Escape from Elba

Books => Fiction => Topic started by: Admin on April 16, 2007, 08:46:18 PM



Title: Fiction
Post by: Admin on April 16, 2007, 08:46:18 PM
Share your thoughts on your favorite works of fiction.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Newkid on May 12, 2007, 04:32:30 PM
Share your thoughts on your favorite works of fiction.

Anyone interested in Harry Turtledove's works?


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Newkid on May 15, 2007, 10:51:08 AM
i can't say that I've picked up Nabokov since 'Lolita' in my high school days.  I did read 'A Tree Grows in Brooklyn' as research for a newspaper column I'm writing.  Just as charming now as it was in the 1940s.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on May 15, 2007, 12:28:25 PM
Most people seem to think "Lolita" when Nabokov is mentioned, perhaps because of the scandalous idea behind the novel, perhaps because it was made and re-made into a movie.  But Nabokov's works offer so much more..."Lolita" is Nabokov's most famous, but it isn't his best.

"The Gift" is wonderful...Sadness, longing, the power of memory, laugh out loud scenes...Nabokov writes them all. 

http://www.amazon.com/Gift-Vladimir-Nabokov/dp/0679727256/ref=pd_bbs_2/002-4620779-7320800?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1179246330&sr=8-2





Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on May 16, 2007, 08:22:19 PM
I found I couldn't get into "Prodigal Summer", but "Poisonwood Bible" sounds very good.  I know there are other fans of Kingsolver here, too. 

And as far as Ovid, I love anything old.  And as to Ovid, I don't have a very good edition...any suggestions out there?


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: kitp on May 19, 2007, 05:00:24 PM
I have been a longtime lurker on NYT. Now, I wonder if you will be choosing books to read or just discuss any book one is reading.
KitP


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on May 19, 2007, 05:42:13 PM
Kitp...It seems that right now people are discussing what they are reading, except on the American History forum where they decided on a specific book to read. 

Probably as this site evolves, the discussions will become more organized. 

Is there a specific book you are wanting to discuss? 

Maybe some of the people who wanted to read "Journeys Without Maps" will discuss it here.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on May 22, 2007, 04:08:45 PM
Reader...I've looked at that one.  I like the side-by-side translation, but I was hoping to find one in verse form.  Maybe Metamorphosis is one of those texts where keeping the translation in its original form sacrifices too much in meaning.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on May 23, 2007, 06:40:06 PM
Yes!  I vote for The Poisonwood Bible, too.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: whiskeypriest on May 24, 2007, 12:32:26 PM
I would like to give "that person's" novels another chance, but I won't have the chance to read "it" before June.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on May 24, 2007, 02:26:17 PM
Last night I ordered The Poisonwood Bible, and wondered by the author's name was a no-no on this forum. I look forward to reading some fiction for a change. I usually read books on history. But with such an intriguing title, it looks worth the time. I was also going to order The Sot Weed Factor, but it was too expensive even in used version for my budget.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: whiskeypriest on May 24, 2007, 03:16:24 PM
Quote
and wondered by the author's name was a no-no on this forum.
It's bad luck, like saying Macbeth to an actor.  It goes back to the NYT Books forum, where it was widely believed that the mention of "The Scottish Author" would bring about the present death of the forum into which the name was interjected.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: barton on May 25, 2007, 10:41:49 AM
Funny to hear Kingsolver mentioned, as I just inherited a copy of Prodigal Summer and a friend informed me that one of its characters has an inner ear problem similar to my own.  This fact was not initially compelling enough to make me want to dive into it, but perhaps these postings here constitute some kind of sign or omen or what have you.  I greatly enjoyed The Bean Trees, but I haven't read any more of her works since.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Charles on May 25, 2007, 02:35:33 PM
Might as well try out the mechanics of this forum with a first post and a lost vote for The Gift.  8)
Nabokov, of course.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: charlesroy on May 25, 2007, 08:32:30 PM
Babs is always a great choice for me. Did y'all know she has a new book out, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of food life? It looks great, but it's nonfiction.

So The Poisonwood Bible gains my vote.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pontalba on May 26, 2007, 03:18:10 AM
I'd vote for any Nabokov that was put up....Pnin or The Gift would be fine with me.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Furphy on May 27, 2007, 01:05:35 PM
I like your name. It so happens I'm planning to spend the summer with Monsieur Proust in Combray, Balbec and Paris.

(No, that doesn't mean I'm leaving town, not physically.)

If I was going to read anything by Kingsolver it would likely be her new book on eating locally. I have a hate/hate relationship with food and yet go right on eating. Any book that could help me learn to eat rationally would be a boon to me.


Awww, after finishing the book on Pocahontas, her dad & uncle that was discussed in the Amer. Hist. forum, I just went back to John Barth's The Sot-Weed Factor for a follow-up re tobacco tie-in (hey, it's better than Tobacco Road!) and rollicking romp it is, too. 

However, if others are in favor, I'd certainly relish re- reading & talking about The Poisonwood Bible (maybe without using the author's name for those worried about the risk of causing the thread to disappear). 

If someone is observing formalities, please count that as a VOTE.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on May 27, 2007, 02:37:38 PM
Quote
It so happens I'm planning to spend the summer with Monsieur Proust in Combray, Balbec and Paris.


Sounds like a summer well-spent to me.  Are you planning to read all the volumes or begin the first?

Quote
I have a hate/hate relationship with food and yet go right on eating.

Not sure there's any way to get around that.




Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Furphy on May 27, 2007, 08:53:44 PM
I've read the thing "through" two or three times....but not since I turned fifty. I expect the years will have added a little salt to the dish.

I have a friend who has volunteered to go down "Swann's Way" with me but after that I suspect I'll be on my own for the other six volumes.




Quote
It so happens I'm planning to spend the summer with Monsieur Proust in Combray, Balbec and Paris.


Sounds like a summer well-spent to me.  Are you planning to read all the volumes or begin the first?

Quote
I have a hate/hate relationship with food and yet go right on eating.

Not sure there's any way to get around that.





Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Charles on May 27, 2007, 09:19:20 PM
The only way I have even partially won the food battle, was to look down at the plate and tell myself quite deliberately: "Charles, this is trying to kill you."  And that worked for quite a while, because I really knew why and really believed it.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pontalba on May 28, 2007, 11:19:33 AM
Furphey,
One day I will read Proust, have it but too many others crowd ahead for the moment.  Not sure it that is good or bad, but is the case.

Charles,
Looking at food that way does help, but it's a con job all the way.  :D
But I succeeded giving up soft drinks that way, so it will work on occasion.



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Donotremove on May 28, 2007, 11:37:32 AM
Ya'll, I've read a lot of Kingsolver (I'm not superstitious) non fiction and right now am reading "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle," her most recent book, which is about food.  I have never read any of her fiction.  But I would be up for reading "The Poisonwood Bible" if her fiction writing is two feet solidly on the ground as is so in her non fiction.  I'd have to find a copy.  I mean, you could start without me and I'd catch up.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Admin on May 29, 2007, 10:25:26 AM
If you guys want, whenever you want to poll for a book to review, shoot me a private message with the books that you are considering and the date that polling should end and I will post a poll so that you can track results.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: thekid on June 01, 2007, 10:39:05 AM
This is my first post here so bear with me if I do something wrong.

I noticed that another Exiles members is named NewKid.  I'm not him/her and haven't chosen a name so much like his/hers to be confusing. 

I'm reading Cormac McCarthy's novel, Blood Meridian, and I guess identifying with the main character who is referred to as The Kid.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: thekid on June 01, 2007, 04:46:58 PM
Probably not, pardner.  Isn't that about missionaries and religion?  I'm tryin' to stay away from anything that would lead me into a religious discussion.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on June 02, 2007, 11:40:10 AM
I like your name. It so happens I'm planning to spend the summer with Monsieur Proust in Combray, Balbec and Paris.

(No, that doesn't mean I'm leaving town, not physically.)

If I was going to read anything by Kingsolver it would likely be her new book on eating locally. I have a hate/hate relationship with food and yet go right on eating. Any book that could help me learn to eat rationally would be a boon to me.


Awww, after finishing the book on Pocahontas, her dad & uncle that was discussed in the Amer. Hist. forum, I just went back to John Barth's The Sot-Weed Factor for a follow-up re tobacco tie-in (hey, it's better than Tobacco Road!) and rollicking romp it is, too. 

However, if others are in favor, I'd certainly relish re- reading & talking about The Poisonwood Bible (maybe without using the author's name for those worried about the risk of causing the thread to disappear). 

If someone is observing formalities, please count that as a VOTE.

Dear nytempsperdu,

That was the part of my transfer from notes to post that disappeared yesterday which began with how I discovered Kennett.   The Bayard Taylor always had the best selection process on current books as well as not mistakenly tossing from their collection what must be retained. They had the complete --A la recherche du temps perdu.

As we all know, it is about several families from Normandy, exactly which is anybody's guess.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: thekid on June 02, 2007, 08:03:49 PM
Re:  Orhan Pamuk.

I recently read Snow and I've made several unsuccessful atempts at The Black Book.  Having thought long and hard about it I have decided -- right or wrong -- that Pamuk doesn't really add up to all that much.  Does anyone who might be visiting this forum have anything to say in response?  I don't expect you to prove to me that Orhan Pamuk is a great writer or even that he deserved his Nobel Prize.  It's more that I am struggling to come to terms with him, as a reader, and could use some help.  Parts of Snow, by the way, I thought were terrific, but only parts. 


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on June 02, 2007, 08:34:04 PM
Kid...It seems to me that you either like an author or you don't, and some authors you dislike at one period in your life, but find you can't read enough of an another.  Even the best books can only speak to us where we are. 

Do you know what it is you dislike about Pamuk?  I've not read "The Black Book", but "Snow", "The White Castle", "My Name is Red", and "Istanbul" all have a similar sense of pace.   To me, it has seemed that Pamuk is more about the journey than about the arrival.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on June 02, 2007, 08:42:51 PM
Got the Poisonwood Bible on Thursday. Started reading it last night, and couldn't put it down all day. Hubby is expecting that I will finish it before I got to sleep tonight. Fascinating book! Love it! I won't give it away til more have gotten into it.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: thekid on June 03, 2007, 01:20:38 PM
lhoffman . . . I think you may have a point about Pamuk, i.e. it's more the journey than the destination.  When I finished Snow my first thought was something like "You mean that's where this has been going for 400 pages or so?"

The Black Book, on the other hand, sounds really intriguing -- I like books that play with identity -- but I haven't been able to get more than 70 pages in before my mind begins to wander.  I'll keep trying.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on June 05, 2007, 05:03:59 PM
NY Temps,

It certainly is a novel set in its specific time and place. I'm sure that in times ahead, Africa will change from how it is depicted in the book and what it will be like to future readers.

5 day deodorant pads are amusing even to the present, since, back then we were still mostly taking weekly baths where as now we take daily showers. What good is a 5 day deodorant pad if you shower every morning or evening? Reading of the ways in which the missionaries lived reminded me of a long forgotten small event in my childhood. A family moved in down the street from us, missionaries, just back from Africa, and the postman complained to neighbors that the mother answered the door in a bra with a large hole at the point. The story made its way down the block, and was told to Dad at the supper table. Someone on the block was elected to tell the woman as gently as possible, that such attire to answer the door was not appropriate stateside no matter how appropriate it may have been in Africa. That missionary woman was said to have complained back that her life stateside was excessively hard, since she had had servants in Africa, but in Reading, mothers raised their own children and cleaned their own homes.

But, in the Poisonwood Bible it makes it clear that the native servant was essential to keep the family, not in the lap of luxury, but in three balanced meals a day, which was not the norm for the natives. The family is in bad straights between the loss of the housewoman who came with the mission, due to Nathan's loose tongue, and the arrival of a student of the schoolteacher to take her place some time later. The family almost starves to death in the midst of plenty.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: snyggokul on June 06, 2007, 10:23:43 PM

(...) I like books that play with identity (...)

Then if you have not, you should most definetely read the play Three Tall Women , by Edward Albee . To begin with, the characters are called A, B, and C, and although, as a play, it is naturally meant to be staged, it is indeed a GREAT read !

Also : The second act brings a coup de théâtre that is among the best and most creative in the history of world theater.  ;)


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on June 07, 2007, 09:20:09 AM
snyggokul,

I also like Albee, ever since the 1950s,ever since a play with the ingenious title that goes something like this because I ad-lib,"Dad's Hanging in the Closet and Mom's looking so sad".

When I moved to Hopewell, New Jersey, I had a landlord who taught literature at Trenton State College and almost always invited Albee out to the College as a guest on the roster of speakers. Sometimes, these are held over the Easter Break as symposiums; at other times, these are events scheduled for dates throughout the two semesters. I noticed that Edward  Albee was invited almost every year and, since I used to book literary engagements back in the 1960s myself, I presumed accommodations were arranged by the literature teacher who, with a partner, had a very nice house up around New Hope, a little further up the Delaware river.

P.s. will post that review later in Am.History for Nixon and Kissinger.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: snyggokul on June 07, 2007, 05:41:09 PM
snyggokul,

I also like Albee, ever since the 1950s,ever since a play with the ingenious title that goes something like this because I ad-lib,"Dad's Hanging in the Closet and Mom's looking so sad". (...)

Yep, Albee does like to give these talks and to teach too; I should actually check if he's still teaching in Texas... My Master's Thesis is called : "Identity and Temporality in Edward Albee's Three Tall Women";  ;)  I did the research for it in NY in 1995 -- mostly at the Public Library for Fine Arts at the Lincoln Center -- and also met Albee at the time; we talked and watched the play together, and I told him about the staging of the play here in São Paulo, Brazil, which had opened days before  I left for NY... I reeeeeeeeeeeally like him . A lot. BOTH as a person and as a playwright.

Now... (o.0) You'll simply have to -- please, please, please !!! --- look for the exact title of that play for me when you get the time, madupont, cuz I have never seen that in all the lit I have read & I read pretty much all there was at the time about Albee !!! Oh, boy... To think that I don't HAVE this play DOES disturb me!!!!  >:(  :(

Quote
P.s. will post that review later in Am.History for Nixon and Kissinger.

OK DOK !  :)


Title: Re: Albee
Post by: snyggokul on June 07, 2007, 07:19:01 PM
Dear  nytempsperdu,

 :-* You are an ANGEL !!!! (0.o) Man... Did I fret ! Thank you very much for the information. Funny thing is that I thought my mind was playing some trick on me, cuz at the same time that to my knowledge that was not a play by Albee, the name was not entirely unknown to me; that's why I got mixed up and thought: How COME I do NOT have this play ??? ? ... Arthur Kopit, OK !

(0.o) madupont !!! Tsk, tsk, tsk... You BAD boy !!!  >:(  I'm pinching you here !!!
BUT... (0_0)  I like your posts a lot, so I forgive you...  ;)



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on June 07, 2007, 11:15:34 PM
Who is Arthur Kopit?  (admit, I do recognize the name but can't put a face to it)  Either way, read both playwrights in the Evergreen Review but since that was fifty years ago and before I left for Manhattan, we all can't be perfect.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: kitinkaboodle on June 11, 2007, 09:10:18 AM
For anyone here who may be interested in short story collections/writings you may find Peter Orner's The Esther Stories compelling and worth your time.  Intricate, compassionate...he's a writer who masters many voices.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on June 16, 2007, 10:51:48 AM
nytempsperdu re:#54

"This quote is from a poster in the American History forum, but when I first read it my mind raced to The Poisonwood Bible,"

Unfortunately true, "Missions" of religious do-gooders, who have credit to their side for what ever amount of medical care, outside education they suppose that they are able to provide, activities that make them appear to be a Peace corps  of skills derived from their personal experience with their home-geographic terrain, are most often unaware that they are the front-lines of Colonialization; although they turn to their own government of national origin for a certain percentage of their needs for their work (and granted some groups seem to rely entirely on the funds raised by their own denomination), it is little wonder that they readily convince themselves that they are doing what their Lord asked them to do.  They seem unable to grasp that there is any connection between their settlement, with the gradual familiarization of the local population accepting their "outside" difference, and the eventuality later down the line of things going badly awry.  At which point, it made headlines.

What to all appearances at first seems like a kind of "outsourcing", drastically subjugates the colonialized to a non-bargaining position. However, at the moment, I am not just peeved but rather contentious about the political stance of our own current administration which, in the quest for globalized betterment convinced our northern neighbour(while everybody is distracted by the sleight of hand they are raising against our southern border) that "cooperation" would allow corporations, that refer to themselves from their home-base in Canada as "international", to outsource into the US while applying their own   home-rules to US workers who are now in the process as of the last six and a half years of experiencing the "what goes around, comes around effect" while being reduced to a form of peonage in their own country. There is no labor-bargaining, collective bargaining, just an agreement between American goverments already allied into an incestuous relationship with corporatism.

In other words, what used to be considered "white-man's burden" is now, in terms of Anglo-American connections,  an elite privilege only, with the reduction of the life style of the US "middle class" a euphemism for an enacted reduction in wages through loss of collective bargaining while the national cost of living rises.  They have now been "colonized" like other ethnicities in the past, while the administration in power remains confident that despite  belt-tightening,the middle-class, even while allowed to keep their own indigenous religious preference, will take out their frustrations on certain other racial groups whose positive attributes will be diminished while placing an undue emphasis on negatives attributed to their race or place of origin.

It's been done before historically, not only on this continent but more recently in this last century in Europe itself, while being taken for granted in the Middle East(and/or Asia Minor)currently to obtain exotic resources, after our miserable failure to develop peaceful policy in Southeast Asia. Despite the fact that these economic ventures and labor inequities result in wars, our current direction seems to indicate more of the same intentions toward Latin America. We will probably not  continue the use the religious missionary ruse in that direction, anymore than we would have tried to  apply it in the Muslim Middle East and/or continue to apply it to Muslim Africa. (or, Muslim southeast Asia; which has provided me some interesting insights into the campaign of Barack Obama )


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on June 16, 2007, 09:24:02 PM
Maddie,

I first ran into the missionary abuse of a civilization when I read Hawaii, sometime shortly after high school. I never again supported missionary funds.

I had a heated argument with a priest at one of my sister's wedding some years back (her oldest just graduated HS last week!). The priest had recently returned from a stint somewhere in South America and I made a point of questioning him hard about how they were treating the indigineous people. He kept insisting that by taking the Natives in from the "wild" to be servants and nannies in the homes of rich "civilized" folks, that they were "spreading the culture" to these poor misguided folks. I pointed out that the young mother learning about "modern" child care was unable to apply it to her own children, which were back in the village while she lived all week with the laced ones. I seriously doubt I did anything to change his mind about the "right" way to deal with the indigenous, but I got a lot off my chest!






Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: lulu on June 19, 2007, 10:17:29 AM
Wondering if Poisonwood is something I need to read.

I'm anxiously awaiting Harry Potter so until then it's Kite Runner after Woman in White. 

I also have piles of cds to catch up on.

so much to do; so little time.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Donotremove on June 19, 2007, 10:49:29 AM
Missionaries have been doing their evil work in Central and Latin America since the middle 1800s, often in collusion with the government (or tyrant) in power, but under cover of stealth if that was not forthcoming.  Even when run out of some countries, they bide their time and come back in when the opportunity arises (like Mexicans trying again and again to successfully cross the border into the U.S.).

Read Norman Lewis' "The Missionaries" and learn to wish a stake be driven into the heart of every missionary everywhere.  I've read this book twice (lest I forget).


Title: Re: Poisonwood Bible
Post by: Donotremove on June 20, 2007, 02:29:45 AM
I am finally in possession of a paperback copy of the PB by she who is rarely named.  Judging by the first few pages this is going to be a  good book.  How good will later be revealed.  We're going to start talking about it on July one?

I also lucked out ahead of 130 others for a copy of Khaled Hosseini's "A Thousand Splendid Suns" and I can already say  his second book is even better than "The Kite Runner."

For possible boredom back up, I've got Georgina Howell's biography of "Gertrude Bell: Queen of the Desert, Shaper of Nations."

My cup runneth over.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Mosca on June 21, 2007, 08:24:22 AM
Hey DNR, thanks for the invite.  I have a copy of PB, but haven't read it yet.  I thought it was always risky to talk about Kinsolver, but perhaps that was only at the nytf-s, rip.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: desdemona222b on June 21, 2007, 09:57:59 AM
Hi, mosca! I was wondering if you'd ever make it over here. 


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Mosca on June 21, 2007, 04:04:04 PM
Hi D, busy life lately, but I finally found the chance to get here.  I am glad to see a few familiar names.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on June 21, 2007, 08:21:47 PM
Nytemps...I am reading along, and am looking forward to the discussion.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on June 21, 2007, 08:31:42 PM
NY Temps,

That was one of the delights in the book. The Scripture war! And Price wasn't even charitable enough to be a good host to his guests!

Remember, when Price first arrived and started out with fire and brinstone about the dress, or lack of same, of his new congregation, a practice which had been acceptable to Fowlkes during his tenure at that church.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on June 22, 2007, 01:11:02 AM
NY,

Ah, I cannot play your game - sadly I have a hard time remembering names of actors and actresses. I can think of a few I would NOT cast in the roles, but not of any I would.

Nathan angered me a lot. I've known too many like him, both in dragging their families to bolster their own egos, and preachers who seem to totally miss the message. Ruth May reminded me a lot of my own baby sister, and when I mentioned that to another sister who was next up in age, she was startled that I remembered "Babum" as bubbly and outgoing. She remembers her as the struggling student with undiagnosed dyslexia who was beset upon by the nuns in the early grades. I totally destroyed her Ruth May-like character. But by the time that had happened, I was married and moved to Virginia.

Rachel was an interesting character in how she played with her opportunities and never let morality or ethics get in her way. Not even to let her sister and dark husband stay in her lily-white resort.

I am curious about one thing. It seems to me that this is a book that would be enjoyed more by a woman than a man. Do you feel that way? I think the female characters are more real than the male ones. They have so much more depth.

One thing that struck me was that the girls all went their own way after the death of their sister, far away each from the other, with little or no contact for decades, then they got back together.

In a way it reminded me of my own family - five sisters, I'm the oldest. And, as we matured and flew the nest we went far away (within the borders of the US, but coast to coast and border to border). We rarely saw each other and didn't have a lot of interest in each other until our Mom was diagnosed with Dementia and we needed to pull together to work things out. We fought, we scraped, we argued, we sulked, but by the time Mom passed, we were almost all on good terms with each other. We each had nursed issues that stemmed from childhood all through out adult lives, and some of us could not put them aside when Mom's life was flowing away. Mom always said when we were growing up, that we were certainly not "peas in a pod", and that each of us have very different pesonalities and ended up with very different lives.

I the PB, I noticed that about the girls in the story. They were each a different person and personality. Adah was so dark and gloomy as a teenager. In today's world she would be one of those girls who wore all black clothes and black nailpolish. Yet, she made so many large steps in her young adulthood and built a wonderful career that made it easy for her sisters to really respect her. Yet, the childish tension between the twins remained. The pull together and the push apart. A need to pay back for the slights in childhood almost wiped out, but not totally. Somehow Oleanna came to hate everything about Africa, but was able to make a final, unsuccessful visit to the grave that could never be found. And, late in their lives, she enjoyed a few minutes with her girls as a family, something that she had been robbed of by her husband.

And, I truly hope I have not spoiled anything for those who are not yet finished reading the story. It is a moving story that stick with you after you close the covers.



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on June 22, 2007, 01:40:52 AM
Anne....That is one of the things that impressed my about PB many years ago when I first read it, and now on a re-read.  I have five sisters and  I found  Kingsolver's writing of relationships and  her ability to differentiate their voices in her writing to be quite amazing.   It has always seemed to me that people on the outside of large families view all daughters as the same.  There is sort of a stripping away of individuality.  Kingsolver really seems to understand the interactions, battles and struggles of heirarchy that take place among daughters in  large families, the striving to prove one is special or different, but still needing to belong. 

I haven't looked at her biography, but I wonder if she comes from a large family.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: cwlange on June 22, 2007, 02:58:34 AM
Anne....That is one of the things that impressed my about PB many years ago when I first read it, and now on a re-read.  I have five sisters and  I found  Kingsolver's writing of relationships and  her ability to differentiate their voices in her writing to be quite amazing.   It has always seemed to me that people on the outside of large families view all daughters as the same.  There is sort of a stripping away of individuality.  Kingsolver really seems to understand the interactions, battles and struggles of heirarchy that take place among daughters in  large families, the striving to prove one is special or different, but still needing to belong. 

I haven't looked at her biography, but I wonder if she comes from a large family.

Lhoffman - Good to see some familiar names.    So how does this forum work?  Are we discussing any particular texts?


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on June 22, 2007, 10:36:00 AM
Hello CWLange...hope the vacation was good.  This forum will discuss Kingsolver's "Poisonwood Bible" beginning July 1.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Donotremove on June 22, 2007, 11:20:33 AM
I don't know about women enjoying PB more than men, but I will venture that "Southeners" will/would enjoy/understand this family more than, say, East or West coasters.  Reading Ruth Ann's take the first time I was struck with the notion that Mosca and Dzimas and Whiskey might "fall away," not really connecting with the expressions so familiar to me but so foreign to many others, male or female.  This book is not coming across to me as a chick book, except that it is a tale involving a houseful of women.  I have only one sibling, myself, and she came along after I'd been king of the roost for 10 years, but I have zillions of female cousins and I know how those "clusters" work, believe me.  Of course I am barely into PB as of yet.  I had to read "A Thousand Splendid Suns" first because the library was clamouring to have it back.

Barbara Kingsolver has two siblings.  Her father was a doctor and her family did spend a year in Congo.  Born in Annapolis MD and raised in Kentucky, Kingsolver is a biologist (Masters).  Married twice, she has two daughters, Camille and Lily.  Her web site is:

http://www.kingsolver.com


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on June 22, 2007, 11:53:20 AM
Thanks for the link and the bio DNR.  And I would agree with you that PB would not be catagorized as chick lit. 


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: whiskeypriest on June 22, 2007, 12:01:25 PM
Maddie,

I first ran into the missionary abuse of a civilization when I read Hawaii, sometime shortly after high school. I never again supported missionary funds.

I had a heated argument with a priest at one of my sister's wedding some years back (her oldest just graduated HS last week!). The priest had recently returned from a stint somewhere in South America and I made a point of questioning him hard about how they were treating the indigineous people. He kept insisting that by taking the Natives in from the "wild" to be servants and nannies in the homes of rich "civilized" folks, that they were "spreading the culture" to these poor misguided folks. I pointed out that the young mother learning about "modern" child care was unable to apply it to her own children, which were back in the village while she lived all week with the laced ones. I seriously doubt I did anything to change his mind about the "right" way to deal with the indigenous, but I got a lot off my chest!





This being a fiction forum and all, my two favorite Missionary novels are A Burnt Out Case and At Play in the Fields of the Lord.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: kitinkaboodle on June 22, 2007, 12:06:41 PM
Donot:

What is your take on A Thousand Splendid Suns ?  Is the storyline and writing equal to Kite Runner ?


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on June 22, 2007, 01:08:49 PM
Whiskey,

But did you carry through and see the film just to gawk at Kathy Bates when she eventually went Native?  On screen, it was a very funny story about the naivete of the well-intentioned.

I couldn't imagine "reading" a book about missionaries and their experiences but I imagine one was written before Bruce Beresford filmed,
Black Robe.  I prefer the anthropological aspects where the missionaries don't win. It was an education for those who didn't know that Native Americans do not approve the missionary position.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on June 22, 2007, 01:35:14 PM
It was an education for those who didn't know that Native Americans do not approve the missionary position.

Maddie,

Please explain. That is a matter of Native culture that I have totally missed! If what you say is true, then there is a serious error in Little Big Man, a film I watched so many times since I used it to teach literature to my special ed kids. There is a scene when the Little Big Man is expected to "perform" for his wife and her two sisters, and the shadows on the tent suggest their position. The women seemed to be on their backs, but with their feet in the air.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on June 22, 2007, 01:39:21 PM
When I said the PB may appeal more to women than men, I wasn't thinking of it as "chick lit". I don't see a story which is so squeeky clean being "chick" lit, any more than Little Women was. Perhaps I just don't feel much like a "chick" so much as a "woman".

As to Southern lit, I didn't see so very much of that in the book, and I've lived in Virginia now for about forty years. I can understand the missionary zeal which seems to have toned down over the years since I came south. But otherwise, I just felt it was the time and place of the story, not necessarily "Southern lit".




Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: whiskeypriest on June 22, 2007, 01:43:30 PM
Whiskey,

But did you carry through and see the film just to gawk at Kathy Bates when she eventually went Native?  On screen, it was a very funny story about the naivete of the well-intentioned.

I couldn't imagine "reading" a book about missionaries and their experiences but I imagine one was written before Bruce Beresford filmed,
Black Robe.  I prefer the anthropological aspects where the missionaries don't win. It was an education for those who didn't know that Native Americans do not approve the missionary position.
Peter Matthiesson wrote the novel, At Play in the Fields of the Lord.  If you know his work, he's not someone who is more sympathetic to the missionaries than the natives.

Matthiesson is famous, or in some circles infamous, for his non-fiction work In the Spirit of Crazy Horse, which advances the apparently doomed cause of justice for Leonard Peltier.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: whiskeypriest on June 22, 2007, 01:44:47 PM
And oh by the way... Gawk at Kathy Bates?


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on June 22, 2007, 02:39:08 PM
whisqe,

I was speaking of the "genre" not Matthiesson, whom I am familiar is on Peltier's support; my stand also as I lived closer in territory where this was the course of events.  There is another writer of the Crazy Horse oral tradition but I can not remember his name at the moment. He writes what he was told by his parents and grandparents and talks with great authority when reading passages of it to audiences which are albeit small; an authority that reminds me of my observations in childhood.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on June 22, 2007, 03:07:08 PM
weezo,re:#78

Well, you know, this was a Dustin Hoffman tour de force in which he knows he is playing farce much along the same lines as he did in drag, to upset a smitten Charles Durning; he is in fact, in Little Big Man, a "Hollywood" cliche, somewhat on the order of "gawking at Kathy Bates" who made an art-form of it from then on like any actress who ever had to suppress a desire to be a performing "Exotique Artiste".

I COULD NOT RESIST THE PLAY ON WORDS!,against the reality of the opposing view points.

