atlas, and now serves on their Scientific Advisory Board, as well as on the Advisory Council for Project MindScope and the Connectional Atlas. He has also been a Visiting Scientist at HHMI’s Janelia Farm Research Campus. Dr. Anderson received the Alden Spencer Award in Neurobiology from Columbia University in 1999, and was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2007.

Professional Activities

2020 Working Group for the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director, Obama BRAIN Initiative
2020-present Mindscope Advisory Council, Allen Institute for Brain Science
2020-present Neural Systems & Circuits Editorial Board
2020-present Connectional Atlas Advisory Council, Allen Institute for Brain Science
2009-2020 SAB Chair, Allen Institute for Brain Science
2009-present Scientific Advisory Committee, Helen Hay Whitney Foundation

Emeritus Professor Kym Anderson

PositionOrg UnitEmailTelephoneLocation
Emeritus Professor
School of Economics
kym .anderson @ ade l aide .edu .au
+61 8 8313 4712
Floor/Room 4 45 , Nexus 10 Tower , North Terrace

Biography/ Background

Kym Anderson is the George Gollin Professor Emeritus in the School of Economics, foundation Executive Director of the Wine Economics Research Centre, and formerly foundation Executive Director of the Centre for International Economic Studies at the University of Adelaide, where he has been affiliated since 1984. Previously he was a Research Fellow in Economics at ANU’s Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies (1977-83), following undergraduate studies at the University of New England in Armidale (1967-70), part-time Masters studies at the University of Adelaide (1971-74) while working in the S.A. Department of Agriculture in Adelaide, and doctoral studies at the University of Chicago and Stanford University (1974-77). In 2020 he rejoined the Australian National University part-time as a Professor in the Arndt-Corden Department of Economics of ANU’s Crawford School of Public Policy, and since April 2020 he has been an Honorary Professor there.

He has spent periods of leave at Korea’s International Economics Institute (1979), Korea’s Rural Economics Institute (1980-81 as Ford Foundation Visiting Fellow in International Economics), the Australian Department of Trade (1983), Stockholm University’s Institute for International Economic Studies (1988), the GATT (now WTO) Secretariat in Geneva (1990-92), and the Research Group of the World Bank in Washington DC (2004-07).

Outside Adelaide he has taught as a guest professor at the Australian Defence College, Australian National University, Beijing University, the University of Siena, the University of Sydney, Uppsala University, the World Trade Institute at the Swiss universities of Bern, Fribourg and Neuchatel (Master of International Law and Economics), and Georgetown University’s Law School (JD and LLM programs in international economic law). He has conducted many short courses on agricultural, food and wine economics and trade policy issues, and on WTO matters in numerous developing countries.

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He has been a consultant to numerous national and international bureaucracies, business organisations and corporations.

He is a Research Fellow of Europe’s London-based Centre for Economic Policy Research, a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia, a Fellow of the (American) Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, a Distinguished Fellow of the Economic Society of Australia, a Distinguished Fellow (and former President) of the Australasian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, a Fellow (and Vice-President) of the American Association of Wine Economists, and became a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors in 2003. In 2020 he was awarded Honorary Life Membership of the International Association of Agricultural Economists. He is on the editorial board of several international academic journals, including, as Co-editor, the Journal of Wine Economics (see www.wine-economics.org ).

He has served on several dispute settlement and arbitration panels at the World Trade Organization since 1996 (the first economist to do so), and on a panel advising the Ministers for Foreign Affairs and Trade in their preparation of Australia’s first White Paper on Foreign and Trade Policy (1997). During 2020-19 he undertook an Independent Review (available in Files, below) for the South Australian Government of its moratorium on genetically modified crop production (following which the Government has decided to seek its removal, except for Kangaroo Island).

Corporate Board positions include as a non-executive Director of Australia’s Grape and Wine R&D Corporation (2000-05), as a Trustee of Adelaide’s Institute for International Trade (since 2003), as a Trustee (from 2020), Vice-Chair (2020-14) and Chair (2020-17) of the Washington DC-based International Food Policy Research Institute, as a Commissioner of the ACIAR Commission of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (2020-14), and as President of ACIAR’s international Policy Advisory Council (since 2020).

He was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Economics by the University of Adelaide in 2020 and a Distinguished Alumni Award by the University of New England in 2020.

In 2020 he was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC).

Please see his short and full CVs in Files, below.

