This essay examines the confluence of personal memoir, scholarship, and classroom teaching in the intellectual life. The authors trace the theme of “bearing witness” as the axiom of the intellectual vocation at three different moments in the career of William V. Spanos: his experiences as an American POW during the Dresden firebombing, his introduction of Martin Heidegger’s destructive/projective hermeneutics into the American academy in the 1970s, and his translation of these personal and scholarly commitments into pedagogical theory and practice. After commenting on the potential advantages and disadvantages of Spanos’s Heideggerian approach for future scholarship, the authors conclude by examining disjunctions between Spanos’s pedagogical theory and practice in order to provisionally suggest an ideal balance in the intellectual’s personal, scholarly, and teacherly life.

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