But what I am actually talking about is the concept of birth control among Women's Societies .  That sort of knowledge becomes "traditionally" accepted by men in practice as time goes by but was important where there were too many mouths to feed.  Beresford in filming a history that interests him, in the same tribal area in actuality, can not resist getting a shot in of a raid on a longhouse of an invasive warrior assaulting and raping a woman in a distinctly non-missionary-position.  It is as if he posits that the Black Robes could not bring about a change in the morality of these people in New France.

Dustin Hoffman on the other hand introduced movie-goers to a favourite fantasy that other films with Native American cast members or stories reveal as a good way to keep warm in winter, and why a man might as well have several wives; during the proverbial shot of shaking off the snow from the buffalo robe (inside the tipi), when someone in the family emerges, up in the Dakotas.  Hoffman is a ground breaker in his way, enjoying comedy shtick but making it possible to include this scene in the scripts of many another made for tv movie.



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on June 22, 2007, 03:13:53 PM
weezo,

Ps. I knew you were going to ask:

The Journey of Crazy Horse: A Lakota History

by Joseph Marshall,III


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Donotremove on June 22, 2007, 04:13:02 PM
Kitinkaboodle, "A Thousand Splendid Suns" is a very good book.  By that I mean everything about "making a readable book" is in place.  The tale is about two women living their lives in Afghanistan from the (I hope i remember this right) middle 70s to the near present (after 9/11).  After you read the story the renewed fighting in Kabul and other of the larger "cities" of Afghanistan will "catch your eye" and make you wince. Hosseini gathers in pre Afghan history along with the history of the present moments in time in which the women's tale is unfolding in a more or less seamless manner.  And Afghans have endured a lot of suffering at the hands of their leaders, not to mention outside forces.  But then, Afghans make each other suffer also.  And who gets the worst of all the different forms of sufferring from all the directions from which it comes?  The women. 

But is "A Thousand . . ." a better book than "Kite Runner"?  I'd say no.  Hosseini trained as a doctor and writing is something he fell into, at first.  "Suns . . . " is his first deliberate book.  I hope there are more.  Then we'll see.  Meantime, Hosseini is a very good writer.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on June 22, 2007, 11:38:57 PM
Re: voices in Poisonwood Bible....a more interesting observation might be made about who doesn't have a voice.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on June 23, 2007, 07:16:43 AM
Laurie,

An interesting observation. Nathan has no voice, and is almost a piece of furniture taxing one's bottom when you try to sit on it. His death is so fitting considering the life he has lived. It does not engender any sympathy from the reader. That's why I felt the book would appeal more to women for the beautiful and in depth protrayals of their insights and lives.

I especially enjoyed the Leah chapters as she "stuck by her man" through the political turmoils of the African colonies emerging into unique nations and going from brief democracy straight into American-encouraged dictatorships with even more poverty than they had during the colonial eras.  I vaguely remember those days when the American press dutifully told us that each of the popular leaders who arose were "communist sympathizers" and they quickly went down replaced by US friendly dictators whose lives were were never privileged to know about.

I do have to wonder where the money came from for Leah and hubby to come to the states to get their educations, and then return their sons for same. Was this taken from monies donated to help the children of missionaries? Or did Oleanna raise the money herself from her meager earnings from the missionary board? How did the missionary board who refused to support Nathan and family initially on their missionary adventure, come around to providing such support to Oleanna and her girls?


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on June 23, 2007, 10:36:11 AM
weezo,

I think you hit upon it in your second paragraph. The actual source of the money.  It comes from our tax dollars but it has to go through "the proper channels" governmentally relabeled to reach those promising dictators.

It was like something that came up in Immigration the other day but I let it pass, a vaguely put question about the financial resources, world bank or something, and I almost said to the poster, "Haven't you read, "Confessions of an Economic Hitman"? (in which Perkins explained how the CIA sets up an economic entity with somebody like Wolfewitz, who was just in the news recently, in charge of distribution; and then the salesmen go out from headquarters and talk dictators into borrowing scads of money "to help their country", then when they stop like Bush at end of term, the citizens owe the money to the bank. Is everyone ready for that?).  I mean, only a banking connected  family that went into politics, could think about something like that. There's always a profit to be made.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Donotremove on June 23, 2007, 12:14:59 PM
Weezo, I have only one up front experience with missionaries and their lives.  My cousin and his wife and four children.  They have been Baptist missionaries in the same places in Mexico for more than 20 years.  They have started and maintained several "missions" in towns in an "area" in central Mexico (way West of Mexico City).  Their home and vehicles are provided by mission funds and all four of their children were educated (home schooled by the wife, K-12) up and thru bachelor and master degrees in colleges here in the U.S.  They are due to retire this year and I have no idea what sort of retirement they can look forward to or how it will be financed.  He and the children are fluent in Spanish/Mexican.  She has never really learned the language.  In fact, in their visits with me over the years I have not heard her say more than a few words in any language.  I will say this, she has extraordinary bladder control, good posture, and a sweet smile.  They have one son who will follow them into Baptist missionary work.  Africa.  After the boy finds a wife.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on June 23, 2007, 01:06:43 PM
Do you know, NYtemps...I always thought chick lit was about women breaking sexual barriers....behaving in the sort of piggish manner that feminists refer to when they refer to men as "male chauvenist pigs."  (BTW, anyone seen that pig/condom commercial?  I found it entertaining...but is it offensive to men?)



I have a suggestion.  I'm guessing that many are not finished with the PB and we planned on discussing it starting July 1.  It would be good, if we put out any details about the book's ending or the fate of the characters before that date, if we would use spoiler warnings.  I'm of two minds about spoilers after the discussion starts.  It seems that if you want to discuss a book, you ought to finish by the start date.  But I know that there are often reasons why people who are interested in discussing might not be able to finish on time.  What does anyone else think about this issue?


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on June 23, 2007, 01:15:00 PM
Laurie,

I will follow your suggestion on the spoiler alert. I am so itching to discuss this book which I read as soon as I got it, which is not almost a month ago. I am having to look back in the book to find favorite passages. There was one point in the book that was a real emotional point for me, and I want to talk about it so badly. But I will forbear.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on June 23, 2007, 01:18:16 PM
Anne...it's hard when you are used to discussing history, where everyone knows what will happen  ;)


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on June 23, 2007, 01:21:03 PM
Gee, I though chick lit was that wholly too graphic "Romantic novels" that I had a hankering for many years ago for a season or two, until I realized that they all repeated the same plots, and all broke at the same point for a view of the ceiling of the room. The only book I remember reading about a ballsy chick was "Atlas Shrugged", and I really found far too many holes in the plot to have enjoyed the book. The author was recommended to me, I sampled what was said to be her best book, and found her far too politically strident to be either believable or entertaining.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on June 23, 2007, 02:18:31 PM
weezo,

Gadzooks, I once told an editor what I thought of the "genre"; Romance novels or chic-lit as the case may be. Like many writers  in that field who have no idea why they happen to be writing  this particular thing, a young writer's work was publicized  by a house which regularly fills my e-mail in-box like so many other publishers.

The story felt so f... familiar  that it was spooky, so I thought if I wrote the publisher then I might find out how to contact the author. That thought  actually spooked the publisher's person in charge of the incoming mail who passed it along to somebody else who passed it along until I learned that the young writer had a web-site.  Why, of course, she does. After I read through literally pages of that, I knew that I had nothing to say to her.

But I did go back to the editor because  people like us, out here, are in demand to review their publications, even though we do it anyway for free in discussion groups on line.  We do it way after the fact, they are looking for people who will help them sell so-so books; in return they give you a free book of your choice but a very limited choice. You just have to remind yourself that you are helping them sell  non-literary trash.

So I happened to say to the editor that,after sampling the writer's prose, I got it now and the genre was similar in intent to the "Penny dreadful" of my grandmother's generation although that was usually sold in serial form in newspapers or in a series which would be closer to the work of the romance writer  of chic lit (does that sound like chewing gum?). She was horrified, the editor that is, and I knew she had to be about in her early thirties; but I suddenly had the flash, that of course she had also to have read a lot of this stuff in order to qualify for the job of editing, and possibly had been a manuscript reader prior to that.   The name on the publishing company was fairly well known for quite a long time however, and I understand how things had gone down hill in the economy, but this young woman would never get a chance to be an editor of an important book building a career in the publishing industry and fulfilling her dream of knowing exciting writers, although she thinks of this job as a stepping stone to another more promising position.  I left it at that.

Meanwhile "her writer" will go on for years churning out fulfilling romance fantasies to occupy  her time; until, perhaps at some writers' conference in Topeka, she will get a spark of inspiration and write the  next,"Gone with the Wind", when she is  59 and 1/2 years old.

Does this give anybody any insight into where this writing comes from and what it is about? I hope so.


Ps. Don't ask me why I wanted to read their books. As I said,they are one of many publishers who send e-mail to those who may have bought a book from one of their affiliated houses and I had no idea what they published until I took a closer look at their books' individual descriptions or a synopsis.  Perhaps the only more evil writer-reviewer-editor  does those for the on-line e-books of some unfamiliar publisher and you don't find out their quality until you have paid to read it.


Title: Re: Fiction-Poisonwood Bible
Post by: Donotremove on June 25, 2007, 01:13:08 PM
Well, I'm at page 317 in a paperback version of PB that goes to 543 pages.  And I am swamped with misery.  Yes, I will finish the book, but I'm not going to be happy about it.  I understand that Kingsolver has no provision in her writer's contract with the reader to "keep him happy," that her only obligation to the reader is to tell the tale as well as she can.  And she is certainly doing that.  Was "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" and Jonathan Edwards' congregation's 14 year travail before they finally threw him out, partially on Kingsolver's mind?  Mental and physical abuse of women certainly was, and the Nathan ring master monster she's created is beyond the pale.  I can't get past feeling guilty about how I feel about Oleanda, who has succombed and let her daughters be snared also.  What is happening to everyone in this book is just awful.  Unremittingly awful.  I can hardly breathe.

It's not July 1st yet.  Don't tell me the end.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Donotremove on June 25, 2007, 02:06:23 PM
Too late, Blingle.  I can't put the book down for more than a little while.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on June 25, 2007, 03:21:44 PM
Too late, Blingle.  I can't put the book down for more than a little while.

You can't say that whiskey didn't warn you. For years. I've odd events happening lately. Will fill you in; in due time, as it sounds like you've got chapters to go.  Nothing earth shattering, just stuff and nonsense.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: rmdig on June 26, 2007, 01:20:26 PM
I am not reading the Kingsolver book and hope you don't mind if I butt in briefly to put in a plug for the book I am reading.  I'm plugging it not because you/we ought to discuss it -- I'm not much for online book discussions anymore.  It's just one of those books that isn't well known, which is a pity.

The author is Dino Buzzati, the book The Tartar Steppe.  If you go to Amazon.com for your book reviews, you may not be likely to consider this as a possible future read and that, too, would be a pity.   In any event, The Tartar Steppe concerns one Giovanni Drogo who is posted to a remote garrison in a mountainous region bordered on the north by an immense desert.  Like Hans Castorp of The Magic Mountain, Drogo intends to make his stay a short one but destiny has something else in store for him.  Because I'm loathe to spoil a book, I will say no more except that unlike The Magic Mountain, The Tartar Steppe is just under 200 pages long.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on June 26, 2007, 01:47:44 PM
LOL....
Quote
I will say no more except that unlike The Magic Mountain, The Tartar Steppe is just under 200 pages long.

It's nice to see you here rmdig


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Donotremove on June 26, 2007, 03:02:40 PM
Blingle, Jesus lost 11 to 56 in the "election" at church when Tata Ndu showed up for a show down with Nathan and his God.  The contest that Leah won (and ultimately lost by reason of severe unrest among the population at large) was the voting on whether or not she could hunt with the men.  It was decided she could (just barely) but Nathan forbid her from hunting.  She defied him and said she would hunt anyway, which she successfully did but nothing good came from it.

I'm at page 490 and things are fast coming to an end.  Lots of surprises between the middle and the end.  Little rays of sunshine and happiness momentarily flit into the picture but there's no weight to them.  Not enough, at least, to overcome the "awfulness".

The near starvation of all parties makes me hungry but sick at the thought of eating.  Kingsolver has succeeded in making me absolutely and totally miserable.

I'm sure Kingsolver has accurately described this "pocket" of experience/history using her fictional characters as a delivery system, so I exptrapolate to hundreds of thousands of "pockets" all over Africa and wonder how Bill Gates and his wife can decide where to spend their much needed cash and to what slice of deliverance in the face of such need.  Even if they spent every billion they have (and all of Warren Buffet's, too) it would only stem the tide when what's needed more than anything is the mass murder of all the tyrants and depots and all their henchmen.

Perhaps the best lesson that might have been learned by people having read this book (and I gather a whole lot have done just that) is that America is lying when it says it wants Democracy in Africa (or anywhere else).  America only wants a certain kind of Democracy.  The kind that leaves it in charge of a puppet government, and the resources given over to American corporations, and with big project loans to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (which feeds the money back into the hands of corporations).

This book was published in 1998, right at 10 years ago.  But you can read it as "current events" in that not too much has changed in all that time.

Well, um, don't get me started . . . .


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on June 26, 2007, 05:13:46 PM
"don't get me started...."   I dunno, Donot, some issues are worth getting "started" over.  You seem to have let go of the whole missionary approach and read it as a parable on colonialism.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on June 26, 2007, 05:58:33 PM
Donot,

Don't give up on the plot yet, there is still much to come.

I truly enjoyed the part of Leah shooting the animal and then having it stolen by the son of the chief. Leah had guts, and, as you get past the starving times, you will see just how much guts she really has!

I need to stop now before I give away any more of the story. But, please hang in there, at the end you will be happy for having read it!



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on June 26, 2007, 06:34:27 PM
Have any of you read King Leopold's Ghost?  Is it worth the read?


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on June 26, 2007, 08:24:22 PM
While looking up the Dino Buzzati publisher, I found this by accident:

http://tinyurl.com/2ubggv

The War and the Novelist
Strange coffee but odder omissions in Gunter Grass's controversial memoir
by James Ledbetter
June 20th, 2007 1:05 PM in The Village Voice

I think Ledbetter sounds too self-righteous.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on June 26, 2007, 08:47:22 PM
nytempsperdu, re:#107


"Maybe now there's increased awareness due to the race for oil resources (have you heard of the movement to boycott the Beijing Olympics as a protest of China's actions/policies in Africa?) and other resources,  movies (too many to try to list), the acts of moguls like Gates, rock stars like Bono, even actors and celebrities who get so much publicity. "   

That would be pretty dumb from a diplomatic point of view internationally, starting up  a lot of protest from Europe and a few other places just as when we went into Iraq .  It would be the reversal of the Kissinger initiative to keep the lines of communication open.

The bottom line is we owe China an immense amount of money, called the National Deficit, so Bush knows that they know that they succeeded in pulling the rug out from under us by destablizing our currency. That's succinctly why G.B has been so extraordinarily greedy (as, so his friends). Good intentions leave Americans no choice but to jump into the fire from the frying pan.

If you are speaking of the buying of Darfur oil to pump the cash back into Sudan, that's the payback for Mr. Rumsfeld's extending military bases to the Chinese reserve oil-fields in the "Stans".

Maybe we should all just stop driving for the 4th. of July; just one day to see what it feels like.

Didn't somebody in here just ask me in another forum, along with everybody else, whether we had seen The Favor on HBO which deals with this topic of the inequitie. It is a Wallace Shawn production starring Vanessa Redgrave.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Donotremove on June 27, 2007, 02:30:39 AM
Please Lord in your tender mercies let me remember every word of this book so that I do not ever have to read it again.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: rmdig on June 27, 2007, 07:40:27 AM
lhoffman

The Magic Mountain is a tome, or tomb, depending on your reading preferences.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: kitinkaboodle on June 27, 2007, 09:21:58 AM
rmdig--
Would you mind sharing more of your latest reading choices/recommendations? 

Kit


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on June 27, 2007, 12:12:26 PM
Rmdig...I'm not sure which either, but I think I like Mann.  He's difficult reading, but in the end, it seems worth the struggle.

Donot...I read PB when it first came out.   Was impressed with Kingsolver's writing.  I'm finding it more impressive this time though...could be the political climate.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on June 27, 2007, 01:45:03 PM
I like to recommend starting with the underlying  themes of the kind that Joseph Campbell used to like bringing to our attention, as to why we feel as we feel, emotionally, in our own time, ourselves individually from the collective heritage  beneath the surface, with Thomas Mann's, Joseph and his Brothers -- Joseph in Egypt; for others, it might be , Death in Venice, or -- Felix Krull: Confessions of a Confidence Man, rather than --Buddenbrooks: the Decline of a Family.  I have not read Tonio Kruger.

From this perspective, Mann is less difficult to read, if you start with something  familiar in which you take an interest, than something off-putting , in which the language of the translation begins to bore you enough to put the book aside.

Like Bosox' luck with the Graham Greene re: the poet, the Earl of Rochester, while showing a place known as, The Book Barn ,to my visiting Sansei sister-in-law, the first book, at the doorway to the topical hallways, cubbies,stacks, and steep steps of five floors of books,was a Thomas Mann for maybe $40 to $60 more than it would take to read it elsewhere in another and even recent edition. But, it is tempting as it brings out the Book Collector in you.  I originally was enthused to tangle when another collector decided to move on to other interests and gave his entire Thomas Mann output to me.  I find it impossible to hold on to these things as there is always another collector who  happens to spot them on your shelves and at some strategic moment when  you are too busy for words,moving perhaps, for some reasons, the books can not be located during the unpacking when you arrive at the next episode in your life. One way around it, do as the first collector bequeathed to me, say firmly, well, I do know what this is about, and pack them attractively, but visible, to present to someone that you know has not yet gotten around to reading these in particular and has just gone back to school or something of the kind. I did that with the works of George Sand (Aurore Dupin), and Confessions of a Dutiful Daughter,by Simone de Beauvoir.

Recently a bunch of women,neither too young nor too old argued for the inclusion of "Romance" to be reviewed by people like those available at nytimes.com, and someone thought Jodi Picoult a really important writer in that genre. I thought not, after being taken in by sentimentality all of my own, and then on second thought, ended up viewing a film made from a Picolt novel and began to notice the things that did not mesh with reality ;so I read the book again. And this time I realized how I let myself be taken in for the sake of the story rather than her writing skills.

This does not present itself when you begin to like Thomas Mann. He can be ultimately somber at points, and eventually; I surmise that he  lived in pervasive depression but had to keep on functioning while knowing he would not see his homeland again and that he was in permanent exile for his lifetime. That's when the theme, Joseph and His Brothers, strikes back ironically, to a man who has been declared an enemy of the state when Hitler has become Reichsfuhrer, and whose son warns Mann that he can not return from a reading tour abroad.   He was so angry at this turn of events, that while at Princeton where they found a home for him at what is now the Catholic students' union(with chapel), that when he was required to give lectures, he did not refrain from conveying his estimation that the intellectual standards,  of the student body required to study literature, and of course the alumni before them, left something to be desired.  He went off to California after that to join his brother, the other European exiles in the Billy Wilder set at Malibu. I think of him as a more gray apparition of someone like Gore Vidal.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on June 27, 2007, 03:07:27 PM
I did like Joseph and his Brothers quite a bit.  I enjoyed the way Mann tied the story of Joseph in with other ancient mythologies. 

I don't mind the difficulty so much if the reward is there at the end. 


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: rmdig on June 27, 2007, 03:29:11 PM
kitinkaboodle

Works of fiction I've read recently include: The Emigrants by W. G. Sebald; six or seven of the stories collected in Alistair MacLeod's Island; Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian; Snow by Orhan Pamuk; Rosemary Edmunds' translation of Anna Karenina; and Hunger by Knut Hamsun.  At present I'm working my way through V. S. Naipaul's A House for Mr. Biswas and the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius because the main character in Naipaul's story reads Aurelius.

I found The Emigrants interesting but terribly somber.  MacLeod's stories are quite beautifully written -- sometimes perhaps too beautifully if that is possible.  I found McCarthy's Blood Meridian, at least once I got used to the cartoonish violence, rather captivating but ultimately he doesn't do much for me.  Not a writer I would recommend.   Snow was odd and meandering and I can't say I would recommend it, either.  Tolstoy and Naipaul are two of my favorite writers and I read them all the time.  I re-read Hamsun's Hunger after seeing a film version made back in the Sixties.  Absolutely fabulous film!


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: rmdig on June 27, 2007, 03:33:15 PM
lhoffman

I have read The Magic Mountain three times over the past 30 years and agree the effort is worth the travail.  His weird Death in Venice is also terrific (and so wonderfully brief).


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: kitinkaboodle on June 27, 2007, 04:17:41 PM
Thanks, rmdig --

Yes, not surprised to see your selections and I'm in agreement with you on Snow in particular.  Wish that A. Macleod would have more of his work available -- Sebald is wonderfully complex -- not familiar with Hunger, but will certainly follow up on book and film.

Have you read any of John Banville?  I would venture that his writing would please you.  


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on June 27, 2007, 06:41:19 PM
I enjoy Sebald's ruminating perspective as he ponders what is going on and what does everybody else know that he doesn't know.   

Good thing that he lived, wrote, and died in Manchester, however, since the Germans  recently discovered after the publishing of his last book On the Nature of Violence ( or, some such) -- was it, On the Natural Order of Violence? -- that they have a right to gripe about what they suffered.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on June 27, 2007, 07:41:39 PM
I keep looking at Sebald...never quite get to picking it up though.  Perhaps I should.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: rmdig on June 27, 2007, 08:15:24 PM
nytempsperdu

Love your screen name.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: rmdig on June 27, 2007, 08:20:26 PM
kitinkaboodle

The Hunger film stars a guy named Per Carlson (I think).  The book is very good.  The film might in all honesty be better than the book.  (I can't believe I'm saying that.)


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: rmdig on June 27, 2007, 08:22:31 PM
nytempsperdu

By all means put Buddenbrooks and Death in Venice on your reading list.  Great stuff.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Donotremove on June 28, 2007, 03:25:42 PM
Nytempsperdu, Sir Dirk Bogarde died May 8, 1999 at age 78.  His real name went on and on--I can't remember all of it.  Google his screen name Dirk Bogarde for every little thing you'd like to know.  His film, "The Servant" is one of the creepiest films in my video library.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on June 29, 2007, 05:01:15 AM
" I suppose I shouldn't admit to recalling them, but at least I saw them on old late night tv in my night owl period, not when they first came out! " nytempsperdu

"Dirk Bogarde for every little thing you'd like to know.  His film, "The Servant" is one of the creepiest films in my video library." donotremove

Oh,yeah,well I stayed up late only when my parents weren't home and I watched him when he first came out.

Sometime I also watched him in the afternoon when I stayed in purposefully to watch what he was up to now
and if you think The Servant was  one of the creepiest, I'll give you Creepy!

It starts out like this.  Quartet is the title of a 1948 film based on stories by W. Somerset Maugham. I am just starting high-school and sometimes if I get to stay home when I don't feel so well, I also get to watch tv although the Golden Age of television is not quite yet arrived. Otherwise there are the Late night theaters of television, similar to the Turner Classic Movies, especially on weekends.

One of the four stories in Quartet was,"The Alien Corn" and Bogarde gets the part. He is not quite thirty years old.

So Long at the Fair is a mystery-/suspense-thriller directed by Terence Fisher and Anthony Darnborough in 1950. It stars Dirk Bogarde and Jean Simmons. In its plot elements and style the film is reminiscent of many of the films of Alfred Hitchcock.

That is more an afternoon flick, after all, for this, Jean Simmons is wearing white socks and one of those "New Look" skirts although everyone knows that when the emphasis is not placed on her button-nose --she could be an exotic creature. She is 21. Two years earlier she has played Ophelia to Olivier's Hamlet, and sometimes people mention that she looks astonishingly like his wife Vivien Leigh.Have they met? Let's see, the year before that she has played Kanchi in --Black Narcissus; and two years prior to that, when she was sixteen, she had been cast in Caesar and Cleopatra with Claude Raines and Vivien Leigh, to play the harp. Flora Robson was Ftatateeta.

Oh, and what does Mr. Bogarde do, with this so experienced ingenue who is now the ripe old age of 21? Why, he plays "the detective". When he isn't that he is,"the barrister" or "the servant", oh, that's right, creepy.  Well, let's see...

Try this out at an art house movie back then, or on a rainy afternoon now--

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libel_%28film%29     or, maybe      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victim_%28film%29  1961

By now I am a grown up. Just the same, I have begun to suspect that the British have a peculiar  sex life which may be all very sophisticated but nonetheless "peculiar".  If the first of these two films was risky ( I did not say,"risque"), then the second was the breakthrough that could not have happened if Bogarde had not insisted on doing the first risky film to make the second possible.  Together, what they broke through was the Wolfendon Laws of the UK.

Now, we can go into the prelude of Creepy, by jumping ahead fifteen years to: Mr.Klein, a Harold Pinter story directed by Joseph Losey. He's the same age as Bogarde and I keep wondering if they met in Germany . Bogarde went in the service and came back a changed man; we will get to that change in a moment. Losey, who was born in La Crosse and might have someday directed at a place like the Tyrone Guthrie Theatre across the river in Minnesota, instead goes to Germany to study with Bertoldt Brecht.  For that he is persecuted by Senator McCarthy, his fellow Wisconsinite, and no one in Lalalande will risk working with him. I wish, I could say that Bogarde and Losey met  because of this film which bears the production hallmarks for which Bogarde's creepiest movies will be known. Instead we are introduced for the first time, to Jeanne Moreau.

Five years earlier, Dirk has already played Aschenbach for Visconti, in--Death in Venice, because Visconti had seen him work two years previously in --

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Damned_%28film%29.  To understand what follows, I hope that you will look more closely at what Visconti has in mind at

this time; it is all there in the link. This film also known in German as: Die Verdammten  or die Gotterdamerung  will lead suddenly to another break-through film for Bogarde that astounds people who are either revolted by it or understand it and accept it. It is by another Italian director, a woman, Lila Cavani.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Night_Porter

Didn't I tell you that I'd give you creepy. People of all sexes are astonished at what takes place in this movie. We are no longer among the British.  Dirk Bogarde was now free to immerse himself freely in the Germanic world that VISCONTI insisted on examining. And here's the Aschenbach connection. What is a characters name in THOMAS MANN, is such a familiar common name in Germany that Visconti can reference it to a Nazi party official. I have a few notes and papers for those who care to pursue, DEATH IN VENICE

"fall of 1997, an alternative vision of Berlin cast its metaphysical and historical black ashen gloominess in the Martin-Gropius-Bau as an annex to a landmark retrospective on Deutchlandbilder: Kunst aus einem geteilten Land (German art out of a divided land ). Tucked away in the second floor of the building, the annex exhibit, sponsored by what was then the Foundation of the still unopened Jewish Museum, confronted the visitors with a very different mood. The artists there were not among the anguished Täters but among the detached if not tranquil Opfers, to use the classical German expression for perpetrators and victims. One work of art stood out in particular, Joshua Neustein's black ashen Berlin, entitled 'Aschenbach '. In a a small white walled room, an elaborate two tiered golden chained traditional crystal chandelier hung disconcertedly low at waist level, revealing without however illuminating, an entirely black floor. The floor represented a turn of the 20th century relief map of central Berlin entirely made out of barely consolidated black ashes. The overall feeling was one of frozen eternal desolation: light on one side, darkness on the other without the least interaction.

The 'Aschenbach' reference had a double resonance. In literal terms the word means 'stream of ashes', an appropriate description of the central canal that ran through black ashen Berlin in the work of art. But Gustav Aschenbach is also the name of the protagonist of Thomas Mann's Death in Venice, a barely camouflaged allusion to Gustav Mahler, the Jewish composer who was forced to convert to Catholicism in order to become the conductor of the Vienna Philharmonic. Mann's novel depicted the tension between Northern and Southern identities and passions, decadence and death in the plague infested lagoon where inhabitants and visitors alike refused to acknowledge the overwhelming presence of the fatal disease, a disease that could also include, from a Jewish point of view, assimilation and conversion, as a loss of identity. By referring to Aschenbach, Neustein thus transcribed Mann's own pessimistic reading of Western civilisation and the dying metaphor of Venice to a Berlin whose black ashen reality clearly evoked the Holocaust, but not only the Holocaust." -- Diane Pinto

 http://www.jewish-theatre.com/visitor/article_display.aspx?articleID=265



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: rmdig on June 29, 2007, 07:58:37 AM
nytempsperdu

The film version of Death in Venice is very good.

Is Dirk Bogarde in The Servant creepier than Dirk Bogarde in The Night Porter?


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: nnyhav on June 29, 2007, 08:21:59 AM
Will do, rmdig, though the list threatens to stretch into the next county soon.  My goals in life have become to be able to work long enough to send my kid to vet school and live long enough with eyesight intact (and sufficient gray matter) to read (and "get") all on the list. [...]


Hi rmd! & nytp, worthy goals; same daughter as in the band? not gonna neuter pets but transgender 'em? but eyesight is more finite than the list, couldn't you steer her into optometry?


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on June 29, 2007, 02:41:34 PM
NY Temps.

I know exactly how you felt on the commute. I was sitting in my chair sniffling and tears rolling down my face as I read the page over and over not believing that the suggestion in the first chapter would be that little bundle of joy. I thought when they ants hit, it would be Ada, the slow and limpy one, who would fulfill the foreshadow.




Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on June 29, 2007, 11:29:00 PM
Here is a poem written by Aghostinho Neto (depicted as a friend of Anatole's in PB).

Create
Create create
create in mind create in muscle create in nerve
create in man create in the masses
create
create with dry eyes


create create
over the profanation of the forest
over the brazen fortress of the whip
create over the perfume of sawn trunks
create
create with dry eyes


create create
bursts of laughter over the derision of the palmatoria
courage in the tips of the planter’s boots
strength in the splintering of battered-in doors
firmness in the red blood of insecurity
create
create with dry eyes


create create
stars over the warrior’s
sledgehammer
peace over children’s weeping
peace over sweat over the tears of contract labour
peace over hatred
create
create peace with dry eyes


create create
create freedom in the slave stars
manacles of love on the paganized paths of love
festive sounds over swinging bodies on the simulated gallows


Create
create love with dry eyes.


