John O. Lyons (3 September 1927 – 7 September 2003) – The Wiki

“The self, as Hume saw, cannot be aware of itself, and as soon as it is it ceases to be a self because it is lost in the seas of influences upon it. Boswell begins his journal with the observation that the discipline of recording his experiences and emotions will lead him to an understanding of himself. No doubt the process of composition assist his memory of his life, and yet it also distorts that life.”
The Invention of the Self: The Hinge of Consciousness in the Eighteenth Century, Southern Illinois University Press (1978)

Wikipedia submission – January 2018

John O, Lyons was a professor emeritus of English at the University of Wisconsin from 1960 to 1993. Previously he taught briefly at Bowdoin and Dartmouth. He received a B.A from Kenyon College in 1951, an M.A from Columbia University in 1952 and a Ph.D from the University of Florida in 1960.

He received two Fulbright-Hays Fellowships, one to the University of Baghdad (1964-1965) and another to the University of Tehran (1970-1972). Before entering Kenyon, he served in both the U.S. Army and Coast Guard.

The College Novel in America, Southern Illinois University Press (1962)

Studying Poetry: A Critical Anthology of English and American Poems, Southern Illinois University Press (1965)

The Invention of the Self: The Hinge of Consciousness in the Eighteenth Century, Southern Illinois University Press (1978)

The Invention of the Self: The Hinge of Consciousness in the Eighteenth Century [1] [2]has been referenced in numerous papers and articles ranging from history, philosophy to psychology.

Martin, Professor Jack; McLellan, Professor Ann-Marie (2013). The Education of Selves: How Psychology Transformed Students (1st Edition ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 256. ISBN 0199913676.
Martin, Professor Jack. “A Case against Heightened Self-Esteem as an Educational Aim” (PDF). Journal of Thought. vol 42 issue 34 (Fall/Winter 2007): 16.

Above is my Wikipedia submission

Above is my Wikipedia submission that still is awaiting approval.  For some reason there are not enough references. I have not time to dally in the bureaucracy of Wikipedia. I have the ability to add something to the internets. I thought it fitting that I post it here.

John O. Lyons was my father. He lived an incredible life. His book The Invention of the Self: The Hinge of Consciousness in the Eighteenth Century is amazing for its insight and depth. Like many books written in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s by the “Greatest Generation” that are now out of print, the authors were not out to make a buck. Instead, they were were scholars in order to uncover the truth no matter where it lead.  By the time John O. Lyons was 21, he had read extensively as during his tours of the Pacific during World War II in the Navy and Merchant Marine, he had absolutely no distractions and spent the entire time reading. There are few scholars today who are in that situation. If you are interested in his reading list at that time send me an email. This  reading list will give you an understanding as to the breadth of knowledge that was the foundation of his writings.

Below are some quotes for the book.

“The problem is perhaps most succinctly posed by Lichtenberg who goes back to Descartes and says that he should have said “It thinks,” not “I think” – which moots the whole question of personal identity.”

“My message is, put baldy, that the self, which modern doomsayers accuse of being invisible, was a fiction in the first place. This may not ease the pain and feeling of the loss, for a hypochondriac suffers just as grievously as the truly sick, but it may help us understand the illness.”

“The invention and spread of movable type is probably the most important mechanical contribution to the idea of the unique self, but other forces – religious and political revolutions, the rediscovery of the admiration for classical models of being – retarded the assertion of the self. The intimacy between the writer and the “dear reader,” which we tend to think of as beginning in the eighteenth century, assumes a situation that was rarely assumed before that time.”

Quotes from The Invention of the Self: The Hinge of Consciousness in the Eighteenth Century.

If you care to post here on this website and add to the knowledge base (that is essentially the concept of Wikipedia – a common accepted notion of facts and the truth), feel free to comment.

2 Replies to “John O. Lyons (3 September 1927 – 7 September 2003) – The Wiki”

  1. The Invention of the Self is indeed a fascinating book that should not be out of print. I had to import it second hand from the USA. The former publisher in me thinks there should be a publisher specialised in curated reprints of academic jewels. May be there is such a publisher!

    Best wishes from Sweden
    Luis de Miranda

  2. Thanks to the internet…I was lucky to find this site while I was searching for information about my professor during my study in Baghdad university . Late professor Lyons taught my class English and Americans novels …….Chrome Yellow….Great Gatsby……. Brave New world….Joyce”s The Dubliners short stories …..Brighton”s Rock….and Eliot”s and Pound”s poetry and Faulkner”s Sound and Fury .All my classmates at that time were proud for being his students, boasting to others that professor John Lyons is our professor.I myself and after more than half century still proud that the devoted scholar John Lyons was my professor….Thank you professor Lyons and God may have mercy upon your soul.
    Talal hijazi Jordanian student at Baghdad University -English Department (1961-1965)…..Age 78

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