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Author Topic: Fiction  (Read 25296 times)
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pugetopolis
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« Reply #540 on: September 10, 2007, 10:24:33 PM »

I read half the book in one long shot Sunday afternoon.I think it is wonderful ,anybody can understand it who can read though I have more questions than answers and some funny things I found in the Borges translation.

Thanks for thoughtfully answering my quesition in Latin Literature about Borges. I posted a reply for you.

In terms of Wild Palms, how about approaching it from a slightly different approach? Why not you, Hoffman, I and anyone else interested in it take this week off to read it, take notes and write down the killer questions like you've done?

Am very interested in your thoughts about the Borges translation: a key text to Gabreil Garcia Marquez...

I can't speak for Hoffman, but personally I'm exhausted after our  Absalom, Absalom discussion and absorbing the Borges magic realist material. My brain -- both left and right brain -- can only absorb so much. Like a sponge. I'm still thinking about Absalom, Absalom...

For example, I posted a "right brain" approach to that novel over in poetry..."Interview with Quentin Compson."

http://forums.escapefromelba.com/index.php/topic,112.msg30081.html#msg30081

My approach was to pose a series of questions like you did with Wild Palms. Sometimes simply posting the questions helps to answer them, if you know what I mean...or at least clarify the issues.

Wild Palms is an important novel in terms of its influence with the Latin American magic realists. I've enjoyed reading Borges so far very much...

Please go ahead with your discussion though...Hoffman is very good at asking killer questions too.

And she has thoughtful answers as well...






 
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« Reply #541 on: September 11, 2007, 12:58:38 AM »

Reader,

I reduced the poll, but there is no delete button, so I could not totally eliminate it. Did the best I could.
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pontalba
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« Reply #542 on: September 11, 2007, 01:26:30 AM »

The narrators in Faulkner don't talk like anyone.  They don't talk like any characters I ever heard of.  They don't talk like any story I ever read.  They don't talk like philosphers or bible writers or gods or demons or poets.

They don't talk like people think, at least not like I think and not like anyone I know who's ever tried to tell me how they think.

Rosa Coldfield doesn't sound like any Southerner I ever knew (though Wash sounds like a regular guy so maybe I should just say that some of Faulkner's folks don't talk like anyone I ever knew or heard of and don't think like any of 'em either).

So, here's the question.  Who do they talk like? 

Ever notice how the giants in history are always the ones who can stand outside the world and kind of look down into it?  Like Einstein, especially with the special theory.  He put himself outside of the world, time, the forces we know about and looked down in and came up with an observation.

Is it presumptious to suggest that people can do that with literature too?

First of all I have to say waaay back up the thread I made a really really dumb statement about Faulkner not being that Southern.  OK, throw the tomatoes now!
I had not read Faulkner, and had a totally closed mind as to what I'd "heard" about him.  Gak.

Because of this thread, I purchased Absalom, Absalom!....read it, loved it, am a total convert.  
Good grief, the man could not be more Southern!

I've been considering replying to this thread awhile now, but y'all were off on tangents I couldn't follow, but Reader, I just have to counter something you've said in the quoted post.
I know these people, these are the people I grew up with and know like the back of my hand. they are my family.
Rosa could be my closest female relative.  'Course Sutpen himself would not have survived in my family too long, but that is a whole 'nuther story.  heh.
BTW, I was born, raised, and have lived my life up to now in south Lousiana.  One side of my family has been here since the early 1800's and the other side earlier.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2007, 01:30:31 AM by pontalba » Logged
pugetopolis
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« Reply #543 on: September 11, 2007, 01:31:53 AM »

So, here's the question.  Who do they talk like? 

"How to approach language, words: not with seriousness so much,
as an essayist does, but with a kind of alert respect, as you approach
dynamite; even with joy, as you approach women: perhaps with the
same secretly unscrupulous intentions."