The NI described Agostinho Neto in 1988 as ‘the quintessential example of the poet as revolutionary, spinning his dreams and inspirational calls to arms from inside prison cells and given the chance to turn imagination into reality as the first President of independent Angola’.
   The description is a quote, but I can't find the source just now.

Also a tribute to Neto by Chinua Achebe


Agostinho, were you no more
Than the middle one favored by fortune
In children's riddle; Kwame
Striding ahead to accost
Demons; behind you a laggard third
As yet unnamed, of twisted fingers?
No! Your secure strides
Were hard earned. Your feet
Learned their fierce balance
In violent slopes of humiliation;
Your delicate hands, patiently
Groomed for finest incisions,
Were commandeered brusquely to kill,
Your gentle voice to battle-cry.

Perhaps your family and friends
Knew a merry flash cracking the gloom
We see in pictures but I prefer
And will keep that sorrowful legend.
For I have seen how
Half a millennium of alien rape
And murder can stamp a smile
On the vacant face of the fool,
The sinister grin of Africa's idiot-kings
Who oversee in obscene palaces of gold
The butchery of their own people.

Neto, I sing your passing, I,
Timid requisitioner of your vast
Armory's most congenial supply.
What shall I sing? A dirge answering
The gloom? No, I will sing tearful songs
Of joy; I will celebrate
The man who rode a trinity
Of awesome fates to the cause
Of our trampled race!
Thou Healer, Soldier and Poet!



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on July 01, 2007, 07:47:10 PM
Glad you liked those, Nytempsperdu. 

Today's Book Review in the NYT had a letter from Howard Zinn...a response to last weeks review of his book.   Zinn's letter give us his own perspective of his book, but it is also interesting to look at after reading The Poisonwood Bible.   

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/01/books/review/Letters-t-1.html (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/01/books/review/Letters-t-1.html)

Zinn's new book and  PB both give us perspectives on history.  Kingsolver picks up on the historian's dilemma quite well in voicing Leah and Rachel (although Kingsolver injects her own opinion with less sublety than most historians would)....two girls growing up in the same place at the same time with the same background both draw different conclusions. 


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: kitinkaboodle on July 02, 2007, 01:14:30 PM


Awhile back kitnkaboodle asked rmdig
Quote
Have you read any of John Banville?  I would venture that his writing would please you.
I read his The Book of Evidence with much pleasure last year and participated in a forum discussion of it, but haven't gone beyond that work. Which Banville have you read?

Hi, nytempsperdu!
Nice to see another Banville reader here.  Have read The Sea and Christine Falls, which he wrote as a complete departure from his usual under the nom de plume Benjamin Black, this to be a series...  But back to 'Sea', you won't be disappointed, that is if you enjoy his lyrical and allusive language.  How can one not? 


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pontalba on July 03, 2007, 01:52:27 PM


Awhile back kitnkaboodle asked rmdig
Quote
Have you read any of John Banville?  I would venture that his writing would please you.
I read his The Book of Evidence with much pleasure last year and participated in a forum discussion of it, but haven't gone beyond that work. Which Banville have you read?

Hi, nytempsperdu!
Nice to see another Banville reader here.  Have read The Sea and Christine Falls, which he wrote as a complete departure from his usual under the nom de plume Benjamin Black, this to be a series...  But back to 'Sea', you won't be disappointed, that is if you enjoy his lyrical and allusive language.  How can one not? 
I have also read The Sea and thought it excellent, but I have had The Untouchable in my 'half-way read' stack for a couple of months...just got bogged down in minutia and who was what when.  Have Christine Falls in my TBR stack though and have higher hopes for that.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: kitinkaboodle on July 03, 2007, 02:23:41 PM
Thinking that Athena would be my next Banville selection...more so now after your post, pontalba.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pontalba on July 03, 2007, 02:42:32 PM
Thinking that Athena would be my next Banville selection...more so now after your post, pontalba.
I believe Athena is a sequel to The Book of Evidence.  Both are in my TBR stack also.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: kitinkaboodle on July 03, 2007, 02:57:08 PM
Ah! Didn't know that, thank you.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on July 03, 2007, 11:21:37 PM
Nytemps...I found it most interesting that Kingsolver did not choose to give Nathan or Anatole their  "own" voices.  We heard their voices only as reported by others.  I think Kingsolver wanted to relate Nathan to the old regime and Anatole to Africa itself.  The old regime has passed and can only speak through history....second hand, subject to interpretation; the "new" Africa...a nation in its infancy still searching for its voice.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on July 03, 2007, 11:42:40 PM
My feeling, right or wrong, is that Kingsolver wanted to tell the story through the eyes of the women, a daring design to be sure. They are good women, strong women, weak women, unreprentent women, saddened women, driven women, but women all. Not a one stereotyped woman in the whole book!

This was, to me, one of the most exquisite delights of the book - to hear from women without the interruptions of their men. These women were unique. They did not band together and work for a common cause. Each one struck out on her own and slayed the dragons she, herself, encountered. She did not need a band of women behind her to comfort her as she made her strike.

The second saddest time in the book, after the death of Ruth May, was when they all came together to visit the grave, and had to turn back to their own different lives, unable to accomplish even that one simple goal, as a family, as a group of women. They had to abandon their goal as there was no feasible way to accomplish it. And there lay Ruth May, in an unmarked grave somewhere in the forest of Africa, and those who loved and remembered her could not reach out to her even that one last time.



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on July 04, 2007, 01:05:26 AM
Weezo....not a matter of right or wrong.  The book works on many levels.  I like your idea of the women slaying dragons, quite the opposite of the perspective of many fairy tales.  And read on that level, it reminds me of the rite of passage in some primitive cultures where children are sent into the forest to face their demons and enter the adult world  (represented in Grimm by Hansel and Gretel).   On that level, I find Leah more tragic than Ruth May.  When she entered "the forest", all her illusions about her father were shattered.   She had to toss out everything she believed in her childhood and begin anew.

I think though, that Kingsolver directs our focus to the women as individuals because she wants her readers to consider the idea of individual guilt as related to colonialism....her point being that there are no innocent bystanders.  In the very first page, Kingsolver has Orleanna say,

Away down below now, single file on the path, comes a woman with four girls in tow, all of them in shirtwaist dresses.  Seen from above this way they are pale, doomed blossoms, bound to appeal to your sympathies.  Be careful.  Later on you'll have to decide what sympathy they deserve..."


Then on page 9:  I know how people are, with their habits of mind.  Most will sail through from cradle to grave with a conscience clean as snow.  It's easy to point at other men, conveniently dead, starting with the ones who first scooped up mud from riverbanks to catch the scent of a source.  Why, Dr. Livingstone, I presume, wasn't he the rascal!  He and all the profiteers who've since walked out on Africa as a husband quits a wife, leaving her with her naked body curled around the emptied-out mine of her womb.  I know people.  Most have no earthly notion of the price of a snow-white conscience."


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on July 04, 2007, 11:41:52 AM
Exellent posts from Oleanna! And an example of her excellent foreshadowing. Indeed we are, as readers, not of one accord in who to feel the greatest sympathy for.



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on July 05, 2007, 10:29:40 PM
When I read of Nathan's death, all I felt was relief that he was gone and done with. The details seemed rather appropriate for his insistence on in-the-river baptism when there are so many other ways - what was wrong with a big tub?

I thought it was interesting how the title of the book was explained in that last passage on the demise of Nathan - the bible he "wrote" when he had no understanding of the culture or nuances of those for whom he was interpreting The Book.

Would you have been happier if the tribe had chased Nathan into the same river to meet the same demise as the tribe's children?



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on July 05, 2007, 11:02:45 PM
Nytemps...Your comment on Leah takes me to the criticism I have of this book.  I found the story very compelling, and I've commented before on Kingsolver's voicing, but I felt Kingsolver's lack of sublety took something away from the book.  From the very beginning of the book, we were given to understand that this was more than a simple story about a misguided mission, and Kingsolver is clearly very passionate on this issue. At times, her writing seemed to take on a sort of missionary rant.  In fiction writing, it seems more appropriate for the author to use metaphor or symbolism to make a point.  I wondered why Kingsolver chose to write a novel on this topic instead of a history.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on July 05, 2007, 11:06:14 PM
re:  Nathan's death.  It's funny, but I read this book when it was first published in 1990 something.  At some point, I must have re-written Nathan's death.  In the back of my mind, I "remembered" that Orleanna killed him.

Being eaten by a crocodile might have been less contrived, but maybe not symbolic enough for Kingsolver....perhaps she thought that would have been too easy?


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Donotremove on July 06, 2007, 02:37:34 AM
Folks, I'm not going to be worth two cents on the evaluation of PB.  The book grabbed me like a strangle vine and nearly killed me.  I sweated and twisted and was hungry and thirsty for cool water, and Nathan didn't die nearly early enough for me.

Clearly Kingsolver is having "something to say" about "certain" types of missionaries, and all colonists and do-gooders that would occupy a place for the purpose of changing the behavior of the indigenous society, not to mention the appropriation of resources (for profit) by foreign entities.  I have read extensively about such things, and she hardly ever strays onto false ground.  As for hysterics, I don't think one can be too animated about the awfullness that has been visited upon the common people of Africa by their own governments and everyone else in positions of power (economic mercenaries like the World Trade Organization, International Monetary Fund, and World Bank).

The ignorance of the common people about "schemes" is nearly total in most places, and they are easily netted and turned against their own best interests.  Not only Africa, but all over Oceania, Malaysia, huge portions of China (Burma is completely lost,) and the rural areas of South America.  There aren't enough trees to make enough paper to write about all the misery.

Leah bought into the dream of a better Africa, and Rachel landed on her feet, bless her bubble-headed heart, and I'm glad, but Adah is the one that interested me the most.  I'm sure Kingsolver researched the psychological path described in Adah's rebirth as a whole person, standing straight at last, her fine mind educated at last.  I'd not heard of it myself.  I wish Oliver Sacks had addressed something like that.  Oleanna sacrificed herself to guilt.  I'm sure till she died.

PB lies in the middle of me like a stone.  I hope to get over it someday.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on July 06, 2007, 06:35:29 AM
Donot,

Unlike you, I didn't have a favorite among the daughters. I understood Oleanna's guilt, as a mother she was forced twice to choose among her daughers, and although everything eventually came out all right, I agree that she was saddled with guilt that she had even allowed Nathan to transport the family without the adequate support to keep the wolf from their door. I think her greatest guilt was in not marching all four of her daughters out of Africa when the rest of the missionaries pulled up stakes. I don't think she really saw herself as a missionary or felt the great need to change the Africans. She just wanted to live her life and raise her daughters no matter the circumstances.

Rachel was a bubble head, but she also possessed a lot of business sense. She was not lacking in intelligence, it just wasn't her "thing" to express herself in an "educated" manner. Instead, she used her "feminine wiles" to build herself up to where she could act free of those same "wiles".

When I was growing up, as the oldest of a family of six daughters, I remember my mother often telling people that there were no two of us very much alike. This has been born out in our adult lives. I think Oleanna saw, too, that each of her daughters was a unique individual, each worthy women in their own sphere. Adah became a scientist, Leah, a politician, and Rachel a businesswoman. I was crushed by the death of Ruth May, since she held so much promise as a go-between, having learned the culture of the Africans so much more so than the others. Yet, I knew from the beginning of the book that one of them would die, and, as I read, I speculated which it would be and how it would happen. The vindication of "voodoo", such a worthy goal, took  Ruth May's life in an unexpected way. Yet, she had found a spiritual safety in the tall trees with the dangerous snake. I was left wondering if in her last moments, she sought that place of safety she had built up mentally to take her through the times of danger.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on July 06, 2007, 12:05:07 PM
donotremove, re:#152

It may be that Kingsolver has merely written a flawed panoramic Protestant Romance to compete with those other more "The Thornbirds" romances for women in which Richard Chamberlain as the Priest was alway torn about his loyalty to his vocation and the love of a good woman.  Apparently Chamberlain was particularly genetically endowed to be convincing as an actor in this role of how to have a great struggle that is meaningless.

The panoramic vistas of the Poisonwood Bible are easily induced by too many scary movies in childhood, or perhaps some pre-novel-writing research in Joseph Conrad as inspiring reading which can then be rewritten from a feminist viewpoint.

None of this would have come to mind, if not for Bob and Dzimas explaining a new wave of anti-Catholicism on the horizon politically in American History.

I think perhaps you have just discovered why whiskeypriest always remarked how much he hates Barbara Kingsolver's novel.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on July 06, 2007, 12:27:33 PM
Madupont, I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess you haven't read the book....Who knows?  Maybe someday they will make a movie....too bad Chamberlain is too old.

And why does the Whiskeypriest "hate" this book?


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on July 06, 2007, 12:30:42 PM
Donot...I don't know how much research Kingsolver put into her writing on Adah, but my edition of PB has an extensive bibliography on Africa and the Congo.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Donotremove on July 06, 2007, 02:02:50 PM
Don't get me wrong.  Kingsolver is a first rate writer.  I have all of her non fiction on my shelves and anytime she publishes any new non fiction (the latest, "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle") I'm at the bookstore the next day to get my copy.

PB is a first rate book. And I'm sure Kingsolver drew on her experiences with her parents during the time they spent in Africa when she was young.  That she chose to write about Africa in a fiction form tells me that her passion to "show and tell" in a way that would grab you by the throat rather than just inform is because a non fiction accounting can more easily be set aside as one goes on to other things, than a fictional tale--if successful--can be.

I just finished a so-called travel book by Alexander Frater, Tales From The Torrid Zone, where he tells tales of the most shocking and wretched sort, of peoples living in that zone where the sun rises and sets at 6 (with no preamble, I might add.  Just pop, and it's up, then pop, and it's down) showing their astonishing ignorance of things even in today's world, with such a wry tone, you can't help but keep turning the pages.  Frater was born on Iririki, an island in the Vanuatu Republic (a group of islands in the South seas.)  All the while I was reading his book, I was reminded that the conditions Kingsolver wrote of in the PB hadn't changed much at all.  One thing I learned from Frater is that killing twins when they are born goes back into the mists of time.

Now, I'm reading the biography of Gertrude Bell by Georgina Howell and am more than ever convinced we should get out of Iraq whether we can save face or no.  Her time among the Arabs, Turks, and Persians--she was one of the architects of the area of present day Iraq--and what she learned lets me know that we should never meddle in such societies.

But I am keenly interested in what you all have gleaned from PB.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: desdemona222b on July 06, 2007, 02:28:52 PM
I'll speak for whiskey since he is obviously preoccupied with his move right now:  he has never read PB, or any other Kingsolver novel, although he does have intentions.  He has been joking about Kingsolver's name being instant death to any reading forum on the NYT because a PB forum the NYT put up back when PB was first published tanked so badly.   I think it got maybe 9 or 10 comments before the powers that be over there killed it.  He calls it "getting Kinsolvered", a reference to the movie King Pin.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on July 06, 2007, 04:36:43 PM
Colleen McCollugh's book was written about 21 years before Kingsolver's back in '98, which means if she hasn't had her contract option  picked up by now for a movie, then it is unlikely that I would ever see it happen.

I was merely referring to what inspires some people to write dreck. Even if they write it well, they have too much competition for anyone to care how well they did it.  I think that both novels, possibly both first time out attempts, by the way they are described, are genre romances. Their publishers are inclined to  make money that way.

There is the usual announcement in my e-mail today as to which of their authors will be in my area this weekend, mostly Sunday's at book-sellers , and I can't see a single one out of the four with whom I would need to shake hands.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on July 06, 2007, 07:46:03 PM
Mad...PB was Kingsolver's fourth novel....The Bean Trees, Animal Dreams, Pigs in Heaven.  Your catagorization of the book as dreck might carry more weight if you'd read the book...


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: rmdig on July 06, 2007, 08:16:18 PM
FWIW and additionally because I in no way wish to hijack this discussion, which appears to be a pretty good one, I am planning to read Flaubert's Sentimental Education.  It seems to me that I have read this before but as is often the case I have no recollection of it.  The pubilsher's introduction, however, has led me to believe that this is the Flaubert novel to read and so I plan to do just that.

I recently read Sartre's Anti-Semite and Jew, which was quite well argued if at times somewhat dated.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Donotremove on July 07, 2007, 02:11:20 AM
PB is not in any way shape or form a "romance" genre candidate.  It beongs in mainstream, universal fiction of the best quality.

Nytempsperdu, I hadn't thought of it but I believe you are right in saying that Leah is the most like Kingsolver of all the characters.  But her education wandered a bit until she settled on biology ( a masters, I believe) as did Adah's.  Ah, twins.  A bit of this and a bit of that.

Yes, Oleanna should have packed up her daughters and gone home when all the rest (except the Fowlers, of course) went home.  But Oleanna was of the last generation that (mostly) quietly followed their husbands no matter how awful it turned out.  And, mostly, society backed the women up on this, frowning on women who "quit."  Right wingers, today, want to continue to impose the acting out of such behavior on all women.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on July 07, 2007, 04:04:52 AM
nytempsperdu   re:#162

"How about the tie-in to what Leah and Anatole were attempting in Angola and what Kingsolver & family attempted in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle? "

I noticed that; this line of thought running through her creations.

On the other hand, I have watched a movie.  Has anyone here seen:

Apocolypto ?  I bring it up because it may be the otherside of Kingsolver's story about bringing whatever it is to primitives. Maybe, I should have taken this to American History but thantopsy is deep into Theatre(The Shakespeare Riots). I know he'd appreciate that ending because we were talking about this recently; who is it that arrives unknown on the shore where the principals speak Taino.

Mel Gibson sure got a bum rap.  He did produce his epic poem about a civilization (if you could call it that? quite weird,albeit astronomical) that apparently had produced one that nobody has yet been able to understand or fully translate. Several of my friends have been fascinated by it, but it is just too hideous; and Gibson comes closer to bringin it more clearly home to us that this kind of energy system, this system of values exists in reality, and we are it.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: antigone42 on July 07, 2007, 04:40:37 AM
Finally I found you all!. I hadn't been back to NYT books forums in a while, and was saddened to find it in it's current state. Is there a book for July being discussed?
(I am formerly lmdorn)


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: antigone42 on July 07, 2007, 04:54:01 AM
Someone mentioned reading Proust. I would be very interested in joining them. I cannot recall which is the first volume. Is it Swann's Way??


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Donotremove on July 07, 2007, 12:00:52 PM
Antigone, welcome.  Some of us have read The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver and we are discussing it now.  The fiction site is open at all times to suggestions for books to read and discuss--whatever catches fire.  This Kingsolver book is a leftover from the old NYT discussion group.

So, suggest at will.  Try to cite a title, not just "Proust".


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Donotremove on July 07, 2007, 12:15:40 PM
And Nathan.  I keep forgetting that he was "sweet Nathan" when Oleanna married him.  His war trauma, being the only survivor, none of which was because of a fault of his own, left him crippled in mind, which deepened and grew worse with time. Were any of these men treated?  How many came home secret monsters, revealed as such only to close friends and/or family.  What were/are the ripples through the baby boomer generation from such men?  How should we feel about them?  What should/can we do?  Many times I would have gladly shot Nathan dead.  To the relief of Oleanna's and the girls' misery, his own misery, the native's misery, and mine.  How I pined for a well-aimed poison arrow to the neck by a mentally abused native.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on July 07, 2007, 05:42:40 PM
Donot,

With the fact that Kingsolver is a historical writer as well as fiction, I suspect she did the research to provide the story for Adah's recovery. I would have liked her to go into it more, to show the stuggle that Adah probably went through, especially when she was tired or disheartened, as when they couldn't find Ruth May's grave, that she may have lapsed into her old way of walking and being slow. You may be right about the gain/loss of the recovery and the loss of the dark poetic nature. She no longer needed to peer through the darkness, so no longer heard the muse.

As this is the first Kingsolver book I've read, I cannot comment on whether Leah seems close to her own feelings or life. I was disappointed that Leah and Anatole went back to Africa after getting their college educations. I thought they would remain. It seems they did not do much with their education on their return, but perhaps I missed such points.



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on July 07, 2007, 05:48:44 PM
Quote
And Nathan.  I keep forgetting that he was "sweet Nathan"

This is what I was referring to in Kingsolver's lack of subtlety in PB.  She wanted to write a polemic on colonialism and to write Nathan as its embodiment.  In doing so, she had to make Nathan one-dimensional, strip away his humanity and take away his voice.  

It is interesting to see how Kingsolver pulled this off.  In the natural order of things, we would have sympathy for Nathan.  He went off to war and probably saw himself returning as a hero; instead he comes back full of self-loathing and shame.  He sees himself as cowardly, worthless even in the sight of his God.

Another interesting twist is the spin Kingsolver puts on the idea of happiness.  Rachel is no one's favorite character.  Kingsolver creates her shallow, self-centered, bigoted.  But Rachel has the ability to drop and  roll with the punches.  At the end of PB, she refuses to take on anyone's guilt, even her own.  You want her to get her own comeuppance, but in the end, Rachel seems far happier than her sisters or her mother.

  



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on July 08, 2007, 08:55:19 PM
I tend to agree that Rachel had more on the ball than one gets from the first reading. The more I think about her, the more she seems like a solid surviver. She used sex/marriage only until she got to a comfortable place, and then let it go by. She was not into being a wife or a sex partner. She wanted to be her own person.

I was disappointed when she would not let Leah and Anatole stay at her hotel, but having lived in the south for some forty years, I have met other people who are and remain as firm on their prejudice no matter how much the times change, as long as they have even an inch of ground to stand on.

And, yes, you are right about the bonding between the twins to the exclusion of Rachel. Sometimes sisters are that close who are not twins, and can exclude other sisters. When my sisters and I got together to bury our mother, which was somewhat similar to the search for Ruth May's grave without the frustration, there was a point when the five of us were riding in the car visiting old haunts, and the two youngest were rolling their eyes about the ecstacy us older ones were enjoying over seeing how small and insiginificant some landmarks really were (There are actually six of us, but Edith was too ill to make the trip accorss the continent.)

The story brought up so many special feelings about my own sisters, and that made the book special to me.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on July 09, 2007, 03:36:20 PM
Okay, so I decided that anybody who could get the message from Doris Lessing, in 1975 when Kingsolver was  20, and who studied with Prose, is not without merit. (I'm wondering if Francine reviewed her book?....)

Here's her publisher's Reading Guide:Topics for Discussion:
1. What are the implications of the novel's title phrase, the poisonwood bible, particularly in connection with the main characters' lives and the novel's main themes? How important are the circumstances in which the phrase comes into being?

2. How does Kingsolver differentiate among the Price sisters, particularly in terms of their voices? What does each sister reveal about herself and the other three, their relationships, their mother and father, and their lives in Africa? What is the effect of our learning about events and people through the sisters' eyes

3. What is the significance of the Kikongo word nommo and its attendant concepts of being and naming? Are there Christian parallels to the constellation of meanings and beliefs attached to nommo? How do the Price daughters' Christian names and their acquired Kikongo names reflect their personalities and behavior?

4. The sisters refer repeatedly to balance (and, by implication, imbalance). What kinds of balance--including historical, political, and social--emerge as important? Are individual characters associated with specific kinds of balance or imbalance? Do any of the sisters have a final say on the importance of balance?

5. What do we learn about cultural, social, religious, and other differences between Africa and America? To what degree do Orleanna and her daughters come to an understanding of those differences? Do you agree with what you take to be Kingsolver's message concerning such differences?

6. Why do you suppose that Reverend Nathan Price is not given a voice of his own? Do we learn from his wife and daughters enough information to formulate an adequate explanation for his beliefs and behavior? Does such an explanation matter?

7. What differences and similarities are there among Nathan Price's relationship with his family, Tata Ndu's relationship with his people, and the relationship of the Belgian and American authorities with the Congo? Are the novel's political details--both imagined and historical--appropriate?

8. How does Kingsolver present the double themes of captivity and freedom and of love and betrayal? What kinds of captivity and freedom does she explore? What kinds of love and betrayal? What are the causes and consequences of each kind of captivity, freedom, love, and betrayal?

9. At Bikoki Station, in 1965, Leah reflects, "I still know what justice is." Does she? What concept of justice does each member of the Price family and other characters (Anatole, for example) hold? Do you have a sense, by the novel's end, that any true justice has occurred

10. In Book Six, Adah proclaims, "This is the story I believe in . . ." What is that story? Do Rachel and Leah also have stories in which they believe? How would you characterize the philosophies of life at which Adah, Leah, and Rachel arrive? What story do you believe in?

11. At the novel's end, the carved-animal woman in the African market is sure that "There has never been any village on the road past Bulungu," that "There is no such village" as Kilanga. What do you make of this?


I'd love to know.  Anybody, who considered one,some, or all of the publisher's points, in the course of reading the B.K. novel, like to comment on their thoughts on the subject?


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on July 09, 2007, 03:47:01 PM
caclark   re: was it,#174 ?

I think that what happened was Kingsolver, having gone into Journalism, as a practising journalist, got in the habit of that format without even realizing that it made her less objective about her own "fictional constructions"; fiction as a literary genre by comparison to the rules of journalists.   

In either  case, both present their own difficulties which you realize when you set out to do it.



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on July 09, 2007, 05:43:19 PM
"Imagine a ruin..." 

Impressive observation.  The sense of doing and undoing is extended into the first paragraph as the forest springs to life causing its own destruction/giving itself life.  It is and it isn't.  And Adah, with her forward/backward way of viewing the world, is and isn't.  Is done and is undone in the jaws of the lion.  Is hemiplegic/nothemiplegic...The Congolese name her for her crooked walk and when she begins to walk upright, that identity is undone. 

And it is Adah who is the most ambivalent about the Congo.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on July 09, 2007, 08:21:41 PM
"Orleanna" could be related to the Hebrew "Orli" which means "light is mine.  It isn't biblical. 

To me, the name was suggestive of a large flower that thrives in the climate of the South, more fragile in appearance than in reality.  Perhaps there is even the idea that she/it doesn't transplant well, which is soundly disproved upon removal to a harsher climate.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on July 09, 2007, 08:35:00 PM
One interesting aspect of Kingsolver's voicing in PB is her distinctive use of language for each character.  Ruth May speaks like a child, often misunderstanding and misrepeating phrases.  Rachel uses malaprops.  Adah uses wordplay and palindromes.  Leah learns to speak Congolese as well as French.  Methuselah curses.  And, to the Congolese, the most offensive misuse of language is to be found in the reverend's sermons and his insistance that "Tata Jesus is bangala"...poisonwood.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on July 09, 2007, 09:59:08 PM
http://tinyurl.com/2n9trx  No Ice Cream Cones In a Heart of Darkness
By MICHIKO KAKUTANI
Published: October 16, 1998

http://tinyurl.com/3x8as9  Going Native
By VERLYN KLINKENBORG
Published: October 18, 1998

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobutu_Sese_Seko

 By, Mobutu's Belgian son-in-law, Pierre Janssen, À la cour de Mobutu. Michel Lafon. ISBN 2-84098-332-X

"A year before the Congo's independence he had been head-hunted by the director of the CIA in the country. Two years later he was given the US Legion of Merit by President Kennedy. Then he met George Bush, just before Bush became the head of the CIA and agreed to make Zaire the headquarters for all CIA operations in central Africa.
Mobutu was hooked and absorbed huge quantities of CIA money in return for his services. The Americans used him as an intermediary in channelling money to Jonas Savimbi's UNITA in Angola.

A former head of the CIA in Zaire told Janssen that nearly $25m was sent through Kinshasa to the UNITA rebels. Mobutu made sure to take his cut."


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on July 09, 2007, 10:06:13 PM

I love this quote best, which Klinkenborg uses for his review:

"The Congolese are not savages who need saving, the Price women find, and there is nothing passive in their tolerance of missionaries. They take the Americans' message literally -- elections are good, Jesus too -- and expose its contradictions by holding an election in church to decide whether or not Jesus shall be the personal god of Kilanga. Jesus loses. "


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on July 09, 2007, 10:19:38 PM
Reader 5232, re"#181

"The last name is certainly self evident".  I noticed immediately that Kingsolver resolves character names as Charles Dickens did.   I have many times gone, "Drats!" because often people have names so appropo to their character that when you want to fictionalize a story that involves them, you are at a loss when their original real names are so much better than anything you can think up and of course you have to think up something as you can't go around publishing their real-names.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on July 10, 2007, 01:43:56 AM
I am not a great consumer of fiction, and the Posionwood Biblee was a departure from my usual reading, but I felt it was a good read and woth my time. I am not interested in figuring out how she chose the name of the daughers and mother, but am more concerned with how she differetiated the voices of each in accordance with their ages and personalities That is what impressed me.

I am not one who reads deeply into a work of fiction - I like it and it sticks with me,or it doesn't. I have always found that too much introspection of a fiction book is just a means of folks to gild the lily, or take the sap our of it's fragile beauty.

I like Poisonwood Bible because whe preseted real and believable female characters and put the male characters a bit behind the scene, perhspa stereotyped in their actions. She is a writer of wome's deep philosophical interpretations and actions, unique in that they are sisters who are close in childhoos and branch out as intivituals as adults. She does not present her women as stereotypes, and for that she goes up a notch in my thinking.



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on July 10, 2007, 01:55:12 AM
I  have had just two thoughts about Orleanna,the name, because Kingsolver "Implies" when she gives a person a name.

First I thought of Janet Fitch's, White Oleander, which is about the poisonous relationship of Mother/Daughter, but that came out a year after Kingsolver's family saga.

Second, David Mamet's play, in 1992, Oleanna, about the difference of opinion between a  young woman and a man who is an educator and the issue is whether or not he molested her and whose word counts?

So it really depends whether Kingsolver implies that the Reverend missionary molested his wife Orleanna into this role of taking to the jungle after bearing all those kids.  What were those words again, in which one of the reviews, where she looks back on her marriage as ....?

If Kingsolver saw this play -- it seems to me it actually showed up on tv, and heard the tension in it that I heard, she might have found it strangely attractive as more than a thought to describe some kinds of relationships between women and men that are so distressful that there is no communication other than complete misunderstanding of what is being said either way.

In this particular case, it is written by a man, so you might say, he had the last word.

Even if you opt for, well he only sexually harrassed her; did Orleanna's husband harrass her into going to the Congo?

The harrassment that I have in mind is like the harrassment of:" we shall go down to the water and have the baptism...".

Which of course is why I did not opt to read what I had been told was there and knew was there.

I may be able to watch Apocolypto after telling myself it is only a movie(knowing historically this is a matter of fact) but in no way is this like sitting on an airliner and pretending I am not flying.

