Carlin Romano

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Carlin Romano at the 2012 Texas Book Festival.

Carlin Romano is an American writer and educator. He was cited for "bringing new vitality to the classic essay across a formidable array of topics,"[1] as a finalist for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize in criticism.


Romano is a critic-at-large for the The Chronicle of Higher Education. He was a writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer for many years.[2] He teaches at Ursinus College [3] and the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School for Communication.[4][5] He previously taught philosophy at Bennington College.[6][7][8]

In 1981, Romano reviewed books about philosophers for The Village Voice Literary Supplement.[9] His writing has appeared in The Wall Street Journal,[10] The Nation,[11] The Weekly Standard,[12] Times Literary Supplement,[13] The New Yorker,[14] and elsewhere.

Romano contributed an article on Umberto Eco to Oxford University Press's Encyclopedia of Aesthetics. In 1993, Romano wrote an essay for Danto and His Critics entitled, "Looking Beyond the Visible: The Case of Arthur C. Dantwo," about art critic Arthur Danto.[15] In his essay, Romano sets up a dichotomy between "pragmatism" and "Hegelianism" and finds statements in Danto's books that he claims fit into one of these two schools of thought. The Institution of Philosophy: A Discipline in Crisis? (published 1989 by Open Court, edited by Avner Cohen and Marcelo Dascal), includes a proposal by Romano to set up a World Court of Philosophy in which appointed philosophers would stipulate philosophical conclusions.[16][17]

He wrote America the Philosophical, a book with the main claim that the current United States has the "most philosophical culture in the history of the world."[18][19][20]

In 2013 he was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship.[21]


Romano was born in Brooklyn, New York. He received his Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from Princeton University.[22] He took an M.Phil. in philosophy from Yale University[23][24] and a J.D. from Columbia University.[25] One of the Fulbright Scholars in 2002, he lectured at Smolny State University, St. Petersburg.[26] He was a Joan Shorenstein Center fellow in 1993.[27] and a NAJP(National Arts Journalism Program) Fellow at Columbia University in 1998.[28] In 1989 Romano received an Eisenhower Fellowship; in his case to travel to Israel.[29] He is an ongoing elected Fellow of the New York Institute for the Humanities at New York University.[30]

Controversial critiques[edit]

Martin Heidegger[edit]

In the 18 October 2009 issue of The Chronicle in "Heil Heidegger!", citing Heidegger's well-known past Nazi affiliations, Romano was highly critical of Martin Heidegger's work and its continued acceptance amongst American academics and intellectuals.[31] The article was a review of the publication in English of French philosopher Emmanuel Faye’s Heidegger: The Introduction of Nazism into Philosophy in Light of the Unpublished Seminars of 1933-1935 (first published in 2005, in France), highly critical of Heidegger for the same reason.[32] Romano called on librarians to stop stocking the collected works of the German philosopher, which appear under the term Heidegger Gesamtausgabe. This controversial article renewed public dialogue about the relation between a person's politics and the merit of their work.[33][34]

Catharine MacKinnon[edit]

The publication of "the most controversial by far"[35] Only Words book review, written by Romano, provoked a strong reaction with his imagined description of himself raping the author, Catharine MacKinnon.[36] This performative counterexample to MacKinnon's apparent contention that a rape in words is equivalent to a rape in deeds intensified the debate about legal sanctions against pornography. Romano said in defense of this review, "The worst thing that can happen to a flamboyant claim is to be tested by a good example." [37]

Philip Roth[edit]

In a 2007 book review of Philip Roth's Exit Ghost, Romano revived the long-standing controversy over the extent that Roth's fiction is autobiographical. He used Claire Bloom's 1996 memoir Leaving a Doll's House as proof that Roth's books are "more autobiographical than imaginative."[38]



