In this month's brief encounter, the philosopher and author discusses singing, running—and why her favourite quotation is from Mozartby Prospect Team / November 14, 2017 / Leave a comment
Published in December 2017 issue of Prospect Magazine
What was the first news/historical event you can recall?
The Army-McCarthy hearings in 1954, which I listened to on the radio, as a child of six, while my mother went shopping. I am told that long before that, I was coached to answer the question “Who will be the next president?” by answering “Dewey,” a terrible error!
I was 18 months old at the time of that election, and I’m sure I could have mouthed “Dewey,” though probably the correct answer, “Truman,” was a little more than my mouth could handle, nor did it suit my father’s political preferences.
The book you are most embarrassed you never yet read?
The Mahābhārata. I have read parts, but it is very long.
One bit of advice you’d give to your younger self?
Do weight training and specific muscle group exercises if you are primarily a runner. Until I was 45 I did only running, and my body was very unbalanced and injury-prone.
What is your favourite saying or quotation?
It is not a saying but the duet “Il Core vi dono” from Mozart’s Così fan tutte.
If you had £1m to spend on others, what would you spend it on?
In the same manner that I actually spent my $500,000 Kyoto Prize: I’d give part to the University of Chicago, part to my favourite animal welfare organisation (Friends of Animals) and part to the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
The talent you wish you had?
I’d love to be a really good opera singer. As a keen and serious amateur, I know the difference!
The best and worst presents you’ve ever received
The best present was when my co-author and friend, who was recovering from a serious concussi…