Other than that, I will keep looking around to spot Orleanna somewhere in the oleander bushes before she kills her lover in an injudicious moment thus leaving her daughter behind while having to do time. This obviously was something Kingsolver's Orleanna was not about to do, leave the kids behind, either way; or I can stand outside the building on campus and look at my watch to see what time Oleanna goes into the professor's office and what time she comes out again, after which he will say it was all a misunderstanding.  Because I've never run into that name, Orleanna, before now.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Donotremove on July 10, 2007, 07:14:40 AM
Oh wonderful joy.  All of you have such interesting takes on this book (PB).  I'm having a much better time reading your comments than I did reading the book.  A note: In an interview Kingsolver did that I read while Googling, Kingsolver said, "It's true that I want to change the world."


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on July 10, 2007, 03:29:24 PM
"Imagine a ruin so strange it must never have happened." and  'it must never have happened' and I start thinking about the course of the family and its curiously non-visual dissolution.'  Reader5232 re:#177

but this may be what I had in mind "What were those words again, in which one of the reviews, where she looks back on her marriage as ....?"



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on July 10, 2007, 06:11:02 PM
Reader5232, re: #193

"The children are portrayed initially as blossoms (paragraph 2).  They are the four 'pale, doomed blossoms' bound to appeal to our sympathies." 

Yes, of course they are, surrounded as they are by Congo Negre.   I have too many years of conditioning to feel overly much about that, because when I sat down with a young person going off to college in 1959, or rather had gone off to a totally white environment to study psychology,I pointed out Fanon and the fact that psychology is cultural (Black Faces, White Masks).  There is obviously reason to be more concerned about the indigenous people who are the majority and live with these conditions forever.


Whereas, re:#192 "The jungle is life, but it is death too.  The jungle is both these things combined and ever combining."
"life and death [interwoven]within the context of the jungle"

And in #194,"Many of the verbs are peculiar to motion (or combat), yet they appear in the description of a setting one might justifiably expect to be far more quiescent.

Believe it or not, Mel Gibson cinematically made this epically experience, in: Apocolypto
Often by making how clear, absolutely an act causes a reaction to rebalance because it is the Law of Nature. When his people, who refer to the forest as their forest(meaning belonging to their tribe, and which may look more of a jungle to you, as they know what everything is used for)  are first seen by you, they are hunting in a group whom you soon realize are ranked socially by their age and experience and directed by the eldest; and, when they chase and hunt and trap a tapir, you notice the trap springs and throws off a length of humerous bone, from the pelvic socket of a large animal, that was used as just part of the material suitable for the device, functionally, and the net drops, but it is not until later when they dislodge the animal from the impaling device that you begin to see how it actually works.  Needless to say, the functionability of recycled bone, that allows them to kill a large dangerous animal that will provide them with food, lets you know (as the outsider) where you are immediately!

You are now involved with a family group, when they encounter strangers who are very bedraggled and on the move, the procedure of interaction to ascertain  (who is there?), becomes "What do you want?, then silence, then again a very firm,"What do you want?". As this other group passes onward, the elder strongly tells his son, what you have just seen is "Fear", "Do not allow Fear in or allow it to take over you".  Nevertheless, this encounter brings on nightmares typical of anywhere in the world where the gruesome remains in our psyche; and they are foretelling prophetic nightmares.

The family of tribesmen in their turn are trapped like animals, enslaved to be transported, and like the tapir to be killed to feed "pure energy" so that the eclipse of the Sun moves off until it eventually will threaten darkness about five years from now in accord with the Mayan calender when the alignment of two different axials conjoin to tilt the earth off course. Even those who survive by a coincidence of timing are not free to go but must play the game which as we know was played in a ball-court by athlete-warriors as contenders. Like Children's games, the winner is he who can manage to run away and escape  while being the running target, and stay ahead of the pack of hunters in pursuit because he got away from their first volleys. He has to pit all his "forest" skills against their pursuit, and in every case success depends on the fact that it is "his forest" in which he has grown up his entire life, not threatening anybody else.

By analogy, the little family of pale blossoming missionaries has little likelihood of survival in the test to make inroads; but, I understand that they persist with another generation,etc.  during some of the most startling periods of Africa's history. 

Gibson's forest dwellers in the Peninsula of Central America survive the test of, well, Survival and do it with additional new life. Yet, on a peaceful morning, they look out from under the shadow of the trees toward the water and see strange large winged butterflies bobbing upon the water while a small  open vessel of men standing in armor moves toward them across the water. The hero's wife asks, Shall we let them know we are here?.  He says the equivalent of: Of course not, silly, we will go into our forest.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on July 11, 2007, 12:47:22 PM
Did you mean to say your Latin verbs aren't ovulating?

We have too many eggs for our baskets in either case,wrestling with Ovid or running out of the jungle.(excuse me, "forest"). Now, I'm wondering when ever did the concept "jungle" fall into disrepute, to discribe a tropical forest?


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on July 11, 2007, 03:24:16 PM
Could it have been when jungle came to mean an urban setting full of action, sound and fury, instead of a quiet, peaceful forest where the sounds are at a lower pitch and the movement at a slower pace except when the predator make music pursuing the prey. Even Monk remind us that "it's a jungle out there!"
And he isn't talking about a multi-tiered forest or green!


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Donotremove on July 11, 2007, 03:50:58 PM
Weezo, the lyric line, "it's a jungle out there" is from the theme song, written by Randy Newman, for the television series "Monk."


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on July 11, 2007, 04:19:34 PM
You mean like when they had "Guerilla Theatre" in Manhattan and other boroughs?

I had a friend who was then in the "tropical rain-forest" in the late Sixties before Commandante Marco came in to organize the Mayans who were getting wiped out by Negroponte' s US educated militia.  The villagers, who had taken excellent care of her, told her "el brujo" was coming and that she ought to go. So she did.  She then wanted to talk with me about the feasibility of going into India during the Seventies. Less jungle, more population.

Or, rather, the kind of jungle you have suggested. One of her first questions when she got back for a visit, I happened to be sitting cross-legged at a little bamboo tray on legs, breakfast-tray sort of thing, in my backyard because, the first time that I looked at that thing, I knew that with the cup-holder and everything built right in, it was a perfect thing for an outdoor desk while sitting around in one of those Swedish bathing suits, taking notes from Joseph Needham's encyclopedia of the Sciences in China --when she looked at me very curiously, stared at me as if she were trying to see my eyes behind the dark octagonal framed sun-glasses that I was wearing, and Elfriede said: "That's what I need."

"What?" I responded. (a black bathing suit with built in cups because it was a backless number?)

"Those shades", she said, in her odd little Austrian accent, I mean, you  have to picture somebody who is the female equivalent of an Arnold  Schwartznegger, paired down for all purposes of femininity,"You can't imagine what it is like walking all those miles [approximately twenty] on the roads between ashrams with all these faces coming at you without let up and making direct eye-contact with you because...", well she didn't have to say it, because she was different than the other Europeans they were used to, in the first place, she remained a fair-skinned five foot seven Westerner with strawberry blond hair down to her waist until I told her to oil it, braid it and wind it up like the Hindu women when she complained of split ends. I hate to think of spending all that time in the hot sun, not exactly sight-seeing but, it nevertheless causes significant eye damage.

Ps. I think Monk's, "jungle out there!" possibly refers to us, considering how mastermindfully he negotiates discomforts to solve  crimes. I'm a fan of Tony Shalub. Did you ever see the one where John Turturro plays his agoraphobic brother?


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on July 11, 2007, 04:21:02 PM
Hi! donotremove, I picked up your vibe.  We got rained out yesterday; thought we would blow away.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on July 11, 2007, 04:23:26 PM
I think "jungle" is an older word than the combination of "tropical" and "forest."  "Tropical forest" (with the "rain" dropped" seems to have recently come into use as a synomyn for "jungle.  But, it is really not possible to make the argument that a jungle is anything but violent, as anyone who has ever witnessed to male lions or elephants inadvertantly crossing paths....or as Ruth May's family found to their complete dismay.  


Jungle:

1776, from Hindi jangal "desert, forest, wasteland, uncultivated ground," from Skt. jangala-s "arid, sparsely grown with trees," of unknown origin. Specific sense of "land overgrown by vegetation in a wild, tangled mass" is first recorded 1849; meaning "place notoriously lawless and violent" is first recorded 1906, from Upton Sinclair's novel (cf. asphalt jungle, 1949; blackboard jungle, 1954). (dictionary.com)


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on July 11, 2007, 04:28:49 PM
Lions live on the veldt.   So do elephants prefer; but they do instinctually use paths by memory long after overgrown by jungle where jungle was not growing there before.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on July 11, 2007, 04:32:08 PM
True....African lions do not live in the jungle.  But Indian lions live in the Gir forest.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on July 11, 2007, 04:47:57 PM
That's that good old,"In nova fert animus mutatus dicere formas corpora" again. In the Gujarati speaking "raj". 

I have to run up Random House for some large print and compare the price,as I just phoned my local bookstore where they don't have in what I need, before I decide whether to proceed with fiction that ought to be on line by now, wouldn't you think?


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on July 11, 2007, 05:17:29 PM
I believe Indian (Asiatic) elephants prefer to live in forests.  The problem there is that much of the forest has been cleared, displacing the elephant population.  But I'm not sure whether the Indian forests are jungles per se.  There is a visitor's lodge on the Gir Forest Reserve called the "Gir Jungle Lodge"....perhaps a nod to orientalism?


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on July 11, 2007, 05:47:45 PM
Intereting the juncture of jungle and forest. Let me add "woods". In the book "Into the American Woods" which is a story of the coming together (and often clashing) of the Native and the European cultures in Pennsylvania, the author, James H. Merrill, explains his choice of the word "woods" in the title as meaning a wild and untamed, somewhat fearful place. He described the "Edge of the Woods" ceremony which was performed for a traveler who had come through the woods to a Native Village, and the ceremony clear the eyes and ears of the problems, stresses and fears encountered in the "woods" so that they can peacefully take in the messages and conduct the business for which they came.

Yes, Maddie, I did see an episode of Monk with his brother and it was quite interesting. I watched a lot of Monk when I first discovered it, then lost interest in it. When one has OCB's of their own, it is sometimes painful to watch someone else's OCB's.

Maddie, I had an interesting day trying to send a fax to someone in South Africa from the town closest to me. The town has a number of stop lights, the bank has two branches, and I thought the town was pretty sophisticated. I had expected my father-in-law to be able to handle it from the shop, or, at worst the bank could do it for me, either have international capabilities. So I went to an office services place and the woman energetically took it on as her challenge for the day, and learned how to send an international fax, and, after I'd read much of the paper, announced it had been received! I have been emailing a correspondent in SA for months, but had no idea it would be so difficult to send her a fax. I asked at the bank if they would be able to set up an account for me to receive royalties on my books through, and they can take wire transfer, but I think I will have to have my account at a bigger bank for them to be able to use electronic transfers of funds.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on July 12, 2007, 01:27:22 AM
nytempsperdu, re:#211

"...Big Night, aka "Waiting for Louis Prima..." That had to be one of my favourite movies, as I'd just previously thrown myself into a fit of Northern Italian cooking to match the stress shown in that film. I'd made an exhaustive experimentation of just about every recipe by a Lynn Rosetta Kaspar (or, Lynn Rosetto Kaspar) who specialized in the cucina ala Emilia Romagna.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on July 12, 2007, 01:21:49 PM
Adah's ambivalence about Africa and life in general is represented quite cleverly in Adah's fascination with palindromes and hearing words both backwards and forwards.   Her words seem to teach her that backwards or forwards, the truth will out. 

In Exodus, Kingsolver has Adah say, ""The arrogance of the able-bodied is staggering.  We would rather be just like us, and have that be all right."  In the end, Adah is healed...."normal"...perhaps Kingsolver meant her healing as symbolic of her ambivalence.

Adah is truly interesting...I wonder what Dr. Sachs  (The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat) would make of her, with her compulsion to manipulate meaning and the one-eighty her physical form took.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on July 12, 2007, 11:01:36 PM
Reader 5232,re:#516 Thanks for this number, as you brought something back to mind that had been bugging me and this time I caught as one occasionally can do with gnats.  It has to do with their family name. Which I think is another example of the Kingsolver intentionality.

"A woman who is a ruby beyond Price."


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on July 13, 2007, 11:31:51 AM
There is no Adah mentioned in the Pentateuch and Haftorahs.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on July 13, 2007, 01:08:48 PM
Adah...see Genesis 4:19-20,  "Lamech took two wives; the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah. Adah bore Jabal; he was the ancestor of those who live in tents and ahve livestock.


Genesis 4:23-24:
"Lamech said to his wives: 'Adah and Zillah, hear my voice; you wives of Lamech, listen to what I say: I have killed a man for wounding me. If Cain is avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy-sevenfold."

See also Genesis 36:2-4:
Esau took his wives from the Canaanites: Adah daughter of Elon the Hittite, Oholibamah daughter of Anah son of Zibeon the Hivite, and Basemath, Ishmael's daughter, sister of Nebaioth. Adah bore Eliphaz to Esau; Basemath bore Reuel."


Genesis 36:10-12:
"These are the names of Esau's sons: Eliphaz son of Adah the wife of Esau; Reuel, the son of Esau's wife Basemath. The sons of Eliphaz were Teman, Omar, Zepho, Gatam, and Kenaz. (Timna was a concubine of Eliphaz, Esau's son; she bore Amalek to Eliphaz.) These were the sons of Adah, Esau's wife."


Genesis 36:16:
"Korah, Gatam, and Amalek; these are the clans of Eliphaz in the land of Edom; they are the sons of Adah."








Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on July 13, 2007, 01:24:55 PM
I'm guessing the relationship is more important than the meaning of the names.  In the Pentateuch, Esau was married to Adah.  His brother, Jacob was married to Leah and Rachel.

The Hebrew meaning of Adah is "adornment."  Doesn't seem to make sense in the context of PB.  (Although Kingsolver's Rachal may have taken great pleasure in knowing that Jacob only married Leah because he was tricked into it, and that Rachel was actually his favored wife.)

Leah is a Hebrew name meaning "weary."
Rachel means "ewe."


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on July 13, 2007, 01:40:25 PM
Madupont may be technically correct in her statement that there is no Adah in the Pentateuch or Haftorah.  I believe that there were no vowels in Ancient Hebrew.  The translators had to guess about quite a lot because the Hebrew of the Bible was nowhere to be found when they were working these things out.  They did so by using modern pronounciations and usage.  This is one of the great jokes Spinoza had at the expense of those who kicked him out of fellowship with his Jewish Community. 


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on July 13, 2007, 02:59:26 PM
I fail to see any connection between the bible and the names of the Price girls. If Kingsolver had a purpos in the names, it is not easily divined. Leah certainly did not become an "ornament", or did she? Was she Anatole's "tropy wife", the white spot that showed he had achieved what white folks think is what black men really want to have? Hmmmmm. Maybe, combining the thoughts of the American South with the Bible is what is needed??? Rachel, as a ewe does not make sense. She did not bear children, and could not. She did not continue with her courtship of men after she achieved her piece of the earth. Her "wool", in the example of her providing entertainment to the wealthy visiting the safari country, does not convey that sturdy, useful fiber.

I am still confused by the term Adah as it related to the laws or customs of Islam. I do not see how she could be compared to a law or custom. She was not the bearer of children, and her scientific accomplishments were not lauded in the novel.

Perhaps Kingsolver just tossed out a puzzle with no solution in her choice of names.



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on July 13, 2007, 03:43:22 PM
As I said above, I think the names have more to do with relationships than with meaning.  Kingsolver wanted to relate the names of the Price girls to names in the Bible.  Leah, Rachel and Adah were sisters-in-law in the Genesis account as found in the Bible.  Leah, Rachel and Adah are sisters in Kingsolver's account in The Poisonwood Bible. 

Clearly, Kingsolver means us to find parallels between the Bible, the Apocrypha and The Poisionwood Bible, otherwise, why title the sections Genesis, The Revelation, The Judges, Bel and the Serpent, Exodus, and the Song of Three Children? 

And now I am reminded that I need to read over Bel and the Serpent and the Song of Three Children.
 



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on July 13, 2007, 03:53:39 PM
As to Ruth, there are  parallels between Kingsolover's Ruth May and the Biblical Ruth.  Ruth is a Moabite woman who leaves the country of her birth and dies in country that is foreign to her in every way...geographically, socially, religiously.

The interesting thing about name in PB, is that Orleanna is the only name not associated with the Bible.  Nathan was a prophet under King David.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on July 13, 2007, 05:56:18 PM
Oh, that's why I didn't find Adah in the index; and why I was going to offer my next suggestion (but we can get to that in a minute or two or more,after I read all  that genealogy).

19.And Lamech took unto him two wives;the name of the one was Adah,and  the name of the other Zillah.   20.And Adah bore Jabal; he was the father of such as dwell in tents and have cattle.

Here are the notes of the British Rabbinate on these verses. 19." two wives. This is especially mentioned, as it was a departure from the ideal expounded in II,24."     20."father,i.e.,the first, the originator of pastoral life. Abel had been the keeper of sheep(v.2); but Jabal widened the class of animals which could  be domesticated.



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on July 13, 2007, 06:12:15 PM
I had a thought, at the idea of someone being the "father" of animal husbandry. As I read the Farfarer, it was brought out that the Brits/Scotts who may have made the first non-Native settlement in the Americas, were "crofters", that is they practiced husbandry of sheep and cattle. I wonder how the herding of certain animals came to be? It was of interest, as I studied the history of American Natives, that it is possible that the European diseases that wreaked so much havoc on these shores, may have been due to the husbandry practices of Europeans, whereas the Americans had domesticated only the dog and otherwise did not attempt to herd animals either for food or other products.

I wonder why?



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on July 13, 2007, 06:31:47 PM
Genesis 4:23-24:
"Lamech said to his wives: 'Adah and Zillah, hear my voice; you wives of Lamech, listen to what I say: I have killed a man for wounding me. If Cain is avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy-sevenfold."

23. And Lamech said unto his wives: Adah and Zillah, hear my voice; Ye wives of Lamech,hearken unto my speech; For I have slain a man for wounding me. And a young man for bruising me;
24. If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold,Truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold.

This is a triumphal song on the invention of the weapons mentioned in the preceding verse.(22.) Lamech possibly committed an act of involuntary homicide on some young person. He turns to his wives and says boastfully,'See! I have taken a man;s life, though he only inflicted a bruise on me. Should the necessity arise, I feel able to lay low any assailant that crosses my path. If Cain, though unarmed, was promised a sevenfold vengeance on a foe, I, equipped with the weapons invented by Tubal-Cain, will be able to exact a vengeance very much greater!" This heathen song marks the growth of the spirit of Cain.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on July 13, 2007, 06:33:07 PM
I'm going to make a smart-a.. comment, so take it with a grain of salt.
"Lost tribes?"


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on July 13, 2007, 06:58:25 PM
Continuance of reply to #224:

See also Genesis 36:2-4:
Esau took his wives from the Canaanites: Adah daughter of Elon the Hittite, Oholibamah daughter of Anah son of Zibeon the Hivite, and Basemath, Ishmael's daughter, sister of Nebaioth. Adah bore Eliphaz to Esau; Basemath bore Reuel."

"2. Esau took. More accurately,'had taken' his wives from the daughters of Canaan. On the names of Esau's wives, see on xxvi,34."

I'm not getting an alignment here  for  34:26  but possibly XXVI:34

It is not found again in the Bible, but is the name of the heroine of one of the books of the Apocrypha, which is Judith.
(ah, I know her well;or, pretty well)

Here us the chapter and verse 34: "And when Esau was forty years old, he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Basemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite."

(the next verse (35) tells you:"And they were a bitterness of spirit unto Isaac and to Rebekah.")


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on July 13, 2007, 07:14:19 PM
Seeing how this Is Friday, we've ventured into some new territory here, as long as we make camp before Sundown and moon-rise.--

Genesis 36:10-12:
"These are the names of Esau's sons: Eliphaz son of Adah the wife of Esau; Reuel, the son of Esau's wife Basemath. The sons of Eliphaz were Teman, Omar, Zepho, Gatam, and Kenaz. (Timna was a concubine of Eliphaz, Esau's son; she bore Amalek to Eliphaz.) These were the sons of Adah, Esau's wife."

Well, this  has the verse that explains the name of my friend, Omar Stoltzfus, may he be in good health.

10.Eliphaz. In Rabbinic legend he is the worthiest of Esau's descendents; he was trained to pious living under the eyes of Isaac;the Lord had even endowed him with the spirit of prophecy for he was none other than Eliphaz the friend of Job.

And once again I have lost my place trying to ascertain a foot note.... which has something to do with Amalek?


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on July 13, 2007, 07:30:31 PM
Genesis 36:16:
"Korah, Gatam, and Amalek; these are the clans of Eliphaz in the land of Edom; they are the sons of Adah."

The only difference that I find in the verse is that they are referred to as: the chief of each individual named."These are the chiefs that came of Eliphaz in the land of Edom. These are the sons of Adah.

Somewhere in all my improbable saved from the archives of Wildau who was in the seminary at some point, despite the arguments of Isabel of Manchester, there are maps, maps, maps, if I can find them for Edom and the Edomites. But, I think we will find that adah is indeed a law that "Muslims"adhered to before the arrival of Mohammed.

Kingsolver either begins to be familiarized with this or rather her heroine Orleanna is from encounters with the Swahili speaking  tribes in Congo, or Kingsolver through Orleanna is displaying some fancy footwork Bible study where ever she happened to live in the US; perhaps familiarity with mission groups who went into the Congo.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on July 13, 2007, 07:37:11 PM
Reader5232  Reply #218

Think of it as the two-book contract. After a best-seller, you owe one.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on July 13, 2007, 07:45:37 PM
Lhoffman re:#225
"The Hebrew meaning of Adah is "adornment."  Doesn't seem to make sense in the context of PB."
 

Think of it as the adah is an adornment or ornament to the Law. In so far as the children born into the desert where Ishmael's mother flees and thirsts are still keeping the Law but they have "local custom" which is appended to the Law.

I think that Kingsolver refers to the adjustment she has had to make and Adah is that adjustment.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on July 13, 2007, 07:52:42 PM
weezo,re:#228
" Rachel, as a ewe does not make sense. She did not bear children, and could not."

Maybe Lhoffman can help you out with this one, it is in the Hebrew where it is implied that she did not have to bear children because it is said in another verse, "Rachel is my ewe lamb". Signifying that she is more important to the Shepherd, if she would go missing, he would seek after her.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on July 13, 2007, 10:56:12 PM
Well, that's because those were the dates when the senior Bush set up the deal on the Congo.  I couldn't believe he had been such a busy guy while I was going to school. There were a few other countries in other parts of the world as well that he knocked over while he could.  He's just been looking under rocks for oil, which is usually how you find it.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on July 13, 2007, 11:08:37 PM

nytempsperdu:

Read it again, it's a play on words since her husband's name is Price.

"A woman who is a ruby beyond Price."

He obviously did not value her opinions or her presence as he ought have.

I can't imagine there was much conjugal anything going on between them, given the yucky living conditions, a group of mostly alert girls, and his  underevaluation of her as an appropriate wife in his circumstances.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on July 14, 2007, 06:10:39 AM
Interesting take on the Ada(h) law.  It came about because many early cities had formed before they became converted to Islam.  The judicial body will consider applying the Ada law in cases with don't relate to the basic tenets of Islam....usually having to do with civil cases. 

re Judith:  Here's most of what I know about her.  A wonderful painting in my museum.  Artemesia seems to have quite a bit to "say" about Judith's beheading of Holofernes.

(http://cda.morris.umn.edu/~dabbsj/Comparison%20Essay%20Example_files/image004.jpg) Judith and Her Maid Servant


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on July 14, 2007, 06:43:13 PM
Yes, I went to see the Gentileschi paintings at the Metropolitan, about half a year following 9/11.  It was a very small selection but having heard so much about Artemesia  as a fore-runner  for the previous 17 years, I had to see for myself(I have had a lot of friends who are artists).
Secondly, I thought that if I don't go in now and get over the post 9/11 syndrome,I will never be able to make it into the city for anything.

Actually, the paintings (in person?) are not as impressing as  the PR that you've heard about the person. They were shown together with her father's in a couple of not very large rooms.

Fortunately, it is in the part of the Met devoted to European Renaissance Art, so you get a chance to look up some of your old favourites and see how they stack up to your maturity, and they often show up in the most unusual places and with the most unexpected company.   One companion is an absolutely huge -- covering a wall size -- painting (compared to Gentileschi's), that was for its own time, a contemporary dress rendition of Esther approaching the King of Persia. You look at it pondering why? Since who would ever have imagined depicting this important story of an important period of history recalled in the Spring of each year with Hamantaschen --as painting the ruler of the empire by the waters of Babylon  wearing a Renaissance doublet and hosiery?

Esther is of course nearly fainting with anxiety in the standard garb  for ladies of a late Seventeenth to early Eighteenth century Court, her bosom framed in lavish lace extending from the squared neckline to reveal all that corseting can make possible above voluminous skirts in the most expensive fabrics.  She is about to pass out. The Royal Person, crowned with one of those  poufy velvet stand-up berets that rise a little higher to one side, is looking upon her aghast and stepping forward with one foot ahead of the other,extending his arm to get her before she falls and hits her suspended-ringlet hairdoed head on his dais.

In this way, you catch just a glimpse into a past,  by looking back upon it thousands of years later, of an episode in time that was so horrid you might not tell the all of it to the children for the childrens' sake, and simultaneouly realize how inventive was the Faery Tale coming into being in the early modern period of European history by which time the annual feast of Esther became "something for the children".

I have a hunch that Sir Walter Scott drew on more one than one inspiration of his social consciousness when he wrote, Ivanhoe.

This is why you begin to wonder about the relationship of the two paintings, one of Esther, the other of Judith.   I had been taught Judith, at least 36 years earlier by my mentor who wanted me to recognize how I was using the double{repeat}lines in poems that he guessed might mean I had been reading in Hebrew;no,I had been reading in translation but it imprints so that it stays there for you to come out with parallel lines yourself.

At this point after the trip to the upper east side of Manhattan, I decided to ask my niece out at Berkeley, and still in her twenties,what  she derived out of this recurrence, as a European custom following the Renaissance, of beheading the enemy? Certainly there must have been a reason that Artemesia Gentileschi chose this subject matter, this motif; and, I have to suppose that localized urban civil authority, having occurred in Italy  was by now exercising ultimate authority and chose this type of execution to show the epitome of disgrace. She is making some comment on it by use of an ancient Praise song unless she really is saying I am a strong woman also because I have broken with tradition.

http://www.sptimes.ru/index.php?action_id=2&story_id=17479

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holofernes

(there is another reproduction of another version by Gentileschi at this site, with an entirely different emphasis and yet same artist so she is exploring the theme)

I keep a copy of the Klimt,  Judith I , tucked away in my closet to mat and frame, although I used to have just the right place for it in a shady corner of two exterior walls in a second flour bedroom of a farm-house where she was more obviously a haughty Viennese socialite beauty who did as she pleased.

By the way, another way of putting your quote was that adah law applied in pre-Islamic tribal areas (for instance with Holofernes we are talking of Assyria)which had a common familial background following the sometimes referred to "Adamic Law" from even before Father Abraham/Ibrahim with an unbroken line of descent in the Law as well as human family relationships.  Thus if you knew the genealogy, you did not risk encroaching upon the incest laws, the breaking of which caused warfare.  The example was in between about the  first and second link you posted on the Genesis chapters, and is the story of Dinah, whose brothers have to avenge her rape.

But that makes obvious why the Judith story comes up and has to be referred to  after all.  Judith can play this role in history, without blemish,because she is a widow unbetrothed.

Come to think of it, I seem to remember that Artemisia's father,having the benefit of her studio apprenticeship, didn't want her to marry; am I wrong?



             


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on July 14, 2007, 08:02:16 PM
Here are some parallels to Judith, beginning with Deborah "who was a Judge in Israel". She was also able to prophesy (we notice how soon this talent is suppressed, even if poetically sung, and just like that: a female prophetess is now a witch*. Probably why Deborah is described as like a burning torch, fiery,etc.  [asterisk: which is why I brought up Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scot, his novel meant as a romance about the saving of the Jewess of York; I know him also as the member of parliament  who wrote a defense of witches who had continued to be prosecuted and executed for several centuries in the British Isles as well as other parts of Europe,a persecution that spread to the American colonies.]

Deborah sings the praise song of Yael , who is the parallel to Judith, but kills the enemy with a tent-peg and a hammer instead of beheading him.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deborah

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yael

http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=689&letter=J&search=Judges

http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=188&letter=D

So that should be enough, I think, to cover the concept of what we are dealing with and from there you have to apply it to Kingsolver's novel's characteristics in the description of the female characters.  Where did that "instinctual" law come in that was respected by mutual descendents?


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on July 14, 2007, 10:49:40 PM
A bit off-topic here and apologies, but here is Caravaggio's take on Judith:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judith_Beheading_Holofernes_(Caravaggio) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judith_Beheading_Holofernes_(Caravaggio))

Interesting to compare the same topic by Artemisia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:GENTILESCHI_Judith.jpg (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:GENTILESCHI_Judith.jpg)


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on July 15, 2007, 12:25:16 AM
I had never seen that Caravaggio before this. It appears to be the strongest of the three paintings.  I had seen your first Gentileschi at the Metropolitan but not the other in the same exhibit.  In both by Gentileschi there is a determination and involvement in the action,intense, tiring, laborious. While Caravaggio is almost without effort as if by concentration a consumate killer dispatches him. When going through the notes, the attached links earlier, I was reminded that Judith is a Lion in Hebrew, like the Lion of Judah.

In your links, it was a surprise to be reminded of all the variation of the Beatrice Cenci story.

Oh, by the way, that Klimt version of Judith I, which I'd mentioned earlier was completely  solo without the Holofernes that is claimed in those notes. Which means that it was probably another study. What I have is entirely a portrait of a very arrogant (but, never compromised in her good looks, by that fault) upper class Austrian woman. It is a portrait
of a fair skinned woman with blue black upswept hair which shows off her sparkly jeweled collar that is at least four inches high, above her  collar-bone, on her neck. In Klimt's style of painting, you know that it is a decorative neck band but all you see is the sparkle, and not the  jewels,
reflecting light back at the viewer.  Her expression is one of great hauteur and languor who could care less about being at the opera or the theatre.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on July 15, 2007, 02:21:43 PM
Reader5232 re:#249

Zipporah is an example of one of those desert tribes-women whose life is encircled by the adah and therefore she takes Moses in and hides him  when he has fled Egypt after killing the Egyptian; for without that, we would not have that necessary thoughtful upgrade in the Law known as the Mosaic Law.

