A publication for the faculty, staff, administrators, and friends of California State University, Chico
April 14, 2005 Volume 35 / Number 7


Talk, Reading, Book-Signing by
John C. Hampsey, Department of English, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo

Monday April 18 3pm Trinity 100, CSU, Chico

Free and open to the public with a reception to follow. For information, contact Laird Easton, director, Humanities Center, 898-4284. Please visit: www.csuchico.edu/hfa/hc/guests.html

A hybrid in both content and style, Paranoia and Contentment (University of Virginia, 2004) is a bold and original investigation into Western intellectual history. John Hampsey approaches paranoia not as a clinical term for an irrational sense of persecution but from a uniquely positive perspective, as a cultural truth — a way of understanding the history of human thought and perhaps the best way to describe Being itself.

The book's analyses and inquiries are joined by anecdotal interludes in which Hampsey applies the conflicting concepts of paranoic and paranoidic to revealing moments in his own life. As humanly engaging as it is erudite, Paranoia and Contentment seeks to reclaim paranoic thinking as a crucial part of our consciousness and an indispensable component to understanding our cultural history. Hampsey, who earned his PhD from Boston College (1982), has served on the faculties of Boston University and MIT.

An extraordinarily original rumination on the human condition, ranging across a broad field of philosophical thought and Western literature. . . . Hampsey's goal is startle us into reconsidering our conventional ways of thinking, and I believe he has achieved that goal admirably. . . . Eminently readable, often eloquent.
-Howard Zinn, Professor Emeritus, Boston University, author of A People's History of the United States

Paranoia and Contentment is a sharply reasoned, humane, surprising, and intellectually bold meditation on paranoic vision. Part scholarship, part personal essay, this beautifully written book turns upside-down our standard thinking about paranoia, creativity, imagination, and what it is to be wholly human.
-Tim O'Brien, author of The Things They Carried

Paranoia and Contentment is a fascinating exercise in redefining "paranoia" and coining the term "paranoidic," thereby positing new criteria for analyzing our life and society today.
-Lawrence Ferlinghetti