--William Faulkner, "An Introduction to The Sound and Fury,"
   The Southern Review 8 (N.S., 1972), 705-710.
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« Reply #544 on: September 11, 2007, 01:33:05 AM »

Faulkner wrote about people he knew.  All the different generations, races and types he knew.  For some reason I have always avoided Southern writers.  I don't even know why.  No more though. Smiley
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« Reply #545 on: September 11, 2007, 01:36:06 AM »

Pontalba,

My point is not about diction.  Sure, Faulkner has the diction down.  Look at Wash.  What could be better than that?

My point is about the narration.  No human (and not even Faulkner) talks like these narrators.  Maybe they think like them, but I doubt that too.

You know what I mean, no?  Rosa Coldfield for pages and pages and pages bringing us around so that finally we think like her.  You see the point?

I'm not trying to say that he's not using 'ya'll' correctly.  You see that right?
I was talking about the thought processes of the characters.  Not diction.
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pugetopolis
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« Reply #546 on: September 11, 2007, 02:16:55 AM »

reader pontalba

What about Benjy in The Sound and the Fury?

How did Faulkner handle that one? If you think Rosa Coldfield or Quentin Compson in Absalom, Absalom is hard to follow, then take a dip into the chapter narrated by the child-idiot Benjy...

To say it’s just stream-of-consciousness is an easy way out. It’s Southern stream of consciousness—but with a twist and a snap:

“Faulkner portrays in the idiot Benjy a man who experiences only the "sound and the fury" and is unaware of abstractions and "false refinements" such as those his brother Quentin attempts to impose upon life. For example, although Benjy is profoundly affected by the physical change that he sense in his sister Candace, unlike Quentin he is entirely unconcerned about the abstract idea of her loss of virginity.”

How did Faulkner author this Voice? This child-idiot Benjy? How does a child-idiot think? Or speak? Or feel?

The following article looks at how Faulkner may have created Benjy—perhaps even becoming Benjy. If you know what I mean…    Wink

I don’t personally think authoring a character is a rational discursive process.

Who knows how it works? Even Faulkner in his interviews says the whole process is a mystery

“That William Faulkner was fascinated with the idiot is evident from the appearance of this figure in at least four of his novels.1 What is not so evident, however, is the source of his fascination. I propose to show that the idiot in The Sound and the Fury has probably been modeled on the protagonist of Wordsworth's ballad “The Idiot Boy”  (1798). I came to reflect upon this indebtedness after noticing the coincidence of Benjy Compson's birth date (April 7th) with Wordsworth's. Upon comparing the section of the novel narrated by Benjy with "The Idiot Boy," I found similarities in characterization and theme that seem too close to be the result of coincidence.”

—Michael A. Fredrickson, A Note on "The Idiot Boy" as a Probable,  
Source for The Sound and the Fury

http://www.usask.ca/english/faulkner/main/criticism/fredrickson.html
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« Reply #547 on: September 11, 2007, 02:19:32 AM »

If I may interject a diversion for a wee bit, I am about to be teaching a Parody and Satire class to a group of homeschooling adolescents.

Swift, Aristophanes, Twain, Horace, Juvenal and all the usual suspects are likely to be represented.

What less than obvious satirists or parodists would you recommend?

And how do you delineate between the two?

Thanks in advance!

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pugetopolis
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« Reply #548 on: September 11, 2007, 02:28:38 AM »

That's right...they live it.

Just ask any poor suffering parents...  Wink
« Last Edit: September 11, 2007, 02:30:34 AM by pugetopolis » Logged

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« Reply #549 on: September 11, 2007, 02:35:26 AM »

Adolescents do not need to be taught parody and satire.



To enact satire and parody? Irony = adolescence. I concede the point.