" the girl wading in the stream played such a part,"   I used to have such an excellent picture around here someplace of a group of Mennonite maedchen wading in a stream more than half-way up to their knees, in order to cool off in this hot summer weather, as they can't go swimming anyplace around where they live, so they have their dresses and aprons pulled up with one hand while keeping the other free to grab the next nearest girl in case they should slip and not catch their footing. They are doing this near one of those covered bridges just above and beyond, which we try to preserve before they are all gone, it is a little reminiscent of that Bridges of Madison County romance  with Meryl Streep as the farm-wife with time to kill, when a photographer comes along. (that's the one where she ends up in the bathtub with Clint Eastwood)

In this situation, the girls all turn and smile for the photographer, some with their free hand partially covering their mouth as if to giggle while impervious to the wet hems of their dresses and that the light summer-fabric clearly shows off their physical attributes. They are not beyond flirtation, and the photographer has kindly not taken his shot  from a compromising angle, so the writer of the book who used this illustration mentions that, since most people in the community do not like strangers taking photographs of them,  the girls then gave him permission by saying that, " It is all right. We figured you wanted a good picture of us."

"Leah is older and must have sex before her younger sister" . Not exactly,it has more to do with the laws of inheritance and the age of the person who will inherit the flocks,etc., their maturity. Since it is the male heir who inherits as a descendent of a grandfather's legacy. A wife who is widowed before she has born children is permitted this precedence. It is an awkward situation from a male point of view, since the younger brother is encouraged to marry his brother's widow as his first wife before taking another. 

But, this situation is more complicated than that. When "Jacob sees Rachel at the well while he is working for her father, falls in love with her,", he tells her who he is.  And being a woman, she goes and tells her father Laban.  (You are going to think this is a soap-opera)   Jacob is the son of Laban's sister Rebekkah. Are you beginning to get the picture? Therefore Jacob is Laban's nephew, and Jacob is Rachel's cousin.
"Leah bears children.  Rachel does not", and this is why Jacob's saying, "Rachel is my ewe-lamb, more precious to me than...."

I think this is where Jacob has entered the land of the Edomites which were mentioned earlier as" the sons of Adah."  They are likewise the descendent of Ishmael, son of Hagar who was banished into the desert when Israel inherited from Abraham/Ibrahim. So although they have the same paternal origins, they lived in the more unfavorable places to herd, where it is common for the well, or wadi, to be carefully guarded. Remember it is Rachel who offers water to Jacob.  If one takes and waters camels from the wadi without the permission of the owner, for instance, one is likely to die at the hands of the tribe that owns the wells. There is only so much water to go around. (although, the dwellers in tents are considered renowned for acceding to the Laws of Hospitality in the desert. We learn that Laban gave his daughters Leah and Rachel in marriage to Jacob. But, not without "price". Seven years is a Hebrew expression liberally translated as, "a long time!".

Ps, it is like the thing with "bangala" which is a mispronunciation or rather inflection on the part of Missionary Price who hasn't the faintest idea why the villagers vote against Jesus. He probably thinks they are stupid heathens anyway. While they are probably saying in after-thought, one auntie to another,"My goodness, do you suppose he doesn't speak our language very well?"   Just a thought.  I see these things as how they might look in some anime cartoon that my nephew-in-law might be asked to draw up by a studio exec trying to think up a good project idea after coming down from a high.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on July 15, 2007, 02:25:48 PM
Rachel has two sons.  The first is Joseph, the second Benjamin.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on July 15, 2007, 02:38:36 PM
The story of Leah's deception is interesting to look at from a standpoint of justice.  Earlier in life, Jacob had tricked his father Isaac into giving him his elder brother Esau's inheritance.  He did this by putting on a disguise to fool his father into believing he was Esau.  Later in life, the tables are turned on Jacob when Leah disguises herself as Rachel so that he will marry her.  Jacob steals an interitance; Leah steals a husband. 

Jerry Springer has nothing on the folks on the Bible.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on July 15, 2007, 04:33:05 PM
Reader5232  re:#254

When the O'Brian book was being discussed somewhat earlier at nytimes.com but probably not as literature per se, it was a conversation among a bunch of guys, who have read these Vietnam era books that came out when I was into Chinese; so I am not clear whether they just were shooting the breeze in the Lounge or did it take place off in the Movies forum for the morning rap? But I did recall, wow, this story is familiar, and I saw it on tv. How come?   It had been adapted for tv film production and --without a doubt it was weird. I seem to remember the younger Sutherland prances around in jungle fatigues, in this one.

I'd give this a second vote for having been the Movies forum because along came Brad Pitt in the Homeric extravaganza and again this idea arises.

At that point, I got in touch with a Vietnam vet who came back from the war to a faculty position as the Univ. of  Alberta, Calgary where he taught Greek classics and asked him, why did the Greeks make such a deal about mutilating the dead, in their "heroics" following a battle.  I had an uncanny sense that I knew why and a custom to which that had led but which is rarely discussed. How could I broach that subject with delicacy? Oops, wrong word.  But it differentiated them from their cousins on the other side of the Aegean down to the eastern shore of the Mediterranean off where the cedars of Lebanon had provided strong sailing ships.  There are Greeks however who will not crack to it that there was a written correlation between the development of their alphabet and that of people who conquered the Philistinian/Canaanite regions.  So I don't even argue with them about the fragments that came up at the digging of Troy when "Helen's jewelry" was found.

The vet kindly sent me his thesis  that covered my question, because he was retiring to California.  Something tells me there was a Vietnamese wife ; and, sure enough, I found my answer in his manuscript, much to my relief as to how "we carry" unconscious Jungian memory which occasionally pops out at us when we let our guard down  and it scare the bejesus out of us -- as to where we got them from(?) while at the same time knowing that it is the truth.

That faculty has something to do with your question about why at bodies of water prophecy takes place. Don't know if Lhoffman recalls this one but it has to do with the ceremony during the cycle of the year when you go down to the water's edge at the nearest body of open,i.e.running, water for the morning prayers and cast crumbs of bread upon the water. In a raw sense without refining this down for those who find it offensive because I have had my occasions of running into people in regular attendance at their local Jewish Community Center and who are great contributors to charity but they wish very much to sever themselves from superstition entertained or practiced by their Hasidic forebears who were left behind when their own immediate families came to America from Russia,Poland,Lithuania,Latvia,etc. It's been years since I worked on this and I don't remember the prayers for the souls of the dead.

Here's the connection, on the level of Hasidic lore they are sparks of spirit in creatures lower on the chain of evolution but working their way up toward the position whereby man recognizes the proper subordinate relationship of the Creation to the Creator.

The connection to Judges however such as Deborah is further back in the ancient world before Israel had Kings, the Book of Judges is the recording of the history in the tribal periods of war prior to David's uniting of the North and the South with their tribal loyalties in a Kingdom at Jerusalem.  Somewhere in here we are going to get a changeover in attitude toward women, although David has four wives(my favorite of which is Abishag); or, as Bharati Blaise Mukerjee said to me, (I paraphrase),"Yes, that's all very nice but our epic poems are based on the feats of Heroes (note she is referring to India and, whether she is including the conquering nothern ayurvedic types ,at that moment back in the 1960s, I can not say) whom are heterosexual. Jonathan and David's epic poem of their feats of war is a little, similar, that is it has elements of the Greek attitudes" (Like Brad Pitt in the Trojan War when his cousin gets offed?).

So the position of women in the prior period was stronger, they were tribal decision makers, Judges of disputes in cases of law, based on their experience they could prophesy (much of which involves the elements of wind,fire,earth,and water),and like Amazons they could on occasion if not exactly leading a force into battle as a general, nevetheless, take it into their own hands to kill the enemy.  In David's time, Mukerjee was protesting the praise songs (psalms, if you will) in which two warriors are giving praise offerings to each other.  So that by the time that David comes barreling into town, without a stitch on, some arguing that he was intoxicated with the Lord, women are jubilantly  singing in the chorus, dancing in the lead out in front of him while striking the rhythm on their tambors. He has had an elevation in status; women take a diminution, from then on bewitching men as David can claim about Batsheba, and the rules of the game change.  There is the discouragement of the prophetic factor as in any way desirable in their sex. We are well on our way to other empires  once again conquering the Kingdom, until by the time another son of David arrives on the scene we are already well into the Rabbinic period and women will not read the Law either. Neither will they practice divination.

Oh, I noticed a question comes up in the following posts about Rachel who hid what, that belonged to her father?

More on that as we go back to the question of the kiss Jacob planted on Rachel's lips(he did not) in order to get water? or because she was a long lost relative?

Now that I have found my old friend Ibn Ezra.



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on July 15, 2007, 05:34:30 PM
I've never thought of water being associated with prophecy before, but it is something to consider.  It makes sense, as rivers are often seen as a link from past to present.  Rivers are life-giving and  (water) are also seen to be associated with life-changing events.  In Siddhartha, the each appearance of the river is connected with a new phase in his life.  In the Bible, Jesus' ministry began only after he was baptized.   The river Ganges is said to bring immortality and forgiveness of sins.  In the Aenid, Aeneas falls asleep by the river Tiber, which becomes the personification of Tiberinus who give Aeneas a prophecy about the future of Rome.  The prophecy angle sounds worth investigating.

Of course, the river in PB was seen by Nathan as a giver of life and by the Congolese as a destroyer of life.  The river poses an interesting dilemma for the Congolese here.  On the one hand, they need water to survive, and in the ant scene, it was their only salvation.  On the other, there were dangers to be encountered in the river, as in the incident of the child who had been killed by a crocodile.



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on July 15, 2007, 05:47:47 PM
Reader5232   re:#249  and #250

"Campbell also mentions the story of Rachel at the well in the Jacob story. 

(Jacob sees Rachel at the well while he is working for her father, falls in love with her, kisses her without asking.  He asks her father for her hand... ")

Actually, Jacob sees the herdsmen of three vast herds of sheep as they roll back the stone from the well. He must be pretty much off in the distance looking down upon this scene(?), either that  or he has very good eyesight under what might be considered conditions for mirage because they didn't have a telescope in those days/ when it was common to bring in as many of them to water before going back into the hills after replacing the stone. Shades of the camera work on  Broke-back Mountain which was fabulous what in the world(?) cinematography before you recognize what you are seeing.

He does get there after and just before they go back to the sheep sheering, and Jacob asks them to roll back the stone but they refuse (what would Laban say).  Then along  comes Rachel. He kisses her HANDS when introducing himself. Which was the proper salutation, and my footnote, same source,Rabbi Hertz says,"It was not unusual for an Arab chieftain even to this day to put his daughter in charge as his main shepherdess."

He is quoting Ibn Ezra, Gen.29:11     And then goes on to say it was customary for a man without wealth or cattle to offer his labour as a substitute in compensation (this is what I loved about those Senegalese movies that dzimas was talking about where the director tells these stories from the old testament but with a cast of African tribesmen some of whom are of course Muslim and others not )

It is Rachel who orders the stone to be rolled back.   The story continues, with internecine feuding between the wives/sisters,and Leah saying such great lines as, first,"You steal my husband and then you ask for my son's mandrakes too!"

Then for a scene exit,we have Rachel slipping into the tents and stealing her father's teraphim, to let you know we are still back in the idolatry phase despite Ibrahim/Abraham making of such knick-knacks having left Ur of the Chaldees in the first place some generations back to get away from all that.

(this is like the short version of Shakespeare,the seven and a half minute performance on You-Tube instead of Seven years here and Seven years there).

Rachel sneaks the teraphim  out of Dad's place and packs them under the palanquin before she mounts the camel to ride off. Laban however is looking everywhere for his ancestor termaphim and questions Rachel who is still sitting there in a badly translated saddle, at which she replies, "Do not be angry with me for not getting up but, I am in the manner of women and can not."  while  her father continues to look for the teraphim in the tent. According to custom a man can not touch anything that has been touched by a woman during her menses, so when he arrived where she and Jacob and the rest of the family have made camp, because Jacob is stealing Laban's wealth and Laban thinks he has taken the daughters by threat of the sword, Rachel plainly just sits there in the tent, on the camel saddle not moving because she is doing no work.   Separated from the men.

Okay so now we skip ahead not quite as far as where I began the last post with Zipporah.   It is the matter of Thomas Mann, and his great work,which I read in part, by which you meant what is translated as: Joseph and his Brethren.

That's because some would think the Book of Jacob tells this story of being thrown into the pit in the desert and ending up Steward of the Egyptian pharoah at the time of the drought --and the question is why would shepherds need grain?  To feed sheep.   Plus,Arabs carry quantities of things we know as coucous in saddle bags because it can be parched and set aside to soak with carefully measured water, requiring no more cooking before it is eatten although best with lamb and gravy and scooped up with three fingers, quick, from which hand?

Joseph in Egypt is the story of Joseph, son of Jacob.     And that's where we left off sometime much earlier in 2006 about precursors of Moses and Christ-figures and etc. in that odd set up of overlapping Fiction or non-Fiction take your pick and wait your turn in the basement.



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Donotremove on July 16, 2007, 12:22:33 AM
Truth stranger than fiction, Nytempsperdu?  Pygmy musicians bedded down at the zoo so they'd feel at home?  You can't make that stuff up.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on July 16, 2007, 02:04:11 AM
Gosh that sounds familiar, it happened at Berkeley didn't it ,with the last of the Yaqui Indians? Who eventually became the janitor there, but it seems to me there is another similarly relevant story involving black people similar in tone to the Brazzaville story? Only when it happened, it was here in the states but whether Chicago or which other Fair, I can not recall. Bob would probably remember better than I; as it is likely to have come up tangent to one of his book discussions.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on July 16, 2007, 09:17:05 PM
"a permission-less kiss from her cousin"

Reader 5232, re:#266

You are obviously oblivious to my posts. You either do not read them or you are utterly disdainful of them meriting attention. I gave you the cultural authentification of what the kiss is about from an unimpeachable source. But for some purpose, you choose to distort it.

re:#265, you mistake the definition of  "consecration" which in the case of the Kingsolver novel significantly involves a Christian orientation rather than the divinations we have been considering so far. It refers to the transubstantiation into the Body of Christ which can be taken in either of two explicit meanings which caused a split in Christianity  over a lengthy period of time perhaps ever since the first Muslim conquest of Christianized Europe; that has currently been readdressed by Pope Benedict who has stated that none of the other offshoots of Christianity will from now on be considered valid. I'm sure they probably don't care but it rattles their cages nonetheless.

Back at #264 you have never heard of how the Delphic Oracle becomes intoxicated to render her oracular babblings?    I have always made it a point to use Wikipedia, to verify something that I already know about as a matter of being  educated, because it provides the links that any poster reading my posts can then check out themselves as they may read something other or more or less than what I have discussed  and may want to use sources that are recommended by Wikipedia to investigate on their own.

They may not have access to recognized academic texts like Jane Harrison's Prolegomena to Greek Religion.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on July 16, 2007, 10:32:05 PM
Madupont re: Wikipedia....entertaining, but not a reliable source

Nytemps...There was quite a bit of ritual leading up to the ceremony of the Oracle.  On the seventh day of each month, the Oracle Priestess, or Pythian, would fast and bathe and drink of the Castalian Spring, which was located in the Oracle and was fed by the Kassotis spring which came down from Mount Parnassus.  (The spring was located under the southern retaining wall of the Temple, but is dried up now.)  It is said that the Pythia received inspiration from the naiad  (Castalia) who lived in the river.  After bathing and drinking of the spring, she would enter the temple and take questions.  There seems to be disagreement about how the Oracle answered the questions.   One theory is that she got the answers from the rustling of waters in two bowls she brought into the temple from the spring.  Another is that she divined the answer from a combination of the rustle of laurel leaves and waters.  A third is that she divined the answer from breathing in vapors from a fissure in the floor of the temple.  In this method, the Pythia would mumble answers which would then be interpreted by a priest.  A few years ago,  AAAS published research from one of its members postulating that the vapors were ethylane.  This would explain why the Pythia would mumble and why she would need a priest to interpret her prophecy. 

There was also a ritual the supplicant had to undergo to prepare to face the oracle, but I can't find much information about it. 

(Here is a link to a site that discusses the ethylene theory.)

http://www.erowid.org/chemicals/ethylene/ethylene_history1.shtml




Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on July 16, 2007, 11:04:37 PM
Reader...the word "consecration" isn't always associated with the doctrine of transubstantiation.  It also refers to the people being set apart. 

It can also refer in a secular sense to one's commitment to a particular pursuit...although this is not a common usage. 

Orleanna's use of the word seems to imply that she dedicated herself and her time to study, believing that knowledge would heal the wounds caused by religion.  It says quite a bit about Orleanna's mind-set that she chooses to use a religious term to express secular sentiment. 

It is interesting that one of her discoveries in the library relates to her sighting of the okapi.  At the time she saw it on the riverbank, no one even knew it existed.  In Orleanna's perspective, the animal takes on an almost mythological significance.  And Orleanna's personal religion is closer to the worship of nature than to the worship of God.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on July 17, 2007, 01:57:51 AM
You've got it. Now which would you rather have as your prize?  Also, I'm not too sure whether the dolphin figures in as neatly as it does more likely with  a more erotic figure.  


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on July 17, 2007, 02:55:46 AM
"Madupont re: Wikipedia....entertaining, but not a reliable source"  re:#270 Lhoffman

"I have always made it a point to use Wikipedia, to verify something that I already know about .... because it provides the links that any poster ... can then check out themselves as they may read ...  and may want to use sources that are recommended by Wikipedia to investigate on their own." madupont re:#268

I'd might even hesitate to say that there are any reliable sources as long as academia has been the keeper of esoteric knowledge. The consensus of opinion inevitably readjusts what it knew with every wind of change and then every so often is suddenly startled by some break-through knowledge which causes excitement(that being the whole object, to become excited, about something, anything),only to discover,"Why we knew that before."

Therefore, as Wikipedia hardly qualifies as some Hermetic knowledge  or gnosis, I attempted to make clear that it is just a point of reference available  on the internet to anybody who wants to verify a point for themselves that I  have mentioned.

In regard to #271, Orleanna might as well have 'dedicated' herself as consecrated herself,  which by the very structure of the word lets you know, it takes more than an individual but is rather that which is administered by one person to another. Someone officiates at the consecration whether of a person or a place. Which of course you refer to in describing the supplicant to the Pythia, and the priest who interprets the message and then records it (to see if it comes to pass).

I guess that you are saying Orleanna had a conversion experience where the Okapi moment was a bit like Queen Elizabeth  (in the film,The Queen) experiencing her "familiar", the great Scots stag with his stately many pointed rack born like a gigantic crown.  Well, it's an epiphany, isn't it. 


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on July 17, 2007, 10:48:31 AM
Madupont...."dedicated" vs "consecrated".  If you have the book, read the fifth paragraph in context.  Orleanna seems to have stripped all meaning related to the sacred in her use of "consecrate."  The paragraph in context expresses cynicism and bitterness...which to me, would indicated the very opposite of anything holy.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on July 17, 2007, 10:56:04 AM
Quote
The thought occurs that the girls and Orleanna are all aspects of Barbara

It does indeed, Reader, but to me (and forgive me for restating this), Leah seemed closer to what I imagine to be Kingsolver's persona (as far as it is within my power to ascertain).  Adah's wordplay is certainly a wonderful aspect, though.  I've forgotten what was given as the reason for that having to change when Adah was rehabilitated or reborn (oops, that might be a bit of a loaded term, smacking as it does of baptism, etc.)



I also thought Adah seemed most representative of Kingsolver.  She shares Kingsolver's love of words and science.  The flaw there is that Adah is ambivalent about the Congo, a feeling clearly not shared by Kingsolver.  Leah seems to share  Kingsolver's passion for the Congo and for justice.   Twins...two sides of the same coin. 


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on July 20, 2007, 10:08:39 PM
Reader,

Yes, I think Rachel, in spite of her word choice, is smarter than her sisters give her credit for.

Yes, she used to sexuality to "get ahead", but she didn't wallow in it. Once she got to a comfortable place, she took over like a strong businesswoman in the years before strong businesswomen were admired.

I have worked with dyslexic students, and know that malapropism has another name - dysnomia, the inability to get the right word out and making a substitution. It is sometimes called: tip-of-the-tongue disorder to make it more understandable. It is not indicative of a weak intellect.



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on July 21, 2007, 12:07:10 AM
Quote
Don't get me wrong.  I don't mean to say that each narrator is restricted to the one way of seeing, only that they tend to come back to that way of thinking.  It is a default way of seeing.  As such, the method carries structural benefits but it also opens the way for Kingsolver to (1) make her characters more real; (2) tell the story from different perspectives; (3) make the different perspectives ring true and not as if they are the product of gimmicky dialogue and word choice; (4) develop the implications of the experience in ways that go beyond the mere telling of it.

There are other benefits too.

Could Kingsolver have written the perspectives another way and still keep the voices separate?  Her way of writing this seems to ring true.  In large families, each child very often has her own unique style of perception.  Since siblings have the same parents, I suspect that this is an inborn form of sibling rivalry.  Children struggle for individual identities. 


Quote
Yes, I think Rachel, in spite of her word choice, is smarter than her sisters give her credit for.

Yes, she used to sexuality to "get ahead", but she didn't wallow in it. Once she got to a comfortable place, she took over like a strong businesswoman in the years before strong businesswomen were admired.

I have worked with dyslexic students, and know that malapropism has another name - dysnomia, the inability to get the right word out and making a substitution. It is sometimes called: tip-of-the-tongue disorder to make it more understandable. It is not indicative of a weak intellect.


I wouldn't say that Rachel had a weak intellect, either.  I do think that she lacked a certain intellectual curiousity and for all her experiences, maintained a very narrow view of the world.


re synesthesia....I was interested in the idea of synthesia around Adah's
"almond-tasting word,"  and in Orleanna's sense of smell, too.  But I don't think Kingsolver is writing of synethesia here.  I think that Adah identifies almonds with the word Mongoloid because she is thinking of the almond shaped eyes that were associated with the condition.  And I think Orleanna uses smell as an anchor for memory.  Neither of these are synesthesiac.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Charles on July 21, 2007, 07:05:14 AM
Absalom, Absalom would be a temptation.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on July 21, 2007, 12:15:17 PM
The narrators tend to perceive one sense over others.  They tend to use language in highly individualistic -- if not eccentric -- ways.  Their characters are defined in part by how they see things.  Their names have meanings that characterize them but which also establish them as parts of a meaningful whole. 

All this works toward the development of interesting characters.  All of it moves the story, keeps it dynamic, intriguing, even tense in a balance/counter-balance sort of way.  It also might (might) go a bit toward supporting the thought that these narrators are the facet personalities of a single person (or entity or idea).

We can even throw in Nathan, the personality too disturbed, enraged, insane to be able to narrate.

So, Kingsolver used the perception of sense as her main distinction in the separate voicings?  Given the set up here, five distinct female voices, do you think there are other ways Kingsolver could have achieved individuality?  It is realistic to have five members of the same family view life differently, but is it realistic to have them express themselves, to have them use language, so differently?  Even factoring in the giftedness of Adah and Leah and the girls ages?


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on July 21, 2007, 12:16:39 PM
"Who are they writing to?"


Leah and Rachel both seem to be writing love letters.  Of course, the object of Rachel's affections seems to be Rachel.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on July 21, 2007, 12:19:03 PM
Looking forward to a voting forum....but I'm definitely up for Absalom, Absalom.  A lot of the Southern readers might really enjoy this one, too.


And Ovid has the answer to everything!


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on July 21, 2007, 01:36:28 PM
There haven't been too many comments on Nathan, but Kingsolver clearly gave a lot of thought to his name.  Here is a link to the Biblical Nathan.  Kingsolver is quite clever here.  Her character identifies with the prophet, but there is also a certain irony at play in her creating him as a symbol of Colonialism and the rich taking advantage of the poor.    (Of course, this takes me back to the question of Orleanna's name, which seems a bit of an orphan in the grand scheme of things).

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=10&chapter=12&version=31 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=10&chapter=12&version=31)


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on July 21, 2007, 01:41:24 PM
Orleanna....perhaps a play on words and etymology?


aural 
1847, "of or pertaining to the ear," from L. auris "ear" (see ear (1)). Meaning "received or perceived by ear" is attested from 1860.

aureole 
c.1220, from L. fem. adj. dim. of aureus "golden." In medieval Christianity, the celestial crown worn by martyrs, virgins, etc., as victors over the flesh.

(Etymology online dictionary)





Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on July 21, 2007, 03:16:59 PM
Laurie asks:

"It is realistic to have five members of the same family view life differently, but is it realistic to have them express themselves, to have them use language, so differently? "

Actually, Laurie, one of the things that struck me about the book was how much it reminded me of my own family - my five sister and our mother. Each of us has out own perceptions, even on events that we could have all viewed the same way and yet did not. We have had a listserve among us for some eight or more years now, and if someone outside the family read it, they would see that each of us has our own way of expressing outselves, using language very different. One of us shows her total disapproval of the rest of us by refusing to participate in the listserve. Edith, the youngest, is dyslexic, and her writing is full of misspellings and "creative" sentence structures. Jacqi is always friendly, but very busy and unable to share more than a few lines at a time. Patty wears her feelings on her sleeve on certain issues, and sits on the pitty pot from time to time. Chris is always, like Leah, overburdened with her life, and has interesting memories of the past. When we first started the list, all we used it for was to argue. Now, we do sometimes share the events in our families, but not regularly. Sometimes, it is our children who chime in and let everyone know what is going on. It is always interesting when an argument breaks out, how our children break in to smooth it out.

In any event, that is what "made" the Poisonwood Bible so meaningful to me. It is the first time I have ever read a book that seemed to understand the dynamics in a large family of all females.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on July 21, 2007, 03:33:41 PM
Anne...I love the description of your family.  I understand those dynamics, having five sisters of my own....and of course a mother who has only recently felt the urge to let us all know how she really feels....

We all definitely have different perspectives on life.  When we are together, though, and expressing ourselves, our syntax is pretty much my mother's.  I've never really read any of their writing though.  We usually speak on the phone or in person and most of them don't have the internet and so don't e-mail.  And now I'm curious to know whether I would find a difference in their writing.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on July 21, 2007, 07:06:26 PM
I don't think the prophet Nathan has anything to do with colonialism; it is the David whom he criticised who was guilty of this inequity. On those grounds, she would have named the kid, David.

However, in the reading  from biblegateway, again Rachel is mentioned by the reference back to that earlier lineage without which you would not have David, when Nathan says that David has taken the Hitite's "one little ewe lamb", who was of course Batsheba.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on July 21, 2007, 07:26:24 PM
Laurie,

That is right, you come from the same kind of family that I did. Sadly, our mother never did come to the point where she let all of us know how she felt. She was still playing one against the other up until she was put in a nursing home with dementia, and it was all downhill from there. Just before she went in the nursing home, she forgot that she had been angry and hateful towards Terry for some five years. Each of us had had our turn as the "bad" daughter, but she never got to the point where we were all "good" daughters. Yet, it took a few years of her in the nursing home before we all came to realize that we didn't need Mom's approval to love each of our sisters, each of whom is a very different and unique person. One of mom's sisters was at the funeral, which we managed to pull off with elegance and aplop. Bebsie pulled me aside at the luncheon afterwards and told me, that Mom would have been proud of us. She said the same thing to others of my sisters, maybe all. We were all disappointed that the six of us couldn't be there all together, but Edith was ill and her doctors said absolutely no to her traveling across the country. When a soprano from the church (which none of us had ever been to before, but it was close to the cemetary), sang Ave Maria, which Edith, who has a strong, rich singing voice, was supposed to sing, we listened with tears in our eyes, missing Edith.

In some ways Edith was, as a young child, much like Ruth May. But after she got to school and endured the abuse from the nuns for her dyslexia mixed with playfulness, she became less secure, and lost that playfulness. If I get to making her laugh on the phone, I can still hear that little girl in her, but, sadly, not all of my sisters get that rare treat, since she spends so much time defending herself thinking all of her sisters believe they are "superior" to her.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on July 21, 2007, 08:37:49 PM
I had a quarter dozen each, like donuts ordered at the bakery. The brothers came first and therefore that abundance of them was disgusting. Then the girls, one after the other. The first had been lost before the boys arrived.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on July 21, 2007, 11:20:41 PM
I don't think the prophet Nathan has anything to do with colonialism; it is the David whom he criticised who was guilty of this inequity. On those grounds, she would have named the kid, David.

However, in the reading  from biblegateway, again Rachel is mentioned by the reference back to that earlier lineage without which you would not have David, when Nathan says that David has taken the Hitite's "one little ewe lamb", who was of course Batsheba.

The irony related to Nathan (who is the girls' father, by the way), is that if Kingsolver was meaning to name him after the Biblical prophet, and if she meant for him to represent colonialism, Nathan has become the sin his namesake counselled against. 



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on July 21, 2007, 11:33:12 PM
Anne...is Bebsie the oldest sister?  and Edith the youngest?

My oldest sister, Alice...who is also the oldest sibling, always takes it onto herself to pass on necessary information....medical information, what mom thinks, etc.. Alice has always seen herself as mom's spokesperson and stand-in.  The next sister, Bonnie, clearly always preferred my father.  The third sister, Virginia, had no time for either of them.   The youngest sister, Susan, (seventeen years younger than I am) played up to both parents, but it was clear from day one that mother would always be in her court.  The parents had many disagreements about her upbringing, which my mother won.  The end of it all was that Susan was given far more freedom than was good for her.  As a teenager, she couldn't wait to leave home.  Now in her 30's, she is still living at home, with my mother, her (Susan's)husband and their four children....who also enjoy far too much freedom.  The situation does work well for my mother, though, because she hates living alone.  My mother and father were married 49 years (he died five months before their fiftieth anniversary) and they NEVER lived by themselves. 