  1. ^ The 2005 Pulitzer Prize Winners and finalists, Criticism,
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Teaching Adjuncts at Annenberg School for Communications U of P
  5. ^ University of Pennsylvania course registrar,
  6. ^ | Extensive report on Bennington firing
  7. ^ Wilson, Robin. Bennington President Fires a Professor Who Criticized Her Fiercely and Openly, The Chronicle of Higher Education, April 28, 2000
  8. ^ The New York Times on Bennington firing
  9. ^ "The Wittgenstein Industry: Saving Ludwig from His Friends" by Carlin Romano, Voice Literary Supplement, August 1982
  10. ^ The Dalai Lama, Marxist? The brave spiritual leader's unusual blind spot.
  11. ^ Carlin Romano,The Troves of Academe, The nation,6/12/2000.
  12. ^ Romano, "Semite and Anti-Semite: Hatred of Jews in the Arab world", October 22, 2001
  13. ^ Romano, Carlin (May 21, 2008). "Net libertarianism". The Times (London). Retrieved April 28, 2010.
  14. ^ Carlin Romano, Books, The New Yorker, March 13, 1995, p. 103
  15. ^ Rollins, Mark. Danto and His Critics Oxford, UK: Blackwell, 1993. ISBN 978-0631183389
  16. ^ Ralph Dumain, review of Romano’s contribution to The Institution of Philosophy: A Discipline in Crisis?
  17. ^ Ralph Dumain, Four-part extended review of The Institution of Philosophy: A Discipline in Crisis?
  18. ^ "Eden of Clowns by William Giraldi"The Los Angeles Review of Books, 21 May 2012
  19. ^ "The Best of All Possible Worlds ‘America the Philosophical,’ by Carlin Romano". New York Times. June 28, 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-17. 
  20. ^ Caws, Peter. "America the Philosophical by Carlin Romano". Retrieved 2014-01-26. 
  21. ^
  22. ^ Tomlinson, Brett (2009-01-07). "Power 101 - Princeton Alumni Weekly | The Weekly Blog". Retrieved 2012-06-13. 
  23. ^ "A Bloom in springtime « 06520". 2011-04-29. Retrieved 2012-06-13. 
  24. ^ "Heidegger and hate « 06520". 2009-11-10. Retrieved 2012-06-13. 
  25. ^ 5 juni. "Twitter / ColumbiaLaw: Literary critic Carlin Rom". Retrieved 2012-06-13. 
  26. ^ [One of 815 Fulbright Scholars in 2002] 2001-2002 U.S. Scholar Directory for the Fulbright Scholar Program, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
  27. ^ "Former Fellows by Semester - Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy". Retrieved 2012-04-22. 
  28. ^ National Arts Journalism Program at Columbia University, past fellows,, columbia edu, retrieved 2012-06-14.
  29. ^ [One of 1900 Eisenhower Fellowships in 1989] "Eisenhower Fellowships". Retrieved 2012-04-22. 
  30. ^ The New York Institute for the Humanities at New York University, Fellows,
  31. ^ "Heil Heidegger!" The Chronicle of Higher Education, 18 October 2009
  32. ^ Presentation of Emmanuel Faye's book Yale University Press, 2009
  33. ^ In Slate, Stephen Metcalf addresses Romano’s argumentum ad hominem-inspired call to ban Heidegger's work as hate speech and to make fun of it, as Romano advocates in his essay
  34. ^ "An Ethical Question: Does a Nazi Deserve a Place Among Philosophers?"The New York Times, 8 November 2009
  35. ^ "L'Affaire MacKinnon" The Montana Professor, Vol.4, No.3, Fall 1994 by Paul Trout
  36. ^ "Assault by Paragraph" Time, 17 January 1994 by Richard Lacayo & Bonnie Angelo
  37. ^ "Free Speech--Or a Hostile Act?" Newsweek 16 January 1994 by David Gates
  38. ^ "The Rake’s Progress Giving Up The Ghost" by David Gates, Newsweek, 1 October 2007.