Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Godel, Escher, Bach, Ranganathan

I was recently perusing a favourite book of mine: Hofstadter's Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid. I put GEB in the same category as Joyce's Ulyses: I really don't understand it all the time and I certainly can't read much of it at one sitting, but it certainly is entertaining to pick up and randomly peruse a few pages. Perhaps this explanation explains while both books are shelved in my bathroom.

Just this morning I was leafing through the references of GEB when I came across a reference to S.R. Ranganathan. Instead of citing any of Ranganathan's classification or library work, he referred to the rather esoteric Ramanujan, The Man and the Mathematician. Hoftstadter appends the annotation: "An occult oriented biography of the Indian genius by an admirer. An odd but charming book"--perhaps the most deprecating biography of Ranganathan I've ever come across!

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