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on July 22, 2007, 09:14:35 AM
Laurie,

Bebsie is my mother's younger sister, the only sister who remained in the Reading area, althought I think she has since moved to California with her son. My mother has one brother still alive, and two older sisters who live in Ohio and could not travel to the funeral.

I am the oldest of my siblings, and took the lead as far as starting and managing the email listserve. Edith, as you guessed is the youngest. Patty, the second born, and Christy, the second to last born, are the most educated. Patty has had her masters for years, and Christy is getting her now and looking towards getting a PHD. I finally got my bachelors when I was 36. Terry, the fourth-born, doesn't have a degree, but has had four years of college in two areas. Jacqi, is the third born, never got her degree although she has enough course work to take a general degree. She has been the entrepreneur of the family. Edith could not go past the first year of college, but she did a strint in the Navy where she met her husband.

I am sixteen years older than Edith, so we have quite a span, but it seems your span is even greater. My father used to refer to us as "two platoons", the first three of us were born rather close together, then a six year span, then the last three were born not as close as the first three, but close enough.

I was married young, and had my first child when Edith was in Kindergarten. She went to school proclaiming that now she was an "ant, and not the kind that crawls on the ground". Like many of her sayings and doings, it has become a family legend. Edith was initially called Babum, a corruption of baby, a name put on her by Christy who was trying to say baby, and the name stuck until in about third grade when she began slugging anyone who called her Babum until we all got to calling her Edy or Edith.



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on July 22, 2007, 09:51:00 AM
Of course, what I think is that we have a case here of a clever strategy on the part of a writer, who has a background in journalism, has written some fiction and when she gets this idea ???? "
I've got it, I can put one schemata over the other so you can just make out the tracery of the biblical analogy for the character of each person in the family. I'll try it out and see how it works." *

It takes meticulous lots of planning to write a clever novel, as you discover in process, or a play, or a screen-play, so you keep your notebooks if you've survived an experience or if you haven't. Next attempt of course is already patterned  in your head, because of having experienced the practice.

asterisk above: take a look at the paragraphs you posted about your families and notice the story-line that you chose to describe your individual family's experience.   It isn't quite what Tolstoy meant by each family is different (in fact, his oft quoted saying sounds more cynical); but it is worth examing as a piece of your own natural writing, to determine why you picked out particular details, what they mean, then think of them as entirely fictional people who you don't know. Yet, since you really do know them, you have two layers of schemata. 1)a story with several interacting characters. On which you can place a layer rather like tracing paper as the next schemata where you let your memory flow and just surprise yourself at what you recall; either that or dig deep as if looking down into that divination pool of water mentioned earlier and notice what rises to the surface. That will be added to the tissue layer of schemata on your original basis and you can improvise the creation of characters.

From then on, you notice how they interact.     For some writers, it helps to have a feedback group in a setting,academic or otherwise, where you read your story and receive criticism on it. Other artists do this all the time; those who become painters for instance. Actors do it to join a company, they audition in the beginning from what they bring in.

For others, a private place with lots of quiet, lack of distraction or disruption, is the answer until they take it to an agent or submit shorter work "over the transom".


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on July 22, 2007, 11:36:46 AM
Mad....Of course she kept notebooks.  Of course the book was meticulously planned.  But she didn't choose to name the characters Dick, Jane, Mary, Anne, Sue and Betty....and she didn't choose to call the book "Clueless White Folk in the Jungle." 

Perhaps you could share with us your own ideas about the characters why Kingsolver chose to call this book "The Poisonwood Bible."


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on July 22, 2007, 11:52:39 AM
I believe that was discussed that Jesus was "balanga" since their local Congolese language is a tonal language. Congo resides in that area of Africa where the language was and is Asiatic-African(in other words has pitched tones, like Chinese).

If you got out of the wrong side of the bed this morning, don't take it out in the posts because I doubt that is the problem.  My purpose was to demonstrate the format of her writing from what the example was at hand and you know that.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on July 22, 2007, 03:30:34 PM
"The principles of ntu are asleep , until they are touched by nommo.  Nommo is the force that makes things live as what they are: man or tree or animal. Nommo means word.  The rabbit has the life it has---not a rat life or mongoose life---because it is named rabbit, mvundla.  A child is not alive, claims Nelson, until it is named.  I told him this helped explain a mystery for me.  My sister and I are identical twins, so how is it that from one single seed we have two such different lives?  Now I know.  Because I am named Adah and she is named Leah."

Nelson brings Ruth May an amulet to store her name:  "Put your spirit inside here, he said, here quick, blow in this hole.  He opened up the peg and I blew in the little hole and quick he said my name Nommo Bandu Nommo Bandu! and shut up the hole with the little peg and Now you are safe.  He said now if anything happens to me, if I start fixing to die or something, hold on to this tight and bambula! Ruth May will disappear."

Jesus is bengala...beloved or poisonwood.
Leah is La Dragueuse, Beene Beene
Adah is benduka...the one who walks crooked or a sleek bird.

In the Congo, it is dangerous "to assign the wrong names to things, you could make a chicken speak like a man.  Make a machete rise up and dance."

Kingsolver tells us, "Congo was a woman in the shadows, dark-hearted, moving to a drumbeat.  Zaire is a tall young man tossing salt over his shoulder.  All the old injuries have been renamed."

Kingsolver goes to great lengths to show her reader the power of the name.  One's name isn't a label, it is essence.  Clearly there was some importance in her choice of Biblical names for her characters.  Why give the daughters Biblical names unless she meant "Nathan" to refer back to the Bible?  She could have chosen another name, "Orleanna" seems to have no significance.  It seems that Kingsolver wanted us to relate Nathan to the  Biblical prophet who counselled King David.  Kingsolver here has created an irony by turning the king/prophet relationship on its head.  Instead of Nathan warning the powerful David on the folly of oppression, Kingsolver gives us Nathan, the oppressor working to save the powerless (and guiltless) Ndu.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Donotremove on July 23, 2007, 09:01:38 AM
Hoffman #316.

Exactly.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on July 23, 2007, 10:22:37 PM
Reader, are you reading through character by character now? 

We may not like her best, but I felt that Rachel grew as much as anyone.  Consider how Rachel's survival mechanisms developed from the time she stepped off the plane to the end of the book.



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on July 24, 2007, 08:29:58 PM
Something about Nelson reminded me of Methuselah the parrot.  Both were sort of "inherited" by the Price family.  Methuselah left by Brother Fawkes, Nelson sent by Anatole.  Both are associated with language in the novel.  Methuselah represents the passing Congo, a Congo that has been oppressed for so long that it doesn't know what to do with freedom.  (Thus, Kingsolver kills Methuselah on the day the Congo claims independence.)  Nelson seems to represent some mix of past and present...educated but still clinging to the old superstitions.   

Nelson also serves as a communicator between colonized (Tata Ndu) and colonizer (the Prices).  He explains the the Prices that Ndu wants to take Rachel to wife, and later proves that Leah killed the antelope, rather than Ndu's son.  He also warns the Price's of the evil he has found in their chicken coop.

As to the "negative reciprocal"...Nelson's warning about the chicken coop would have prevented death; had Nathan allowed Nelson to spend the night in their home, Ruth May would have been saved.




Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on July 25, 2007, 11:24:16 AM
I couldn't find anything on the name "Anatole" other than that it could be traced back to a third century Greek priest. 

I couldn't help thinking of Anatole France who, along with Joseph Conrad and Arthur Conan Doyle was a supporter of the Congo Reform Association. 

Here is a little about the association which links to a booklet by Mark Twain on King Leopold.

http://diglib1.amnh.org/resources/annot_bibliography/bib_s_m_politics.html (http://diglib1.amnh.org/resources/annot_bibliography/bib_s_m_politics.html)


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on July 25, 2007, 01:27:03 PM
I think "anas" in Latin is duck.   ;)

But, as to de Chardin ala Kingsolver...."I know people.  Most have no earthly notion of the price of a snow-white conscience."



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on July 25, 2007, 01:41:26 PM
The Power of the Gods

If you read the note on the front of the forum, you know that I will be organizing polls to select the next book of the month. I've read back on this thread a few pages and see only one book mentioned, Absolom, Absolom by Faulkner. Are there others to be considered? Is there a need for a poll on this thread? Or is it too soon to choose a new read?



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on July 25, 2007, 02:03:38 PM
Power of the Gods.... :D

I think Gunter Grass' Peeling the Onion is also out there.  Not sure whether it is fiction or non, though.

I have the Grass on my reading list and am in the middle of Absalom


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on July 25, 2007, 03:43:23 PM
Reader,

I do not know. I was only on one book forum for a few weeks before the Times went down. The poll will go up when the group decides it's time to select the next reading, and will be removed until the next selection, so it doesn't interfere with the reading. As I have it planned now, the polls will be up for a week, which should give everyone enough time to vote. If it seems the polls are done more quickly, they can be removed sooner. I did not think the vote boards were going to solve the problem, at least for the book thread I am on the most, the American History list, since there were a great number of books suggested. Some book threads do not seem to all read the same book at once, so may not need a poll. I'm going to take this one step at a time, and see how it works. It can always be changed if it doesn't work, even for one book board. I tend to be more democratic than authoritarian. I don't want to push anyone around.



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on July 25, 2007, 04:52:10 PM
Reader...I am always quite lazy about taking notes and greatly regret it when I have to scramble around to find what I'm looking for.  I haven't even underlined in Absolom because I'm not certain what's important yet.  Definitely will require a re-read with underliner in hand. 

I've written a list of questions on the inside of the front cover.


I'm interested in  the earth, fire, water connection.  Have you got any specific passages that suggest this?  I'm going to go back and have another look through the book. 


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on July 25, 2007, 05:07:25 PM
Pattern Recognition....my sci-fi library is sadly lacking   :-[


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on July 25, 2007, 05:30:48 PM
Laurie,

Is "Pattern Recognition" a book suggestion? Do you know the author?



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on July 25, 2007, 05:42:47 PM
Not a suggestion...I was responding to Reader's question.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on July 25, 2007, 06:20:06 PM
Ana  means "against".


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on July 25, 2007, 07:55:29 PM
Suppose Kingsolver meant the girls to represent four elements?  But then what is Orleanna? 


Mad...Against would be "contra".

Ana as a prefix would be "up, back or against."

"ad" and "ante" possibly but only in the accusative


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on July 25, 2007, 09:51:45 PM
Of course, I've been most familiar with it in the medical defining of specific conditions, for most of my life; but, it does originate from the Greek where it means: without or lacking.   It is an unstressed Greek privative "an" with a connective "a" to the word or definition which it works against.

You may find, of course, that the name Anatole also has this origin in Greek, in which it signifies "east" for the Asian part of Turkey,Asia minor, known as Anatolia.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on July 25, 2007, 11:13:21 PM
I think it's Greek, too.  Unfortunately, I can't decipher Greek.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: liquidsilver on July 26, 2007, 09:29:41 AM
I just finished Aztec Blood, Jennings' final book in the Aztec saga.  It was very good - first one that had a reasonably happy ending.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on July 26, 2007, 10:01:42 AM
Reader,

That is a good suggestion. I don't know how to do that, but am sure that Liquid will let me know how.



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Donotremove on July 26, 2007, 10:19:34 AM
Weezo, I don't know where to ask this.  About voting.  I voted in the American History poll.  I haven't seen hide nor hair of the poll since.  After you vote you don't see the poll again? Not even results so far?


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on July 26, 2007, 11:52:36 AM
Donot,

You should see the poll results at the top of any page you access, or for sure on the last page. If you are using the "Show unread posts since last visit" when you access the forum, scroll up to the top of the page. If it is not there, let me know. It should show you the results of the poll after you have voted.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on July 26, 2007, 12:38:59 PM
Reader, feel free to post about the Poisonwood Bible until whatever date is set to discuss whatever the next book will be.

I will post a list of the suggestions so far perhaps this evening, and get the poll set up by morning. Anyone with book suggestions, make them now.

Please, please, please, include the author with the title (and vice-versa). I really don't want to have to look it up. Thanks.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on July 26, 2007, 02:36:01 PM
Michael Chabon   Yiddish Policemens Union

http://www.amazon.com/Yiddish-Policemens-Union-Novel/dp/0007149824/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/002-4606087-6065616?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1185474797&sr=8-1

And Reader, you forgot
Faulkner   Absalom, Absalom

http://www.amazon.com/Absalom-William-Faulkner/dp/0375508724/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/002-4606087-6065616?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1185474878&sr=1-1

And Gunter Grass   Peeling the Onion (although I think I prefer Tin Drum)

http://www.amazon.com/Peeling-Onion-Gunter-Grass/dp/0151014779/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/002-4606087-6065616?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1185474935&sr=1-1


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on July 26, 2007, 03:58:32 PM
Two questions:

Who is the author of Power of the Gods?

Which Jennings is the author of the Aztec book? Francis Jennings?

If it's fiction, it can go on here. If it is also Mythology, it can run in both forums for the poll. I suspect some people may enjoy the list as suggestions for their own reading whether or not the book is selected for discussion in August, or even in a subsequent month.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on July 26, 2007, 04:07:07 PM
weezo, in that case you can put Peeling the Onion in both non-fiction and fiction, but Cloud Walk was already read and discussed by most of the participants here who have read books and discussed them.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on July 26, 2007, 06:04:01 PM
Folks,

Here is the list so far:

Observatory Mansions by Edward Carey
Absalom, Absalom by William Faulkner
Power of the Gods by ???
Peeling the Onion by Gunter Grass
Aztec Blood by Gary Jennings
Pattern Recognition by William Gibson
The Metamorphoses by Ovid
Kafka by the Shore by Haruki Murkami
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
Tanglewreck by Jeanette Winterson
Atonement by Ian McEwan
Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon
Peeling the Onion by Gunter Grass
Tim Drum by Gunter Grass

If there are any editions, please let me know quickly. I will create the poll this evening..
BTW, I was unable to find a book entitled "Power of the Gods" on Google. Can anyone supply the author?

Reader, do you want to include Raintree County? If so, please supply the author.



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on July 26, 2007, 10:04:48 PM
Folks,

The poll is up, and I've cast my vote for a book I just ordered. In one week, on August 1, the poll will close, and whomever will set the beginning date for the discussion. If there is not a clear and certain choice from the poll, I will do a run-off poll on the 1st.

Happy voting, everyone!

PS: For September, I am thinking about including the runners up for this month, so if the book you decide to read doesn't make it this month, perhaps it will next month. There should be no losers, just postponements.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Donotremove on July 27, 2007, 02:41:19 AM
Weezo, Whiskey will be so disappointed that he wasn't here to propose a Nurse Cherry book.   ;)


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: rmdig on July 27, 2007, 09:48:12 AM
I just happen to be reading Absalom, Absalom! and so I've cast my vote for it.  This is fairly heavy-going Faulkner and the N-word appears quite often just in case that's a turn off for anyone (and I imagine it is).  But it's also a terrific book.  Absalom, Absalom! also provides conclusive evidence that Cormac McCarthy is undoubtedly the most Faulkner-derivative writer of all time.  I know, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery . . .


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on July 30, 2007, 11:47:33 AM
Ana-tolia. = Anatolia
Anatole


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Donotremove on July 30, 2007, 12:51:15 PM
Reader.  Foreshadowing?


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on July 30, 2007, 01:22:45 PM
Donot,

If I was teaching the book, I would call it foreshadowing. There is a lot of foreshadowing of Ruth May's death, yet, when it comes, it is a tear-jerker. To me at least.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on July 30, 2007, 01:27:01 PM
Makes good use of American Kingsolveresque folk expression as well. People still actually talk like this in rural America; it is forever part of their family tradition. Even when against their own interest to adapt a slur used against them, like resentment of the terminology "Hayseeds" and "clod-hoppers" . Mothers would use an expression like "wear to her own funeral" to discipline their daughters who "aint catchin' on" to what's in their "own best interests".


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on July 30, 2007, 01:44:26 PM
Reader,

I agree. With the foreshadowing, we knew from the first chapter than one of the girls would die. Yet, I expected it to be Adah or Rachel, rather than Ruth May.



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: johnr60 on July 30, 2007, 02:50:53 PM
"Anyone out there read a book called Raintree County?"


I have, twice, and I'm going to again very shortly.  If there is a great american novel look here, not Absalom. 

Now I have to read the posting instructions.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Donotremove on July 30, 2007, 04:04:18 PM
Reader, foreshadowing is just a writing device as far as I know.  I was surprised, as well, when Ruth was bitten by the snake.  So horribly unfair.  But  Oleander's (I think I've mometarily forgotten the mother's exact name) response to Ruth's death was a wonderful piece of plotting and writing.  She cleaned out the house, ridding herself and the girls of every vestiage of this "thing" (the African experience,) that was choking, smothering them and now had killed one, buried Ruth and took her remaining girls and left, on foot.  I guarantee you I will not forget that scene.  Ever.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on July 30, 2007, 06:33:16 PM
I found the mother's grief more moving than Ruth May's death, perhaps because I expected the death.  Orleanna's giving away all her possessions and walking away felt right to me. 

And Rachel's response to her sister's death seems truest of all.  "There's a strange moment in time, after something horrible happens, when you know it's true but you haven't told anyone yet."  The thought behind that is that if you don't tell anyone, don't say it aloud, it won't be true.  Notice how people cover their mouths when they grieve?


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on July 30, 2007, 06:34:46 PM
I'd like to read Raintree County, too. 

(of course you realize this book has been movied......)


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: johnr60 on July 30, 2007, 08:56:01 PM
I'd like to read Raintree County, too. 

(of course you realize this book has been movied......)

http://www.raintreecounty.com/

Dont even think about the movie.  The book has been out of print but readily available used.  The movie's 50th anniversary is coming and has occasioned a new printing from a Chicago press.  I have never found in one fictional place so many forms and ideas that I can relate to, in a simple and poetic style in my mind at the top of American literature.

 I have just finished Shade of the Raintree--a biography of the author by his son, a sad but enlightening piece containing much more of the father's ideas and writings and will get back into the novel while this stuff is fresh..


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on July 30, 2007, 08:59:12 PM
I should have written, "I'd like to read Raintree County too."

I picked up a used copy, but I see a new one is coming out this September.

http://www.amazon.com/Raintree-County-Ross-Lockridge/dp/1556527101/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/103-5545799-5355828?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1185843632&sr=1-1 (http://www.amazon.com/Raintree-County-Ross-Lockridge/dp/1556527101/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/103-5545799-5355828?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1185843632&sr=1-1)


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on July 30, 2007, 09:04:41 PM
Quote
The Bible is a collection of ancient writings considered sacred by some.

A bible is also a book considered authoritative in its field (according to the  American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language).

That takes me back to the one flaw I really find in this book...Kingsolver's lack of subtlety when it comes to the Congo/Colonialism.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on July 31, 2007, 01:38:43 PM
Reader,

The poll is scheduled to come down tomorrow. It seems to me that Absalam, Absalam is the clear winner, so I assume that will be the next book read.

I was not planning to put up another poll until the last week of the month. So, you will have to get another life until then. In the meantime, I will collect the suggestions as they come into the list. I expect most of them will start coming in after the middle of the month. I'm not sure if I will continue to list the books that no one voted for on the next poll, but I will certainly include the ones that were voted on and didn't gain the top spot, since there is apparently some interest in those books.

I am pleased to see that Absalam, Absalam was the choice of the month. I've never been a fan of Faulkner, and someone mentioned that he uses the bad "n" word a lot in this book, so I think I'll pass on it. I've ordered two books from the Aztec series, and, if I like them, perhaps their turn will roll around.

In the meantime, I will be writing my own stories for the little ones. I've started a new series called the Geography Hat. If you have little ones and would like to print out a personalized story as a gift for them, or just want to see what I'm doing, the announcement is on the Education board. The next story in the series will involve examining the world from outer space, with some help from Sally Ride's book "To Space and Back" which gives a child-friendly explanation of the everyday life in outer space.

Reader, if you are really so bored you are awaiting the poll results daily, take a stroll to Education, and click on the link for all my stories, and read yourself silly. If you have children in your life, you can gift them with the personalized books at no cost (not even ads on the pages), and put a smile on their faces.


















Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on July 31, 2007, 03:27:21 PM
Reader,

I can add books to the poll list whenever, if that is what is desired. That would also relieve me of having to rush to go through the list in the last week of the month, and may result in a more interesting selection.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: lulu on July 31, 2007, 03:35:57 PM
I just rereread Wilkie Collins' The Woman in White and it's as exciting as it was the first time I read it.  If you haven't read Collins before and you like mysteries, please try him.

Next up is the Moonstone and Armadale.  It is easy to get addicted to him and the Woman in White is a great way to start.

I could see where it was going but that may be because I read it before but for a first timer it may not be obvious.

And thanks to the miniseries, I rereread Bleak House, in my opinion, Dickens' greatest novels about the horrors of getting involved in the legal system.  (Nothing has changed since Dickens wrote the book) and Jarndyce v. Jarndyce has become a byword for protracted litigation.  His women are still one-dimensional but this book is a little better.  Still, his excoriation of the law is worth reading for that alone.  Dickens never minced words about the world he lived in.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on August 01, 2007, 09:14:35 PM
Is everyone happy with the poll as it stands? I've taken out all the zero votes. Should I reset for a new vote, or is Absalam, Absalam a good choice for all?


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 01, 2007, 11:43:36 PM
And not so subtly:  "Leah went first as always, goddess of the Hunt." 
What page?  Who is speaking?



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 01, 2007, 11:53:23 PM
On Methuselah....969, a number only Adah could love.

On the mirroring of Methuselah and Nathan....Kingsolver had to do it this way.  Kingsolver's point seems to be "As ye sow, so shall ye reap."  (Not spelled out in the Bible, or in PB...the the idea is there.)  If Methuselah represents the Congo and Nathan the colonizer, when Methuselah falls so must Nathan. 



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 01, 2007, 11:56:01 PM
When will the Absalom, Absalom discussion begin?  My plans for August reading:  Finish AA, Ted Hughes' Tales from Ovid, read Raintree County and Peeling the Onion


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on August 02, 2007, 09:06:35 AM
I don't know who usually sets the dates on this board. Whoever it is needs to set the date for Absalam, Absalam. The date has been set as Aug 20th to start the discussion on the American History list, set by Bob, who has been the traditional leader of that forum. My role, as I explained to him, is only to set up the polls, not to usurp the list leadership.




Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on August 02, 2007, 09:47:23 AM
I suspect that many would enjoy a few weeks to discuss whatever else they are reading beyond the prescribed books.

A discussion on Shakespeare would be nice. No need to buy anything, since the text of all of his works are available free online to print out at whatever size booklet is most comfortable in your hands. You could even convert the text to a Word document and let your computer read it to you, which is, in my opinion, a very nice way to enjoy Shakespeare. To me, his works are best heard and performed rather than passively read. Admittedly, the mechanical voices of the Office speech reader may not suit Shakespeare well, but I think there are also versions that have human voices reading it. They may have a small pricetag attached.




Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: liquidsilver on August 02, 2007, 11:12:31 AM
I just finished "Daddy's Girl" by Lisa Scottoline.  My wife recommended the book.  I love my wife but not the book.  It was beyond terrible.  I can't believe that she has 13 novels and is a bestselling author.  I think she must have been high or drunk or both when she wrote the book.  The plot development was all over the place and quite bad.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Donotremove on August 02, 2007, 11:23:09 AM
I just finished Martin Cruz Smith's Stalin's Ghost, an Arkady Renko novel (Gorky Park).  Couldn't put it down.  I wonder if Russian society is like he portrays in his "Moscow" books?  Makes me believe it anyway.  And, news reports seem to back him up.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on August 02, 2007, 11:27:22 AM
Reader,

I like The Tempest - I used it with my special ed kids when we did "Shakespeare in the MOO" many years ago. The students had the most fun dressing the godesses! It could be fun to discuss the tempest especially since it is the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown, and the story is based on the adventures of some immigrants to the settlement who were waylayed by a storm and spent a year on the Islands rebuilding a boat to continue their journey.

But I also like Midsummer Night's Dream and Romeo and Juliet, and others that escape my memory at the moment. I'm not real crazy about the "heavy" ones such as MacBeth and the ones about the kings.



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 02, 2007, 01:11:50 PM
Another interesting bit about Methuselah...not symbolic, just interesting.

Methuselah...969....fathered Lamech
Lamech married Adah
Ada Price (who loves a good palindrome) cared for the bird Methuselah
Lamech who married Adah had two wives
Ada Price is a twin. 


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: johnr60 on August 02, 2007, 01:15:59 PM
969

"To express this structure in a geometrical shape with 969 tennis balls, it is a solid tetrahedron containing 4 facets (each facet having 153 balls) and 6 sides (each side having 17 balls). The following drawing shows what a tetrahedron is. A tetrahedron is simply the manifestation of a triangle in the 3D world,

http://www.theologos.net/intro_bk.shtml


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 02, 2007, 01:17:24 PM
I could go for any time between August 20 and September 1 to start AA.  Although September 1 is probably better for me because both my kids will be home for a week or two in August.  I tend not to get much reading done when they're home.  When we have nowhere we want to go,  we spend a lot of time making fun of trash TV....Blind Date, Elimidate, Jerry Springer....The kids find it great fun, as neither of them owns a television.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 02, 2007, 01:22:14 PM
969

"To express this structure in a geometrical shape with 969 tennis balls, it is a solid tetrahedron containing 4 facets (each facet having 153 balls) and 6 sides (each side having 17 balls). The following drawing shows what a tetrahedron is. A tetrahedron is simply the manifestation of a triangle in the 3D world,

http://www.theologos.net/intro_bk.shtml


Mind-boggling....Do you think he had a prediction for when the world will end?  My guess is he was one of those who thought it would all go down in 2000.





In James' book, you will learn:

Why 888 is Jesus' number in the Holy Scriptures.
Why 666 is the number of the Beast.
The origins of the fear of the number 13.
What Trinity Function is and why it is pivotal in connecting all numbers together, no matter how big they are.
The hidden symbolism of the world's most famous name, Jesus Christ.
Why the Holy of Holies, from the Tabernacle to the City of Revelation, was always a perfect cube.
How and where the Trinity and the name Jesus are found
in Genesis 1:1 and Revelation 22:21 -- the Bible's first and last verses.
Why the number 2000 is such a dividing point, such a watershed, unless something momentous is going to occur around that time?
 


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 02, 2007, 01:30:32 PM
As to the twins, there is almost the idea there of a cracked mirror. The perfect Leah gazes at her distorted image, Ada.   And the Congolese saw twins as an unfortunate omen.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on August 02, 2007, 03:11:30 PM
lhoffman   re:#421

Now, if he had another inverse triangle he would have the mogen-David
which might prove some validity to the G-word or the Kabbalistic interpretation (Gematria).   The Greeks do not use cabbala and thus the New Testament intreptation by Kingsolveresque missionaries based on the letters, epistles to the Greeks have no bearing on the end of the world. The study  in continuous reading came to its height among the Hasidic scholars of Vilno and Poland who were wiped out in WW2 with the exception of several sects in Brooklyn and New Jersey.

The end of the world is a Mayan prediction for 2012 having to do with the axis of two  bodies now astronomically out of synch, which is why all the silly furor in the Immigration Furom, not counting how much time we have left to enjoy the pristine Gan-Eden of US'ns without allowing the Mexicans to illegally cross the border although they are trying very hard, as the inheritors of the Mayan knowledge still studied at the university of Mexico city at the Observatory,since the Mayans were the most advanced of astronomers on this continent (Chinese,don't count as they use the Pole star for their calculations; Brahmins,configure the geometry differently; and Arabs also use a Fixed star calculation as they gave the names to all our fixed stars*), to get here in time to shift the balance of population northward.    (*Shakespeare was merely kidding about "...the stars in their courses...".)

It is a bit like the joke about how many Chinamen would it take to make the earth...what?

In any case the Muslims want the Temple of the Mount and the, excuse the expression,"missionary position" is Fundamentalist that if you get all the Jews to come back in time for the Second Coming, somebody ought to go to Heaven. This has started many rumors such as the Bushes are going by elaborate plan of Space flight, along with Victoria Principal to whom Tony Perkins lost his virginity and she is undergoing training preparations at this time, and then there is Virgin Airlines.

But on a brighter note, during the dzimas/madupont match to discover whether Kerouac's, On the Road should really be a film by a great director, I became absolutely fascinated by what happened to Charlie Yardbird Parker in the Baroness Rothschild's apartment on 89th and not out at her Weehawken estate as Clint Eastwood believed. I looked at the funeral pictures where my erstwhile friend Charlie Mingus stood in the background looking distressed-angry and then all the burial changes in Kansas but, I stumbled upon a little known fact of what the Rothschilds have done in Jerusalem for a building that they have carefully calculated, designed according to "the numbers" and have had built not varying by "one jot nor tittle" from their carefully written instructions.  If I can find it again, you may find it astronomically interesting beyond John60s wildest beliefs.
 


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: johnr60 on August 02, 2007, 04:49:18 PM
beyond John60s wildest beliefs.

The aforesaid generally keeps his beliefs to himself but often presents facts which remain facts regardless of the conclusions the source draws from them.

The numbers contained in the Bible (whichever set of books)  are recognizably important because of their often apparent incongruity with the text and their repetition in and outside it.

The author doesn't need knowledge of the source to use the symbol, nor is it logical to degrade the symbol just because others have mistaken it.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on August 02, 2007, 04:55:08 PM
So, you read Hebrew?


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: rmdig on August 02, 2007, 08:19:44 PM
I think Absalom, Absalom! presents innumerable problems that will potentially derail the discussion.  Faulkner is a southerner from the deep south, and it must be remembered that this novel was originally published in 1936 -- that is a long time ago.  Moreover, much of the narrative is carried forward by Quentin Compson's father, who uses the N-word liberally, and as a result I fear that the discussion will bog down on how we are to deal with this word in 2007.  In short, I think we ought to select another book for disucssion.   


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on August 02, 2007, 08:52:29 PM
Dig,

There was a long discussion, a poll, voting, and now you want to suggest another book? Where were you previously?

I really do think that adults in 2007 can handle historical literature that uses terms that are no longer in use without offending anyone. We can't just cancel out all southern literature because it includes words we've decided to use no longer. Would you have the same objection to the reading of The Taming of the Shrew because the term "I'll put my tongue in your tail" is used? 

If you were addressing teenagers, I would agree. No sense in putting the word in front of them to misuse. But this is a group of adults. I really do think they can deal with the "N" word satisfactorily.