Nonetheless, 16 of them, ranging from 13 to 18, are signed up. 14 weeks.
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« Reply #550 on: September 11, 2007, 02:38:15 AM »

Josh,A bit more recent Satirist(He died at the front in WW1) is Saki.His "The Unrest Cure and other beastly tales" is great though mine is from the UK but I assume it's in print here.Very short pieces.
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« Reply #551 on: September 11, 2007, 02:55:12 AM »

Well"The Unrest Cure" may be a UK book but Amazon has a Penguin complete Saki for under 12.00 and over 900 pages which I just ordered.One of the reader reviewers on Amazon mentions Juvenal.
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« Reply #552 on: September 11, 2007, 04:09:22 AM »

Josh

It seems to me satirists are like zits on the zeitgeist.

What may seem satirical in one historical context—may not seem that way to others, e.g. Swift’s satire and the British/Irish or William Burroughs’ satire and WASP postwar America…

A contemporary satirist I like is David Lynch—but then I’m sure many of your young adolescents have seen Eraserhead (1977) already. Neo-noir dystopian it is—but it’s also sick and funny. Just the stuff adolescents like. At least the adolescent in me...

Since this adolescent generation is you-tubed I did a you-tube search on “Eraserhead” and came up with 967 responses. Some are movie-clips—but many are “presentations” or “reenactments” of various scenes and characters.

This kind of response based on such a “sick” movie means to me that Eraserhead with all of its neo-noir post-apocalyptic satire strikes a note deep inside their psyches. Similar to the ‘70s Rocky Horror Picture Show rites and rituals at the Neptune in the U-District here in Seattle every Friday Night. Talk about audience participation…

The Man Who Wasn't There (2001) is also a neo-noir film written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. Full of quiet day-to-day irony that engulfs a poor helpless slob who muddles thru his life—with chance at first helping him (his skanky adulterous wife blamed for the murder of the guy she was seeing on the side). But then strange ironic chance gets him in the end—as if boomerranging back around to get him. Lots of irony here too. Not as post-apocalyptic as Eraserhead—but still the protagonists seem like us…

Watching Eraserhead and sampling some of the better you-tube movie-clips to me would get the discussion going about what satire is and how neo-noir satire is not only contemporary—but real…

Of course literary satire is different than cinematic satire…but then watching Eraserhead or The Man Who Wasn't there and sampling some you-tube clips might get them interested in reading/writing satire as well…

Here is how I do literary/cinematic satire:

http://forums.escapefromelba.com/index.php/topic,30.msg30274.html#msg30274  Grin


« Last Edit: September 11, 2007, 05:43:14 PM by pugetopolis » Logged

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« Reply #553 on: September 11, 2007, 08:50:25 AM »

reader pontalba

What about Benjy in The Sound and the Fury?

How did Faulkner handle that one? If you think Rosa Coldfield or Quentin Compson in Absalom, Absalom is hard to follow, then take a dip into the chapter narrated by the child-idiot Benjy...

To say it’s just stream-of-consciousness is an easy way out. It’s Southern stream of consciousness—but with a twist and a snap:
The Sound and The Fury is next on my Faulkner list. 
The only other Faulkner I'd attempted was As I Lay Dying, and I didn't like it one bit, now I suppose that is because I just didn't care for the people.  When I have a better grounding in Faulkner, I'll have to go back to it, but really I am attracted more to the Snopes trilogy more than anything after TSATF.

I did find it a little difficult to follow at first, probably reread the first few pages 4 or 5 times, but all of a sudden it just fell into place beautifully.  Once you get Rosa's rhythm of thought it is easy.
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« Reply #554 on: September 11, 2007, 11:02:43 AM »

"I know these people, these are the people I grew up with"

"No human (and not even Faulkner) talks like these narrators.  Maybe they think like them, but I doubt that too."


Reader's position in the contradiction above also contradicts his prior posts about the Bear.

The stereotype notion is important--Faulkner and others build reader's and mine, the earth has built pontalba's.

I agree with the immersion notion and am glad to see it stated.  Somewhere around page 100 AA the same process is described re: Henry, Bon and New Orleans.

Regardless of all the labryinths and immersions and other appropriate criticism, one theme only is prominent in his responses:  I tell stories about people.
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