Introducing the vacation blogger

April 5, 2009 • 6:59 am

This is Matthew Cobb, from the University of Manchester.  He will be posting on this website for about ten days while I’m on a trip.  Matthew is a behavioral biologist working on the neurobiology and behavior of Drosophila.  He’s published two books,  The Egg and Sperm Race, about the early history of reproduction, and a new one about the French Resistance during WW2 (!), soon to appear.  I’ve known him for twenty years, first meeting him as when he was doing a postdoctoral fellowship in France.  Matthew is married, with two daughters and two cats.  The picture below shows him with one of them, Ollie.


14 thoughts on “Introducing the vacation blogger

  1. I’m impressed already. He’s got a biography of Inessa Armand (almost certainly Lenin’s mistress and a very interesting woman) on his bookshelf. I thought I was the only one nerdish enough to read such books.

  2. Matthew, like any good Marxist eschews bourgeois institutions such as marriage. Bio should read, he lives with his partner…..

  3. Oi! That isn’t fair, I’ve already identified one of the books. It might be the very one that none of the others knows as well. I know; send me a free copy of Why Evolution is True, as I haven’t got round to getting it yet, and I’ll let you off and stop whining!

    Incidentally, you’re not likely to have to give out the prize – identify 15 of the books! Bloody hell, 5 would be difficult enough, you sneaky git.

  4. OK, five then! And as to a free copy of WEIT, you’ll be lucky – I’m still waiting for MY signed copy from Jerry!


  5. It’s not as easy as it sounds, as there isn’t more than 2 that are in any way readily identifiable. Here’s the best stab I can make:

    1) Inessa Armand by Elwood

    2) Manchester by Manchester City Council (zoinks!)

    3) The History of the Russian Revolution in 3 volumes by Leon Trotsky or

    Leon Trotsky Selected Works in 3 Volumes or

    The Prophet Armed, The Prophet Unarmed and The Prophet Outcast by Issac Deutcher (with, bizarrely, Trotsky’s name more prominent than Deutcher’s)

    4) The Complete Western Stories by Elmore Leonard

    5) Er…actually, strictly speaking I’ve already named more than 5, so, come on…cough up!

  6. NMcC @8
    2) right title, wrong author
    3) right author (not Deutscher), wrong titles
    So that’s only two right! The prize (whatever it is) is sitting tight!

  7. Ah, but hold on there, squire, you never asked for authors. You only asked to identify the books. So, again strictly speaking, I did identify more than 5.

    As in:

    Bio of Armand
    3 Works by Trotsky
    Book about Manchester
    Complete American Westerns

    Not convinced? Okay, how about this:

    Bio of Armand and Complete Westerns you’ve already conceded, so:

    Manchester by Frederick Engels (just kidding). It’s obviously a tourist guide of some sort. How about the Lonely Planet Guide or Micheline Guide?

    As to the Trotsky books. The only books by him that you could have in 3 volumes would have to be the ones I mentioned, History of Russian Revolution or Selected Works. I can’t imagine that you would get his complete works into 3 volumes or that any of his other books would lend itself to being 3 volumised. His Stalin is too short. So is his My Life. Ditto: Lessons of October and so on. It must be something like his Military Writings or Writings on China or Writings on Literature or something similar – i.e. Selected Writings. Oh! I’ve just remembered. Is it Literature and Revolution? No? Oh, bollocks! Just tell me. I’ll send you a prize.

  8. The Trotsky books are three of the “Writings of…” published by Pathfinder The volumes in the picture cover 1933-1935.
    The red “Manchester” book is “Manchester: A History” by Alan Kidd.
    Other books lurking underneath it are “Teamster Power” by Farrell Dobbs, “Europe’s Physician” by Hugh Trevor-Roper and “Matters of Exchange: Commerce, Medicine, and Science in the Dutch Golden Age” by Harold J. Cook. There are also three identicalish books which are part of Lenin’s Collected Works which used to be sold at £1.50 a throw. All the French Resistance books are behind the photographer (Jerry).

  9. “The Trotsky books are three of the “Writings of…” published by Pathfinder The volumes in the picture cover 1933-1935.”

    You mean, to put it another way, they are ‘Selected Writings’ of Leon Trotsky – exactly as I suggested.

    So, with the Bio of Armand and the American Westerns, I did indeed identify 5 books. Come on, don’t try and wriggle, send me the prize. I’m a Marxist myself, so I hope it’s money.

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