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 02, 2007, 08:57:31 PM
Rmdig....As you say, it was a different time, and we should be glad of it.  But perhaps you would feel more comfortable if readers were to agree on what they feel is printable in the current political climate, and on this forum.

I have to say I was not offended by Faulkner's use of the word any more than I was offended by Mark Twain's.  Civil language has changed quite a bit since then. 


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Charles on August 02, 2007, 09:40:39 PM
I have the feeling I would be offended by the appearance and use of the N-word in this forum, even though I have read neither Twain nor Faulkner.  I don't think we should make excuses for using it.  It is passing out of the language and I think we should help it on its way if we can.  It has never been acceptable in my entire lifetime.  And before the question comes up, I think that reading a book to one's self is different than talking with another person about the same book.
This is just a data point for consideration.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 02, 2007, 09:54:19 PM
I think though, that it is possible to discuss the book without using the word.  I certainly have no intention of using it.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on August 02, 2007, 10:04:13 PM
Charles,

I suspect that the "n" word will never be spelled out or used directly on this forum. If it is part of a quote, I suspect it will appear either as "n" or some other variation that does not offend. If someone offends you in discussing the book, I sincerely hope you will speak up, but, knowing this group, I don't think it will happen.

That said, I am truly delighted that you are of a generation where the word was never acceptable. I had a hard, fast rule as a teacher, that the word was never allowed in my classroom, by anyone. And, I had to enforce that rule often. In my last year of teaching, I was teaching a government class and had weekly debates. Some students suggested that the next week's debate be on why some students could use the word with each other, but other students could not apply the same word to that group. My answer was swift. I never allow the word to be used in my class, so there is nothing to debate!





Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pontalba on August 02, 2007, 10:14:15 PM
As an ageing Southerner [New Orleanian] I deplore the use of any word that attempts to denigrate any ethnic group.  That particular word was not allowed in my family for longer than I can remember...great grandparents, grandparents, or parents, and certainly not in my own home. 

Imagine the shock I felt when I ventured into the working world and when passing through kitchens etc of the large hotel I worked in hearing black people calling each other that word left and right.  I doubt however that the younger generation is as liberal in their use, I would hope not at any rate.

The point is moot for me in any case.  I dislike Faulkner and do not consider him a typical Southerner.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pontalba on August 02, 2007, 10:15:59 PM
Also I must add that in truth, any "abbreviation" for any such word is as unacceptable as the word itself.  The meaning is clear, not disguised and so just as deplorable.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 02, 2007, 10:17:32 PM
And now I suppose the question I have:  Is the word integral to the book?


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on August 02, 2007, 10:19:53 PM
Pontalba,

If a judgement is based on listening to music or tv shows, it is still in wide use among people who resent being called by that word by people who are not part of their group.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Charles on August 02, 2007, 10:24:14 PM
I believe that it has an acceptable alternative in the modern English we will be using for discussion.

(A note tells me this may be a cross-post after intervening posts.)


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pontalba on August 02, 2007, 10:25:57 PM
Pontalba,

If a judgement is based on listening to music or tv shows, it is still in wide use among people who resent being called by that word by people who are not part of their group.
You might be right, but if that is the case, they are defeating their own purpose.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on August 02, 2007, 10:34:41 PM
Pontalba,

That was the point of my having the rule in my classroom, and the point of the AP, who was black, backing me up thoroughtly. He pointed out to the students that it was a demeaning expression, and did not express friendship at all. Sadly, while we may have convince one or two not to use the term, it is still widely in use. It just is not acceptable to use it in cross-racial conversations.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Charles on August 02, 2007, 10:40:07 PM
Although, after googling just now, maybe there isn't. :o


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pontalba on August 02, 2007, 10:59:19 PM
Pontalba,

That was the point of my having the rule in my classroom, and the point of the AP, who was black, backing me up thoroughtly. He pointed out to the students that it was a demeaning expression, and did not express friendship at all. Sadly, while we may have convince one or two not to use the term, it is still widely in use. It just is not acceptable to use it in cross-racial conversations.
Your rule was admirable, and I can imagine it wasn't always easy to make it stick.  But the few you managed to educate hopefully in turn educated others.  Baby steps. 

You know it is just like cursing.  People say "darn" instead of "damn"...now believe me, I've done a fair amount of cussin' in my life, but I've always sort of felt it was on the hypocritical side to use the euphemisms.  You mean what you mean, and it's intent is clear.  Same as that word.  Not exactly, but as my mother used to say, "the same difference".


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 02, 2007, 11:38:27 PM
One point I have taken from Faulkner is the destructive force of racism, for hater and hated alike.  I don't think this is something that can be portrayed very prettily without losing its impact. 


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on August 03, 2007, 01:35:03 AM
Laurie,

I like your points. We cannot understand the hatred that is part of our history unless we feel the language that was used to express it.

But, I will add, that if we have two welcome new members who would like me to re-open the poll and see how it falls out on another vote, that will be easy to do. Say the word, and it will be done.

I, for one, will not be reading this book this month. I don't know why, but there is a little bell in the back of my brain that crosses off Faulker. Perhaps I read something of his I didn't like and no longer remember it, but the mention of the "n" word is off-putting and cemented my decision. My choice was to sit out this reading and mostly lurk through the discussion, and if the discussion led me to re-evaluate the book, get it and read it then. I feel the same way towards Hemingway, and I had to read a number of his books to do a paper in college. And came away feeling he was lauded without cause, and said so in the paper which only earned me a "C". My paper was centered on the fact that Hemingway trivializes his female characters - they are cardboards propped in the corner. My professor, a seminary drop-out, thought Hemingway was the greatest thing since sliced bread. My paper should have been better. I've re-read it since. But my feelings persist. He only saw half the population as meaningful. The rest were just there for decoration. I wish I could remember why I have the same bell going off in my head for Faulkner.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Charles on August 03, 2007, 04:08:02 AM
Weezo,
I would not be in favor of re-opening the poll at all. even though I voted for someone else (McEwan).  Every time I have seen something like that done to 'improve' things, it has made a shambles of the entire process, and without producing any noticeably better outcome, usually worse.  Best to go with the considered judgement of the plurality here, as it has already been expressed.
PS If you were thinking of me as a newcomer, far from it.  Just an old-line member with a new name. :)
Charles


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: bosox18d on August 03, 2007, 04:10:06 AM
This forum is getting goofy.The fact is that when Faulkner and Hemingway wrote,certain words were used in mainstream society.If you want to take writers from the past and apply todays morals to them you should read lite lit.Imagine the nerve of people like Mark Twain,Melville,F.Scott,Faulkner,Hemingway,Kerouac,Ginsburg,Bukowski,Miller,etc,etc all using non P.C. words about others.Lets clean it all up and call it American Lit.................... ::)


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Charles on August 03, 2007, 04:39:38 AM
The forum is getting goofy with a post like that.
One of the reasons I drift into and out of contact with this crowd.
Feh.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on August 03, 2007, 07:27:26 AM
Thank you, Charles, for preferring to see the poll stand as it is. I know there are some on here who have been lookinig forward to reading/re-reading this book for a while. If the book is not to your liking, you can skip it and wait for the next books that may suit you better.

I am not a great fan of fiction as a body, preferring to read history or historical novels. I did like the Poisonwood Bible very much and thoroughly enjoyed following the discussion that went into far more depth than I am wont to read in a book. But I found it fascinating to read and follow.

I prefer James Michener to Ernest Hemingway, and one of the books I read that I intend to re-read again is Carl Sagan's Contact. My sister was aghast to learn that I've never read any of Stephen King's novels and do not intend to. Although I admire the fact that Harry Potter has turned many of today's tv and video addicts into readers, I have not read any of the series. I read F. Scott Fitzgerald because it was a requirement, but I would not revisit it on my own. Mark Twain, I enjoyed and did not notice the "n" word since it was in context for the story. Again, I appreciate the fact that Mark Twain was an eye-opener to the wonders of reading to one of my sons. I am currently reading William Cooper's Town which makes numerous references and comparisons to James Fennimore Cooper's novel on the same subject, but it does not induce me to revisit J. F. Cooper. I prefer to read the history and the considerations of what happened then compared to what has happened since. It is my own pechant.





Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pontalba on August 03, 2007, 07:50:57 AM
I don't see any use in trying to rehash a poll either, it is what it is.  Perhaps down the road some of the books in the mix will be considered again.  I hope.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: rmdig on August 03, 2007, 08:05:53 AM
weezo

You write:  There was a long discussion, a poll, voting, and now you want to suggest another book? Where were you previously?

Four people voted for the book and I was one of them.  That doesn't exactly represent an avalanche of support for Absalom, Absalom!  Most book discussions will require more than four readers if they are ever to get off the ground.  Moreover, having discussed Faulkner novels in other book discussion groups, I can almost assure you that his out-dated language will become an issue.

BTW:  This is the second time you've pounced on one of my posts.  I'm not sure what I've done to deserve this.  Perhaps you are someone who went by another name at the NYTimes forums with a longstanding animus?


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on August 03, 2007, 08:26:35 AM
Dig,

No, I have no other agenda than to answer your post as it is here and now. I was not even active on the book forums on the NYTimes, confining myself principally to the Education board. No animus. Just answering your post.

The idea of the poll is new, and I offered to do it since it seemed a logical way to decide what book to choose. I have also offered to run a run-off poll if the voting is too close to choose a clear leader. You are right that there are more total votes for other books than Faulkner. If it is the desire of the group to do a run-off poll, I can do it in a matter of minutes. Just let me know the wishes of the group. I am here to serve, not to dictate.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: sumen on August 03, 2007, 09:55:49 AM
Would you mind saying again what is the book for reading in August. Sometimes I come late to the forum and can't find out what I need to know to participate. Thank you. Susan.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Donotremove on August 03, 2007, 10:10:56 AM
Wait.  Wait.  I've got Angels all over the place falling off the head of this pin.  I've got to get a bigger pin.

I'm not going to read Absalom. Absalom either but I am going to lurk (as anyone who knows me expects.)  I've read one Faulkner, The Bear.  It was for a late-in-life American Lit course and my paper on it centered on the fact that young people of today have hardly any frame-of-reference to relate to the boy and his coming-of age adventure; not for the walking in the woods, the metaphors, the hovering spirit of the grandfather . . . since all the woods that most youngsters know today are the trees outside their apartment windows (and in reality there are no large unfenced areas, today, like Faulkner wrote about,) and the grandfather's pocket watch would not bring up an image in the minds of young people used to looking at a swatch watch.

You get my drift.  All of you are so intelligent (I'm not being sarcastic--I really mean it) that I'm sure a lively, civil discussion of Faulkner's book will ensue.  Whether it lasts a while or peters out, well that's okay, too.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: martinbeck3 on August 03, 2007, 12:11:02 PM
I´d love to read Falukner´s book.I hope I can get it here where I live.After reading several posts I cught what the N word means.Funny,in Argentina it´s a term of endearment.

One of our most beloved humorist who has just passed away was the N Fontanarrosa:

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7q9LW0biKV4 


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 03, 2007, 12:12:52 PM
Anne...I used to read lots of Stephen King.  The guy is morbid, bizarre, terrifying.  Not many of the books stick in my mind, but one that does is Insomnia.  Most of his other books dealt with the supernatural, the idea of good versus evil, some combination of both.  But Insomnia was quite unlike his other work.  There was the idea of good versus evil, and it was scary, but King also interworked themes of death, fate and immortality, the concept of God, and Greek mythology.  Even the hero in this one is a bit unexpected...a seventy-something widower who has been unable to sleep since his wife's death.  If you ever do decide to have a look at King, I'd go for Insomnia.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: martinbeck3 on August 03, 2007, 12:14:21 PM
i meant *caught*


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 03, 2007, 12:15:26 PM
Would you mind saying again what is the book for reading in August. Sometimes I come late to the forum and can't find out what I need to know to participate. Thank you. Susan.

There was no book chosen for August.  This is the first vote that's been taken.  But if you're reading something you like, toss it out there.  Maybe someone else is reading it, too.  


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: martinbeck3 on August 03, 2007, 12:26:25 PM
King is the contemporary Edgar A. Poe.His prose is awesome.His use of words and stories are carefully chosen to awake our worst fears.His characters are alive.He knows children psyche like few writers do.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 03, 2007, 12:30:45 PM
Wait.  Wait.  I've got Angels all over the place falling off the head of this pin.  I've got to get a bigger pin.

I'm not going to read Absalom. Absalom either but I am going to lurk (as anyone who knows me expects.)  I've read one Faulkner, The Bear.  It was for a late-in-life American Lit course and my paper on it centered on the fact that young people of today have hardly any frame-of-reference to relate to the boy and his coming-of age adventure; not for the walking in the woods, the metaphors, the hovering spirit of the grandfather . . . since all the woods that most youngsters know today are the trees outside their apartment windows (and in reality there are no large unfenced areas, today, like Faulkner wrote about,) and the grandfather's pocket watch would not bring up an image in the minds of young people used to looking at a swatch watch.

You get my drift.  All of you are so intelligent (I'm not being sarcastic--I really mean it) that I'm sure a lively, civil discussion of Faulkner's book will ensue.  Whether it lasts a while or peters out, well that's okay, too.

Do you know, my father and my grandfather both had pocket watches.  One of my most vivid memories is sitting between them on a porch swing at about age 3 and believing I could somehow will their watches to tick in sync.  Many decades have passed, and still coming across a pocketwatch for sale in a magazine or hearing that certain distinctive tick takes me right back to that porch swing.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 03, 2007, 12:33:50 PM
King is the contemporary Edgar A. Poe.His prose is awesome.His use of words and stories are carefully chosen to awake our worst fears.His characters are alive.He knows children psyche like few writers do.

I've always been grateful he didn't write a story about a garbage disposal gone wild....I'd never go into my kitchen again.

The clown in the sink and the sewer grate in It were terrifying.  I think King does have an understanding of how the things that scared us as children never quite leave, but burrow deeper into our cellular structure and lie dormant until some word or sound wakes them back up.



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: martinbeck3 on August 03, 2007, 12:36:54 PM
JOHN60,Druid Gentleman.Good to find you here ,too.
In Latam.lit. NNYHAV posted a link on Xul Solar,a real person and a character in Borges,Tlon...you would be very interested in.

my link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xul_Solar



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Donotremove on August 03, 2007, 12:39:19 PM
Martin, I steer clear of Stephen King since I saw the movie "Shining" ( . . . here comes Johnny).  I was morbidly fancinated and watched to the end, but it scared me plenty good.  Worse than "Psyco"(sp?).  I've never read one of his books (knock on wood I'm not stranded on a desert island and a Stephen King is the only book.)


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: martinbeck3 on August 03, 2007, 12:41:43 PM
JOHN60,& sundry lurkers
notice this about Xul Solar :

" He also struck up an acquaintance with British Mage Aleister Crowley and his mistress Leah Hirsig who held high hopes for his discipleship.."

RMDIG,good to see you,too.Is Absalom boring?


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: martinbeck3 on August 03, 2007, 12:48:47 PM
DON, I went on reading morbidly though I was frightened to death.That weird accident when a dog attacked him and nearly killed him...well that sounds like one of his books (Cujo) and A Bag of Bones is autobiographical no doubt."Don´t call the devil" ,like we say here.There are certain things that are better left aside.I haven´t been able to put down any of his "fearful" books I have never bought any of the others.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on August 03, 2007, 12:49:48 PM
weezo, re:#446

" My paper was centered on the fact that Hemingway trivializes his female characters... My professor, ... thought Hemingway was the greatest thing since sliced bread. But my feelings persist. He only saw half the population as meaningful."

Nearly forty years ago that was the consensus of opinion, so you are not alone in your feelings. Many quite adult mature women whose children were now in school, were able to go back to school themselves and earn their degrees.  I tutored a couple of them, individually,one closer to her forties if not in her early forties and the other in her late thirties, both of whom were artists but needed that course in literature to obtain their degree in the fine arts.

I think it is very simple. That forty years prior to that (in other words about eighty years total by now), it was a different, masculine centered, male dominated world  which tended to overlook exactly how important the "women in Hemingway's life" were, of and by themselves. Each one a talented writer earning an income by her craft in journalism. There were others but I'll get to that in a moment as she earned her own most extraordinary living as well.

You might, for instance, be more interested in reading the work of Josephine Herbst who was a journalist in Spain along with Hemingway but not with Hemingway, as unlike the other journalists in whom he was sexually involved, Josephine was by then a woman more interested in women. For many years she and the poet Jean Garrigue lived together on the upper Delaware slightly below Frenchtown on the Jersey side from which their friend Nathaniel West would come over to visit them when he went on vacation out of Manhattan(he was by that time writing of Hollywood if not for it).  Josephine was a country girl from Iowa, similar in temperament perhaps closer to Willa Cather although they produced quite different material.

These women were less popularly discovered forty years ago than the "rediscovered" Virginia Woolf to a younger group of women, but like your professor, the guy who was on faculty, where one or the other  of the women whom I tutored were trying to get beyond Hemingway, could not come to grasp with remembering a single woman writer because he had never read any before teaching a course that included women rather than teenagers.  (He contendedly ran a clique of varsity lads, while affecting  a pipe, and a long muffler wound around up to his chin  which were requisite symbols in his day.)

I think the men reading and posting their votes might get the point, if women voted for only books by women and never  read or posted votes for any books written by men(?)  I didn't by the way but in fact, the voting count demonstrates clearly there are only books by men on the board.  Granted you, Kingsolver-ed but exactly how many women cared to discuss,  what probably jbottle could best point out as he counts Box Office, a book that ran how many months as a Best Seller or wasn't it, popular when it must have made some position on the list of The New York Times?

Now back to the outstanding relationship Papa Hemingway had with the most extraordinary woman of  his day, whom he called "daughter" Marlena Dietrich. Enough said; there was no incest.

http://tinyurl.com/2m5twc

Anyway, I voted for  the man of the moment, Gunter Grass, Peeling the Onion, because it is pertinent to our time if the World Court ever gets around to assigning responsibility for the current US administration's crimes against humanity.

My only interest in Faulkner was confined to observing how the great singer Odetta performed her role in a film of one of his novels because of her striking presence. That I knew, already,  speaking with her when I would go with my husband to do exactly that following her appearances on the road.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: rmdig on August 03, 2007, 01:49:03 PM
Hello Martin.  Good to "see" you as well.  Has the Kult been transplanted to Escape from Elba or did it disappear into cyberspace with the NYTimes forums?

Absalom, Absalom! is not an easy read.  I know readers who like Faulkner but who have a hard time getting through Absalom, Absalom!  My feeling is the book is well worth reading and discussing.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: johnr60 on August 03, 2007, 02:36:42 PM
martin:

I remember Xul from Tlon and the style of painting from somewhere I cant come up with.  What are the ladders about?

I agree with rmdig, but Faulkner (like Saramaago) makes you feel pregnant .  You never get a period.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 03, 2007, 02:42:31 PM
Funny you should say that about Saramago.  I was reading Chapter 5 of AA today and thought of Saramago.....not quite as entertainingly as you did, but I 'd have to agree.  (I think, though, that I like Saramago a bit better than Faulkner.) 




Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: martinbeck3 on August 03, 2007, 05:57:16 PM
RMDIG, the K/SF is alive and kicking whenever the Wholey Ghost takes posseshun of he that is Humbel,the afore-said Apossel .

i am trying hard to save some soles:like

1. thee heretics and lurkers do not beleeve that:

a. a cat breathes the air of an infant,thusly not allowing him to grow

b.the chupacabra or goat-sucker sucks cattels blood until they are dry and then disembowels them   

c.if an owl flies over your roof someone will die in that house probably thee thyself´s own person.

d.if you walk under a ladder bad luck will be after thee during that day,like your team loses or worst your mother-in-law comes visiting,yes ,the same one that thinks you are the worst that ever happened to her dotter.

...and many more Kommandments I will pore here on for the illuminashun of narrow and wide minds.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: martinbeck3 on August 03, 2007, 06:05:33 PM
JOHN60, the ladders and the style is very much like Escher ,though the colors are more Kandinsky.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Charles on August 03, 2007, 06:08:48 PM
Yep!  NYT Book forums have always been known for tough in-fighting.  Looks like the N-word discussion has brought out the best here at Elba.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: bosox18d on August 03, 2007, 06:18:01 PM
Martin,You have failed to notice your lord and master put up A post in Meander several days ago.Don't you hear the Voice?


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: bosox18d on August 03, 2007, 06:20:27 PM
July 29th.page 55 in Meander I do believe.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on August 03, 2007, 06:36:56 PM
Charles,

As long as no one pulls my hair, I won't have to kick them where it hurts! One of the purposes, I think, in having an online discussion is that one can safely sit at their keyboard and not get knocked in the teeth for what they say. By comparison to the National boards here on Elba, the book forums are kind, gentle and considerate. Even the discussion of the "N" word never included anyone spelling out the word, which left Martin perplexed until he realized it was the word that in some languages is simply the name of one of the primary colors. In the US, it's a word that raises hackles in the present, although it was in common use in the past. Times change, and language follows suit.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Charles on August 03, 2007, 06:46:20 PM
weezo,
Definitely agree with you by far on the relative comparison of Book and National forums.  In absolute terms though I know kinder gentler forums -- and I say that deliberately, just so I can imagine some here muttering and grinding their teeth, or even posting "So why don't you go there?!"  :)


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Charles on August 03, 2007, 08:30:38 PM
They are much smaller and pussy cats compared to here.  Still interested?   8)


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: johnr60 on August 03, 2007, 08:53:55 PM
reader

Thank you.  I was going to do that but still think it a waste of time and energy.  In the meantime,

queer queer queer
polock polock polock
jesus jesus jesus


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Charles on August 03, 2007, 09:05:24 PM
I'm sorry I started this.

I promise I won't be deterred by any words if I decide to read the book.
I promise I won't complain if anyone uses words during a discussion.
I promise to stay on-topic during a discussion if that is not too utterly boring.

 :-X


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Charles on August 04, 2007, 04:44:59 AM
Reader, I'll put together a PM.  You might find something of interest.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Charles on August 04, 2007, 11:05:23 AM
Reader,
I have found great rewards in rereading books that have any complexity at all.  I think Nabokov said it was the only way to read.
As for "shelf."  Don't even ask!  I know the problem.  Right now I'm reading The Brown Plague by Daniel Guérin, so I can at least finish one of my "partials."


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 04, 2007, 01:48:03 PM
I can see that Absalom is going to deserve at least one re-read.  Chapter Seven and I'm finally getting that the reason it's so hard is that Thomas Sutpen doesn't really exist as Thomas Sutpen.  He exists only as perception.  The question becomes whose perception gets it?  None? All? 

Also finding interesting Faulkner's depiction of the feminine role.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on August 04, 2007, 06:14:24 PM
Charles, re:#487

Are you reading the paperback or the original?  I've heard that there was a lot of rewrite in which he cleaned up passages that had less to do with what he found in Germany than with whom he found available, before the paperback could go to print. 

Are you interested in any of the aspects that became another book re: the relationship of business/capitalism to nazism/facism in light of today's resemblence to the period of correspondence directed to German business corporations prior to the election of the Reichs-chancellor of the writer who sent the correspondence?

I knew the name Guerin was familiar and thought at first he might have been a  Falangist but then recognized his identity from photographs taken in the decades before his death in '88. So, in that sense of one who marched as late as the 1968 Paris riots, he was actually  Libertarian-Anarchist who is kind of a rare-breed but sometimes pesky if you have to learn their identifying metier by arguing with one of them week after week for a year or so as a practice run.  His rough-trade posed photographs are amusant.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Charles on August 04, 2007, 08:49:51 PM
Maddie. I'm aware of there having been a rewrite to clean up the content.  It will take a reread to pin down which content I have.  As for correspondences between then and now, thanks, but I don't get involved in those analyses on public fora.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Charles on August 07, 2007, 06:20:53 PM
Reader,
Definitely interested now!  Going to look into that and his previous, Pattern Recognition.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Charles on August 07, 2007, 08:53:11 PM
Reader, The first few pages of PR look just fine, and even I can recognize Neuromancer, so that doesn't hurt my interest either.  Nothing against SciFi; I read it selectively.  In between all the other reading.  ::)


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Charles on August 09, 2007, 08:05:00 AM
Yes, as it is frequently said, "We are all adults here."   :)


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: rmdig on August 09, 2007, 02:13:08 PM
This thread regarding "bad words" seems to have taken on a life of its own. 

I have no objection to reading and discussing books that employ words and/or characterizations that we now consider offensive, nor do I think such books should be banned or bowdlerized.  My only contention was that some readers here might find the frequent appearance of the N-word in Absalom, Absalom! offensive and objectionable, and I wanted to alert those who have not read the book about this.  That's all folks.
 


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: martinbeck3 on August 10, 2007, 11:45:21 AM
NYTEMPSPERDU, this is a free K/SF service-part of my work as Apossell:

I have published this before in the nyt days but apparently you have paid no notice to it and you really need it.Thy lack of swearing words shows the poverty of thy anger language:

http://www.museangel.net/insult.html


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: bosox18d on August 11, 2007, 02:35:27 AM
I seem to recall that Shakespeare insult generator some years ago in the NYTimes forums(Meander?) was a hoot.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 11, 2007, 09:17:09 PM
Quote
That the WASP Nathan too is not a pollinator?  That because he does not grow and can't be expected to garden?  (especially when the thing to be gardened is souls)

As a pollinator of souls, Nathan can only fail.  His own soul is corrupt.  His faith has been undermined by fear.  The fear and corruption can only produce mutations of the original, the only faith is is capable of engendering would necessarily be offshoots of his own distorted soul.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 11, 2007, 09:19:36 PM
Kingsolver presents Nathan as the Old Testament God.  The children see him that way, even Adah the heretic who can't be a heretic without a God.  The children certainly speak of him that way; even Orleanna seems to in the first half or so of the novel.  He acts that way.  He decrees.  As Young might say, he makes the rules.  He says what's fair.  He too though is a thing they carried.  He too is a burden and Kingsolver is saying through Nathan that their God, their version of God, was a thing carried, a thing that burdened.  But what -- in this context -- was the thing they found?

They see God as a father to be feared.  This related back to my previous post, and the idea that the only faith Nathan can engender is a faith based on fear.  You can't give what you haven't got.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on August 12, 2007, 11:38:29 AM
"at Will Geer's Theatricum Botanicum, an outdoor theater nestled in a copse of fine old oaks."

I knew Will Geer's daughters, as I mentioned to Francesca when she discussed the tearing down or closing down of the theater bar and restaurant once attached to the theatre. I can't remember which production they were in.  He occasionally made appearances but was mostly immersed in television drama by that time as a very popular character actor.  At the time, I would have had no idea that he had withstood the persecution of the McCarthy era in the days when HUAAC under Senator Nixon was getting the so-called "Hollywood" community to fink on each other. I was a green actor doing Thornton Wilder and Jean Anouihl.  But I can still hear how he pronunced his lines. He had a particular tonality that Bruce Dern now sometimes borrows for his periodic role in Big Love.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 12, 2007, 11:59:45 AM
"the idea that the only faith Nathan can engender is a faith based on fear"

sounds like the old testament -- an earlier 'colonial' attempt

I didn't quite think of it that way, but yes, that would take us down to the bare-bones meaning of the title.  Pretty profound when you get down to it.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on August 12, 2007, 01:05:19 PM
Of course not, that was our point to begin with that the books of a Christian New testament could not have existed without the original books of the Old Testament in Hebrew long before Jerome. I mean who cares about Englishmen reading in the shadows of Hadrian's wall? The books translated into Greek from Latin(and Hebrew) are more purposive of  translating Kingsolver's literary themes although she writes in English. 

It is the same way in which the Ariel theme arises under repeated inspiration to write poetry although we know he was a Hebrew angel
before  Shakespeare ever heard him whisper.

or, as lhoffman said,"I didn't quite think of it that way, but yes, that would take us down to the bare-bones meaning of the title.  Pretty profound when you get down to it."  An idea that was contributed by  donotremove, that the title, The Poisonwood Bible, implies that missionaries poison the locals attitude and softens them up for the colonialization, which it was pointed out to me was coming to an end with the start up of the CIA financing of the Mobuto dictatorship. Mobuto simply put them on the bus and got them out of there, first the Asians, and then the Europeans before they noticed too much more of what was going on.

Ps. I didn't know Ellen nor Willow from California when I was there at the end of the Forties and then not again until the end of the Nineties.  They would have been more Manhattan based at that period, where I was at the end of the Fifties. Theaters on the West Coast develop as actors decide to teach and run a repertoire company. My great-nephew thought about staying last year in the Autumn, after doing the Fringe Festival out here, and then going on to San Francisco on tour where they decided to rent, the company that is, rather than stay in a hotel, and live as a commune across in Marin County for the continuance of the run, and was tempted to give it awhirl in  Southern California but still had something or other to finish where the company is located in Chicago(I can think of many reasons for that).


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on August 12, 2007, 01:15:52 PM
I seem to recall that Shakespeare insult generator some years ago in the NYTimes forums(Meander?) was a hoot.

That's right, it was right in the middle of the Greenblatt discussion and closed the whole thing down, I recall about three of them having sport, one point of which was our "egos" (in discussing what was read?) while they were vaunting their own higher experience. Non-egotistically, of course. (although, I can't recall their reading the book with us. I read the Marlowe section, as pertinent to the times; as I already had my own opinions on Merchant of Venice, and some other "readings" line for line in which I was coached.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 12, 2007, 01:51:02 PM
On the History of Biblical Translation:

http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/PlainTextHistories.asp?historyid=ac66


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on August 12, 2007, 06:00:53 PM
Lhoffman
Another excerpt after I had the experience of a fellow in the National Security forum nytimes bringing in  papers from Fordham University so he could convince us that Muslims were our natural enemy.  Then I told him about what is in the following excerpt from same source as your link. Cathars essentially did not believe some of the things other Christians bought, since many of them were executed at Monsegur, it is likely like the anti-Paulists of today that they knew Christ had died,risen, and so on, thus did not necessarily believe in the transubstantiation that took place in the Christian  communion sacrament.   So this fellow considered these heretics on the same level as Muslims. As you can see from the following the ancestor of Henri Toulouse-Lautrec defended them. Irony is that survivors may also have done things contra what this fellow with the Fordham paper expected because he next brought  the records of the Huguenot society(originally supporters of Henri of Navarre [Henry IV] on which I pointed out two ancestors of mine; and I chided him that another
became one of the knights Templar at an earlier period. After that, we just went around printing bibles in the colloquial at Berlin.