Qualifications

Stanford University: Completed M.A. 1976, Ph.D. 1977

University of Chicago: Completed 1st year of doctoral program. M.A. 1975

University of Adelaide: Completed external thesis-only M.Ec. 1974; Doctor of Economics ( honoris causa), 2020

University of New England: Completed B.Ag.Ec. with first class honours and dux of 1970 class (conferred 04/1971)

Teaching Interests

Research Interests

His research interests and publications are in the areas of international trade and development, agricultural economics, environmental economics, and wine economics. His most recent projects have focused on empirical analysis of such issues as the Doha Development Agenda of the World Trade Organization (www.worldbank.org/trade/wto); global distortions to agricultural incentives (www.worldbank.org/agdistortions); economics of agricultural biotechnology (GMO) policies globally (www.econ.worldbank.org/programs/trade/biotech); and wine globalization (www.adelaide.edu.au/wine-econ). He has published more than 40 books and 400 journal articles and chapters in other books. Two of his recent books have received prizes for excellence in research and in communication from both the American and the Australian agricultural and applied economics associations, and another three have received prizes from the OIV (International Organization of Vine and Wine) for the world’s best wine books, in 2020 and 2020 .

Publications

Kym Anderson’s most recent books are:

Distortions to Agricultural Incentives: A Global Perspective, 1955-2007, London: Palgrave Macmillan and Washington DC: World Bank, 2009 (Recipient of the Bruce Gardner Memorial Prize of the (US) Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, 2020, and the AARES Quality of Research Discovery Prize, 2020.)

Agricultural Price Distortions, Inequality and Poverty (edited with J. Cockburn and W. Martin), Washington DC: World Bank, 2020

The Political Economy of Agricultural Price Distortions, Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2020

Australia’s Economy in its International Context: the Joseph Fisher Lectures, Volume I (1904-1954) and Volume II (1956-2020) (editor), Adelaide: University of Adelaide Press, 2020. Free e-book version is at www.adelaide.edu.au/press/titles/fisher)

Trade, Development, and Agriculture: Essays in Economic Policy Analysis, London: Imperial College Press and Singapore: World Scientific, 2020

Which Winegrape Varieties are Grown Where? A Global Empirical Picture (with the assistance of N.R. Aryal), Adelaide: University of Adelaide Press, 2020. Free e-book version is at www.adelaide.edu.au/press/titles/winegrapes. Joint recipient of the OIV 2020 Prize for best viticulture book.

Measuring WTO’s Contributions to Global Economic Welfare (editor), a volume in the series of readings on Critical Perspectives on the Global Trading System, London: Edward Elgar, 2020

Growth and Cycles in Australia’s Wine Industry: A Statistical Compendium, 1843 to 2020 (with the assistance of N.R. Aryal), Adelaide: University of Adelaide Press, 2020. Free e-book version is at www.adelaide.edu.au/press/titles/austwine

Agricultural Trade, Policy Reforms, and Global Food Security, London and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020

Finishing Global Farm Trade Reform: Implications for Developing Countries, Adelaide: University of Adelaide Press for Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 2020. Free e-book version is at www.adelaide.edu.au/press/titles/agtrade/

Global Wine Markets, 1860 to 2020: A Statistical Compendium (with S. Nelgen and V. Pinilla), Adelaide: University of Adelaide Press, 2020. Free e-book version is at www.adelaide.edu.au/press/titles/global-wine-markets

Wine Globalization: A New Comparative History (edited with V. Pinilla), Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2020.

Asia-Pacific Trade Policies: A World Scientific Reference, Volumes 1 and 2, Singapore: World Scientific, 2020.

The International Economics of Wine, Singapore: World Scientific, 2020.

Files

  • Review of SA Moratorium on GM Food Crops – Independent_Review_of_GM_moratorium_in_SA_0319.pdf [2.5MB] (application/pdf)
  • Anderson_full cv – Anderson_full_CV_0120.pdf [1.3MB] (application/pdf)
  • Anderson_short cv – Anderson_short_CV_0120.pdf [32.9K] (application/pdf)

Media Expertise

Categories Economics & Finance, Wine & Viticulture
Expertise East Asian economies; China; Indonesia; trade policy (Australian and overseas); food and agricultural policies and market trends globally; Asia – economics; China (economy, acceptance into the WTO – World Trade Organization – training of Chinese trade officials in Australia); Joseph Fisher Lectures in Economics; Indonesian economics; wine economics; international wine market; Third World
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Entry last updated: Sunday, 5 Apr 2020

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