"The strongest medieval demand for vernacular texts comes in France from a heretical sect, the Cathars. The suppression of the Cathars is complete by
the mid-13th century. But in the following century the same demand surfaces within mainstream western Christianity. "
                                                                                                                             
the heresy. It spreads westwards during the 12th century and gives new energy to a similar sect, already in existence, in northern Italy and southern France. These western heretics become known as Cathars (from the Greek katharoi, 'pure').By the second half of the 12th century both Bogomils and Cathars have church hierarchies of their own. Bishops are appointed, councils are held. At the end of the century there are eleven Cathar bishoprics in France and northern Italy. There are also Cathar versions of the Bible in vernacular languages, with the text edited to fit the doctrine. Jesus in these gospels is not a man but an angel, whose sufferings are an illusion.

The heresy is strongest in southern France, particularly in Toulouse. (Albi is only involved to a lesser extent, yet the Albigenses becomes an alternative name for the Cathars). Inevitably the papacy takes steps against such a sect.
   
Early in the 13th century Innocent III sends bishops to Toulouse to preach against the Cathar heresy. But the pronouncements of these grandees of the church do little to convince the heretics. They are much more readily swayed by the certainties of their own self-denying leaders.

In 1206 a different approach is proposed by Dominic de Guzman (better known now as St Dominic), a canon accompanying a Spanish bishop to Toulouse. Christian preachers, he argues, should learn from the Cathars. They must live an equivalently simple life if ordinary people are to listen to their message. It is the beginning of the Dominican system of evangelical preaching.
   
Dominic's approach achieves early successes. In 1207 he establishes a convent at Prouille, in which the nuns are converts from the Cathar heresy.

This convent becomes the headquarters of his mission until an act of violence puts preaching in second place. In January 1208 the pope's legate to Toulouse is assassinated.
   
The Albigensian crusade: AD 1208-1255

Toulouse is a centre of the Catharist heresy but its count, Raymond VI, appears to view the heretics with undue tolerance. The pope, Innocent III, sends a legate to remind the count of his duties. The legate, making little progress, excommunicates Raymond in 1207 and is murdered - it is said by the count's men - in 1208.

Innocent preaches a crusade against the heretics. The nobles of France rally with enthusiasm to the cause. Over the following decades Cathars are treated with great brutality wherever they are captured. But as with the crusades to the east, territorial greed is mixed inextricably with the passion of outraged orthodoxy.
   

 The first leader of the crusading army is Simon de Montfort. His defeat of Raymond at Muret in 1213 is often described as the end of the crusade, but it merely transforms this particular struggle into a baronial war. In 1215 a papal council grants Simon the extensive territories previously belonging to Raymond. Raymond recovers Toulouse in 1217. Simon dies in 1218 trying to win it back.

Meanwhile there are many surviving Cathars. And Louis, heir to the French throne (as Louis VIII), has his own good reasons for campaigning into territories held by others in the south of France.
   
Louis, together with Simon de Montfort's son, takes Marmande in 1219 and massacres the Catharists of the town. A few years later Toulouse, under a new count (Raymond VII, son of Raymond VI), seems once again a hotbed of heresy. A new pope, Honorius III, asks the French king to lead a crusade into southern France. Louis VIII besieges and captures Avignon in 1226. By 1229 Raymond of Toulouse agrees terms which after his own lifetime will transform much of southern France into a possession of the French crown.

Territorial purposes are thus satisfactorily achieved. But the battle against heresy rumbles on intermittently for another two decades, after the Cathars withdraw to the foothills of the Pyrenees.
   
Small communities of Cathars hold out in isolated castles. The last to fall is the stronghold of Qué ribus in 1255. But the effective end comes earlier, with a gruesome display at Montségur.

The Cathars of Montségur are besieged by a crusading army for ten months, from May 1243 to March 1244. When they finally capitulate, some 200 refuse to deny their heretical faith. They are herded within a wooden stockade below the castle walls and are burnt as a group. The sect, with its undeniably high ideals, fades from history. Its main legacy is the Inquisition.
   
Inquisition: AD 1233-1478

 The survival of the Catharist heresy in parts of France, even after the brutality of the Albigensian crusade, persuades pope Gregory IX that specialists are required. In 1233 he writes to bishops in France saying that he is sending them some Dominican friars to help them in this necessary task of rooting out heretics.

Some of these first inquisitors have the special expertise of poachers turned gamekeeper. Robert le Bougre, the most severe of those sent to France in 1233, was drawn into the sect as a young man for love of a Cathar girl. St Peter Martyr, appointed inquisitor for northern Italy by Gregory IX (and assassinated by a Cathar in 1252), was born into a Catharist family.
   

The work of the Inquisition is accompanied from the start by alarming ceremonies. An inquisitor, arriving in a place where heresy is suspected, commands the local people to divulge what they know of their neighbours. The names of witnesses are concealed, so there is a strong temptation to settle scores. From 1252, by a bull of Innocent IV, suspects may be tortured to obtain confessions.

The inquisitor's announcement of the penalties imposed provides an exciting public spectacle, with the condemned on parade to hear their fate.
The inquisitor may prescribe penalties such as fasting, pilgrimage, the wearing of a yellow cross, the confiscation of property, flogging, or imprisonment for any period, including even life. But he cannot impose a death sentence, on the grounds that the church does not shed blood.

Instead, those condemned to death are handed over to the secular authorities - who know their Christian duty and are happy to comply. Death by burning at the stake, long the traditional punishment for heresy, has the added attraction of maintaining - in a very literal sense - the fiction that no blood is being shed.
The medieval Inquisition is mainly used against the Cathars in France, though the burning of both John Huss and Joan of Arc follow investigations by inquisitors. The inquisitorial procedure becomes firmly established in the two centuries from Gregory IX's creation of the Inquisition in the 13th century to the deaths of Huss and Joan of Arc in the 15th.

It is therefore a simple matter for pope Sixtus IV in 1478 to authorize Ferdinand and Isabella to appoint inquisitors who will ensure that Spanish Jews are genuinely converting to Christianity. And it remains the tradition that Dominicans, among them Torquemada, will undertake the task. The Spanish Inquisition is an extension of what has gone before


Ps. there was a very good review with sample Chapter in the nytimes
about redactors of the Hebrew tracing the different voices of interpretation, and I was sorry that I didn't save it back then before I started posting in any of the forums; as it no longer exists in their archive as far as I know.  Much material is being weeded out of nytimes come but to go where? Is it being dumped? When looking for some movie material again today, the stuff is gone; somebody is editing like crazy.

A redactor is one who brings back what has been made to disappear and publishes again in a new edition.

Of course, the above material on the Cathars of France is even more pertinent to the discussion of the Aleph, in Latin-American Literature where it probably belongs.



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 12, 2007, 06:24:46 PM
The Catholic hierarchy was put out with the Cathars for several reasons.  They didn't believe in a priesthood, they followed a practice of fasting that the Catholics looked on as suicide, they were Gnostic, they weren't much for multiplying and filling the earth as the ultimate expression of Catharism was to become a consolant.  The Consolants abstained from sex, left the wife and kidlets behind, and went off wandering in the forest for months and years at a time.  And, of course they didn't pay tithes.  The Abbot Arnaud spent much of his time trying to convert the Cathars, which apparently was quite a bust, and so, having the ear of the Pope, Innocent at that time, whispered the word "Crusade." 

Karen Armstrong does a nice job of writing on this in Holy War  The Crusades and their Impact on Today's Society.

I'm going to see if I can't find that NYT article on redactors.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on August 13, 2007, 02:21:21 AM
Lhoffman:

"The Catholic hierarchy was put out with the Cathars for several reasons.  They didn't believe in a priesthood..." because they had their own Cures/the Perfect.
"they followed a practice of fasting that the Catholics looked on as suicide"; now the conventional method of hospice provision among our contemporaries.

"They were Gnostic..."  Of course they were; descended from that tradition and are the missing link between the arrival at some point on the Cote d'Azur close to Montsegur of the so-called, or legendary, Holy family, or what was left among the relatives following the Resurrection, and the eventual Huguenots of the Reformation,

More on Gnosticism: "In the 9th century the Greek brothers Cyril and Methodius, sent from Constantinople to Moravia at royal request, translate the Gospels and parts of the Old Testament into Slavonic." (this is from your link: http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/PlainTextHistories.asp?historyid=ac66  )
The descendents of this "mission", the Moravian church, to my surprise,were some of the few Christians unflappable enough to run a hospital in Palestine at Ramallah for the seriously injured children disfigured either physically or mentally during what had been a continuing state of on and off war. I learned this about two years ago at Christmas season when going to one of their sales to raise money at their local church in my neighbourhood; this is one of the areas that has long been devoted to Moravian education, schools for young women, etc.

The earlier Gnostic is the apostle Thomas Didymos,putative twin brother  of Jesus, who wrote about the childhood of Jesus from recall, nonetheless this apostle to India,Iran,Afghanistan, and his gospel, the Gospel of Thomas, was perfectly legitimated by Elaine Pagels of Princeton Theological Seminary.
In 1982, Pagels joined Princeton University as a professor of early Christian history.Her study of the Nag Hammadi manuscripts was the basis for The Gnostic Gospels (1979), a popular introduction to the Nag Hammadi library. The bestselling book won both the National Book Critics Circle Award and the National Book Award and was chosen by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best books of the twentieth century, She took her B.A. and M.A. at Stanford in 1964-1965 and then her Ph.D. at Harvard.  The Church, of course, by which I mean Roman Catholic, is naturally entirely against her. Why?

Gnosticism attracted women in particular because of its egalitarian perspective which allowed their participation in sacred rites. That's the part that you referred to as: "... the ultimate expression of Catharism was to become a consolant.  The Consolants abstained from sex,... And, of course they didn't pay tithes."


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 13, 2007, 11:51:37 AM
Yes, I remember Pagels book, and there was for a while a sort of hipness to the idea "Pick up a stone...." which led to making of the movie "Stigmata" which managed to be cheesy and horrifying at the same time.  Quite gory...I recommend it for late-night viewing.

People will always be searchers, in matters religious or laic.  Probably why we read.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Charles on August 13, 2007, 12:15:33 PM
Pleasure, too?


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on August 13, 2007, 12:47:18 PM
  Lhoffman,re:#523   

"Pick up a stone...." which led to making of the movie "Stigmata"..."

Have no idea what you are referring to in the quote.  Never saw the movie.

But your tone is very dismissive, so I'll leave.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 13, 2007, 12:52:43 PM
Pleasure, too?

LOL...I suppose there is that too.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 13, 2007, 12:55:10 PM
  Lhoffman,re:#523   

"Pick up a stone...." which led to making of the movie "Stigmata"..."

Have no idea what you are referring to in the quote.  Never saw the movie.

But your tone is very dismissive, so I'll leave.

Not dismissive.  The quote is from the Gospel of Thomas, which I assumed you were familiar with, having read Pagels and all.  My bad.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on August 13, 2007, 02:56:05 PM
  Lhoffman,re:#523   

"Pick up a stone...." which led to making of the movie "Stigmata"..."

Have no idea what you are referring to in the quote.  Never saw the movie.

But your tone is very dismissive, so I'll leave.

Not dismissive.  The quote is from the Gospel of Thomas, which I assumed you were familiar with, having read Pagels and all.  My bad.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on August 13, 2007, 03:07:15 PM
I read it back in early 1970s. Do you remember one-liners  from nigh on to 40 years ago? At the time, it had nothing to do with Pagels who was still involved with her education elsewhere and I wouldn't have had the faintest idea who she was. She acquired the name  under which she writes when she married a physicist from Princeton.

A manuscript was handed to me by  an artist who came back from Nova Scotia as a conscientious objector to see his father just before he went into the Orthodox monastery in Chicago and that was the first I heard of that Thomas's Gospel and the last I saw of brother Thomas.               


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 14, 2007, 09:04:23 PM
I am most definitely reading Absalom, Absalom.  And to make it even more interesting, I've just finished The Sound and the Fury.  Quentin is quite an enigma.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 14, 2007, 09:05:59 PM
8 - 10 page acclimation....Anybody else think that Mr. Faulkner probably loved the sound of his own voice?  A lotta fun to read this book out loud.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Charles on August 16, 2007, 10:19:13 AM
This is not a commitment to join the discussion.  I doubt I'll ever do that, or even finish the book in time for it.
This is simply the announcement that I have just finished the first chapter -- rereading each sentence four times, one by one, to gather up all the loose words, and then rereading the chapter twice to nail down names and relationships and what Faulkner was trying to tell me.  I consider getting to chapter two quite an accomplishment.  But a happy one. :)
Fare thee well, all ye doughty seafarers disappearing over the horizon!


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: desdemona222b on August 16, 2007, 11:27:43 AM
Charles -

When I read Absalom, Absalom in college, I was a senior taking several graduate level history and political science courses, so my reading load was incredibly heavy.  I'm talking Hegel, Marx, Engels, John Stuart Mill, John Toland, five books on Russian history, etc.  Faulkner was at the bottom of my list, but I had to get through it, so I just plowed through whether it made sense or not.  I became convinced, as I went, that this was a good approach to stream of consciousness of the most radical sort.  My mind began to parse out various things in spite of my impatient approach, and by the end of the book, I was just flabbergasted.  When I read The Sound and the Fury many years later, I did the same thing and then went back and re-read certain sections, then the whole book again very quickly.

Faulkner's later novels are very sophicated mysteries in a sense.

Not that there is anything wrong with your approach, just thought I'd comment on the contrast.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 16, 2007, 11:31:03 AM
The reader is not supposed to be sure what's going on until late in the book.  Faulkner purposely draws a misleading picture.  I think the approach Faulkner intended here is plowing through all the way to the end, then trying to piece it all together. 

He probably expected readers to admire his facility with words, too.  ;)


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Charles on August 16, 2007, 12:38:04 PM
Yes, all, I have had several people now say I read funny.   :)


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Charles on August 16, 2007, 02:00:43 PM
I recognize the good intentions, but I have to say: clear as mud. :)
Y'all have lost me.  I'll continue with my way, let you know what comes of it.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pontalba on August 16, 2007, 02:55:39 PM
I recognize the good intentions, but I have to say: clear as mud. :)
Y'all have lost me.  I'll continue with my way, let you know what comes of it.
LOL  Good ole Mississippi Mud at that. 
I'm reading, slower than you though Charles, but am catching up. 
I'd tried to read Faulkner a couple of years ago with no success.  Just didn't like the characters, so stopped.  But these guys are a whole 'nuther ball game. 


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 16, 2007, 03:16:35 PM
"The reader is not supposed to be sure what's going on until late in the book.  Faulkner purposely draws a misleading picture.  I think the approach Faulkner intended here is plowing through all the way to the end, then trying to piece it all together."

Faulkner doesn't want you to know what happens in the story just by reading it.

He wants you to remember it.  Not the reading.  He doesn't care if you remember the facts and events from your reading.  He wants you to remember the story even as you are reading it.


hmmmmm...I dunno, he doesn't even seem to want his characters to remember it correctly.  But that is probably the point.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 16, 2007, 03:17:20 PM
I recognize the good intentions, but I have to say: clear as mud. :)
Y'all have lost me.  I'll continue with my way, let you know what comes of it.
LOL  Good ole Mississippi Mud at that. 
I'm reading, slower than you though Charles, but am catching up. 
I'd tried to read Faulkner a couple of years ago with no success.  Just didn't like the characters, so stopped.  But these guys are a whole 'nuther ball game. 

"Mississippi Mud"....what an apt image!


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pontalba on August 16, 2007, 03:35:24 PM
"The reader is not supposed to be sure what's going on until late in the book.  Faulkner purposely draws a misleading picture.  I think the approach Faulkner intended here is plowing through all the way to the end, then trying to piece it all together."

Faulkner doesn't want you to know what happens in the story just by reading it.

He wants you to remember it.  Not the reading.  He doesn't care if you remember the facts and events from your reading.  He wants you to remember the story even as you are reading it.


hmmmmm...I dunno, he doesn't even seem to want his characters to remember it correctly.  But that is probably the point.

Selective memory comes in handy on occasion. 


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 16, 2007, 05:44:44 PM
Quote
Selective memory comes in handy on occasion. 

Sutpen was a mean one, all right. But somehow it's tough to get past that image of the boy knocking on the door of the mansion, clad only in rags and innocence.

Has anyone else read Barn Burning?


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 17, 2007, 12:25:08 AM
Interesting to compare Faulkner's use of doors in Absalom, Absalom and Barn Burning.  In BB, Faulkner gives us an instance of Snopes being humiliated at the door of the big house.  Imagine this recurring many times in the course of this life.  What bitterness is engendered, until finally we arrive at the burning.  Then there's the boy Sutpen sent round to the back and all the evil that sprung from that. 

But compare Snopes and Sutpen to Rosa and Colonel Sartoris Snopes.  Rosa and the younger Snopes understood the rules of the game, but they barged in anyway. 

Doors--->humiliation--->moral distrophy.

Another tie, de Spain, whose servant humiliated Snopes at the front door eventually takes possession the land in Sutpen's Hundred.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Charles on August 17, 2007, 09:30:24 AM
I can see some people are waaaaaaaaaaay ahead!  Great going guys! :)
I'm sailing back to port for a little rereading.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 17, 2007, 08:10:48 PM
Oops...sorry.  It's just sooo very tempting to comment.  I will try to wait until the first.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Charles on August 19, 2007, 08:22:10 AM
Man, it's lively here in Fiction! ::)
lhoffman, et al, I didn't mean my last post to stop up discussion here.  I wasn't one of those who originally voted for Absalom, Absalom! anyway, and it looks like I'll be pretty slow going.  So, all those in the discussion, please feel free to proceed however you wish and don't worry about where I am in the reading.  I can lurk and add in if anything comes to mind.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on August 20, 2007, 03:38:41 PM
I'll start collecting titles. Anyone with suggestions, please share title and author.



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: johnr60 on August 20, 2007, 09:30:53 PM
Reader, hoffman, et al

Re: Raintree County--when you're ready

This is always better than I remembered it.

A 1000 page speed read--slowing only in the Socratic dialogues which could have been easily repaired with a decent edit.

Any level is appropriate--social, historic, mythological, philosophical, poetic. 

This is a scholarly work only in terms of what it takes to write it, not in what it takes to read and understand it.  Maybe a half dozen times did I resist the temptation to use the dictionary.

Several times I was moved, often inexplicably until I went back to find the clever way RL touches the cords (chords? ).  The question thus arises whether he at 30 had sufficient knowledge to present the collective symbols as he does or whether in some instances they just "welled up".

Graves White Goddess and and Campbells Hero are published the same year.  Those authors are extremely important in opening the culture to the ideas expressed independently by RL.  Graves is still not accepted.

Stiles is the devil, the trickster, Hermes and RL repeatedly says so, and finishes with Satan is me.  The essayists avoid  this specific reference and its corrollary: intellect is (the accepted notion of) evil.

The critics I have read, in general, just dont get it, and are constantly commenting on the wrong questions.
It's easy to see the allusions: Joyce's riverrun, lack of quotation marks and hyphens etc; Wolfe's you cant go home again, Thomas Mann.  But I am certain that RL read Spengler and the critic lacks understanding of the Goethean notion of being and becoming, history as fiction, and reality as experience.

It's sad that a 30 year old author had no effective editor--  this work would have been THE--it remains just ONE but still as good as it gets.

I disagree with no idea in Raintree County, I have none of importance to add and it took me twice as long to get there.




Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 20, 2007, 10:15:52 PM
John...on Raintree County:  My kids are home until Thursday, then I will jump right in.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on August 20, 2007, 11:00:26 PM
John and Laurie,

Do you want Raintree County on the new poll for fiction? If so who is the author, RL?



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: johnr60 on August 20, 2007, 11:16:36 PM
weez

A lot of people talk about reading here== some just do it.  I recommend highly for you and anyone else, Raintree County by Ross Lockridge Jr.   If you must post it, be my guest.  I'd much rather you read it.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Charles on August 20, 2007, 11:43:01 PM
I'm sold!  It is now certainly on my list for reading sometime in the future, even if it dosn't get voted on or discussed here.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: liquidsilver on August 21, 2007, 09:16:22 AM
I just finished A Thousand Splendid Suns - excellent book about the plight of women in Afghanistan


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on August 21, 2007, 09:25:51 AM
John,

I would be remiss in my responsibilities as a poll manager for the only two reading boards which seem to enjoy choosing a book for common reading. But, I also listed the book on my "to buy" list which will soon be used to make an order since I am about finished with all I have had on hand. At this stage of my life, I tend more to the reading of history than fiction, but have been a great fan of fiction for much of my earlier years. The reading of history has a practical side in that I enjoy writing historical fiction for young readers and find that age has wiped out the details that are so essential to a good read for young people. Reading fiction is a flight of fancy from my more pedantic reading needs. I do hope that Raintree County is not set in the south, since I have lived in "the south" for some forty years now, and, seeing the adherence to the old glory days in its inglorious modern rendition makes the flights of fancy on that subject more dreary than entertaining.  


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on August 21, 2007, 09:27:11 AM
Liquid,

Will add your latest read to my list for the next poll. Please tell me the author so I don't have to look it up. Much appreciated!


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: liquidsilver on August 21, 2007, 09:38:26 AM
Khaled Hosseini - he wrote The Kite Runner


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on August 21, 2007, 10:05:09 AM
Thanks, liquid,

I hope to get a new poll started before the first of September. I was reminded last night that a deadline is approaching for an editing and a writing task, so I will only collect titles and authors for this week. Thanks for posting the author's name. It saves me having to look it up.



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Donotremove on August 21, 2007, 12:02:18 PM
Liquid, I read A Thousand Splendid Suns myself, a while back, and I enjoyed Hosseini's writing.  The story, nowever, told me stuff I really didn't want to hear.  But now that I've heard it I never read or think about Afghanistan the same way as I did before. Reading Planet of Slums the plight of women and children was cited over and over, and how their frail shoulders bear the heaviest burden in the world of poverty created by corporate raiders, world governments, and male domination.

I am also interested in reading the Michael Chabon book about Yiddish policemen in Alaska.  I haven't yet.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: bosox18d on August 22, 2007, 03:04:30 AM
johnr60,now there's a name I haven't seen in a long time from the old NYTimes forums.I haven't been reading much fiction this summer.Last one read was Halldor Laxness"Iceland's Bell" though I think his"Independent People" would be a good book to gab about.My fiction pile has two  Alan Furst novels up next.Not classic lit but no one is better at what Furst does.Very atmospheric novels of Europe on the edge of WW2.Not deep in plot but so well written and detailed.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Donotremove on August 22, 2007, 03:27:40 AM
Bo, Halldor Laxness was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1955.  I have a First Edition of Independent People that I handle very carefully when I read it.  Excellent writing.  The Icelandic peoples read an extraordinary amount of books each year.  Books of all genre and in so many different languages translated in to Icelandic is staggering.  Icelanders seem to be well adjusted and happy for all the time they have to spend indoors, under lights, because of the winters and dark periods.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: bosox18d on August 22, 2007, 03:42:53 AM
I also have "World Light" by Laxness on the shelf but it may be a ways off from the pile.Nnyhav is also a Laxness fan.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on August 22, 2007, 10:02:44 AM
I've seen three titles given for Laxness. Would those fans of this writer consider making a single recommendation to be included in the next poll, or should I include all three title and let the votes fall as they may?



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: johnr60 on August 22, 2007, 10:25:48 AM
Nice to see you bo.  Any Icelander should be good reading--and a nice segue into a little Longfellow I didn't know existed:

THE BROKEN OAR

Once upon Iceland's solitary strand
A poet wandered with his book and pen,
Seeking some final word, some sweet Amen,
Wherewith to close the volume in his hand.
The billows rolled and plunged upon the sand,
The circling sea-gulls swept beyond his ken,
And from the parting cloud-rack now and then
Flashed the red sunset over sea and land.
Then by the billows at his feet was tossed
A broken oar; and carved thereon he read,
"Oft was I weary, when I toiled at thee";
And like a man, who findeth what was lost,
He wrote the words, then lifted up his head,
And flung his useless pen into the sea.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 22, 2007, 11:04:18 AM
JohnR (and anyone else who is looking at Raintree County)....Probably shouldn't post another poem here, but yours reminds me:  Are you familiar with the Neruda that references Lockridge?

I WISH THE WOODCUTTER
WOULD WAKE UP


West of the Colorado River
there's a place I love.
I take refuge there with everything alive
in me, with everything
that I have been, that I am, that I believe in.
Some high red rocks are there, the wild
air with its thousand hands
has turned them into human buildings.
The blind scarlet rose from the depths
and changed in these rocks to copper, fire, and energy.
America spread out like a buffalo skin,
light and transparent night of galloping,
near your high places covered with stars
I drink down your cup of green dew.


Yes, through acrid Arizona and Wisconsin full of knots,
as far as Milwaukee, raised to keep back the wind and the
       snow
or in the burning swamps of West Palm,
near the pine trees of Tacoma, in the thick odor
of your forests which is like steel,
I walked weighing down the mother earth,
blue leaves, waterfalls of stones,
hurricanes vibrating as all music does,
rivers that muttered prayers like monasteries,
geese and apples, territories and waters,
infinite silence in which the wheat could be born.


I was able there, in my deep stony core, to stretch my
     eyes, ears, hands,
far out into the air until I heard
books, locomotives, snow, battles,
factories, cemeteries, footsteps, plants,
and the moon on a ship from Manhattan,
the song of the machine that is weaving,
the iron spoon that eats the earth,
the drill that strikes like a condor,
and everything that cuts, presses, sews:
creatures and wheels repeating themselves and being
     born.


I love the farmer's small house. New mothers are asleep
with a good smell like the sap of the tamarind, clothes
just ironed. Fires are burning in a thousand homes,
with drying onions hanging around the fireplace.
(When they are singing near the river the men's voices
are deep as the stones at the river bottom;
and tobacco rose from its wide leaves
and entered these houses like a spirit of the fire.)
Come deeper into Missouri, look at the cheese and the
     flour,
the boards aromatic and red as violins,
the man moving like a ship among the barley,
the blue-black colt just home from a ride smells
the odor of bread and alfalfa:
bells, poppies, blacksmith shops,
and in the rundown movies in the small towns
love opens its mouth full of teeth
in a dream born of the earth.
What we love is your peace, not your mask.
Your warrior's face is not handsome.
North America, you are handsome and spacious.
You come, like a washerwoman, from
a simple cradle, near your rivers, pale.
Built up from the unknown,
what is sweet in you is your hivelike peace.


We love the man with his hands red
from the Oregon clay, your Negro boy
who brought you the music born
in his country of tusks: we love
your city, your substance,
your light, your machines, the energy
of the West, the harmless
honey from hives and little towns,
the huge farmboy on his tractor,
the oats which you inherited
from Jefferson, the noisy wheel
that measures your oceanic earth,
the factory smoke and the kiss,
the thousandth, of a new colony:
what we love is your workingman's blood:
your unpretentious hand covered with oil.


For years now under the prairie night
in a heavy silence on the buffalo skin
syllables have been asleep, poems
about what I was before I was born, what we were.
Melville is a sea fir, the curve of the keel
springs from his branches, an arm
of timber and ship. Whitman impossible to count
as grain, Poe in his mathematical
darkness, Dreiser, Wolfe,
fresh wounds of our own absence,
Lockridge more recently, all bound to the depths,
how many others, bound to the darkness:
over them the same dawn of the hemisphere burns,
and out of them what we are has come.
Powerful foot soldiers, blind captains,
frightened at times among actions and leaves,
checked in their work by joy and by mourning,
under the plains crossed by traffic,
how many dead men in the fields never visited before:
innocent ones tortured, prophets only now published,
on the buffalo skin of the prairies.


From France, and Okinawa, and the atolls
of Leyte (Norman Mailer has written it out)
and the infuriated air and the waves,
almost all the men have come back now,
almost all . . . The history of mud and sweat
was green and sour; they did not hear
the singing of the reefs long enough
and perhaps never touched the islands, those wreaths of
     brilliance and perfume,
except to die:
                    dung and blood
hounded them, the filth and the rats,
and a fatigued and ruined heart that went on fighting.
But they have come back,
                                         you have received them
into the immensity of the open lands
and they have closed (those who came back) like a flower
with thousands of nameless petals
to be reborn and forget.

(1948)


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: sevrox on August 22, 2007, 11:13:48 AM
Has _The Kite Runner_ or _Thousand Splendid Suns_ been hashed over yet? Hosseini is one incredible author. Takes one's emotions up then dashes them down than up and down, back again, and then concludes by showing there is actually hope for humans. Good Stuff!


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: bosox18d on August 22, 2007, 02:25:57 PM
Dear Weezo,Independent People would be the book but I am not planning on joining in a reading group next month.It was just Fiction talk.Thanks


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on August 23, 2007, 03:02:08 AM
(http://images.tribe.net/tribe/upload/photo/e6b/835/e6b83584-c3ad-413f-b5bd-68f3e85d2c1b)

Some Notes on the Black Angel

The Black Angel
by Carl Corley
French Line Novels
1968, 148 pages

I was shocked—simply shocked!

I’ve never been so shocked and ashamed of myself in my whole life! Reading Carl Corley’s The Black Angel made me depressed not only about blaxploitation pulp fiction—but The Black Angel also made me feel totally ashamed about being dinge queen as well…for about a minute.

"He stood at least seven feet tall, or seemed so to the Black Angel who, even in his delirium, could not shift his gaze from his presence, his sensual maleness. His head had been shaved, rings were in his ears, and his deep brown eyes looked down on the bed with molten liquid in their dark, endless depths. He was naked except for wide belt and a pale green crotch sling of translucent silk which hung loosely in the straddle of his enormous thighs, its thin folds sagging under the ponderous weight of his prick and balls, like a sack of melons, and when he moved this weight shifted sensuously, and showed the exact contours of his organ. On each side of the sling, which narrowed as it went under his balls and came up behind deep in the crease of his buttocks to his waist, a broth of black wooly hair protruded attractively and advertised his potentials. His skin shone like a golden urn and was emblazoned with heavy veins which ran up his arms and down his thighs like webs, adding much to his powerful strength and his maleness."

It was like having my beads read by my worst queenly critic—mimicking me with wicked pulp fiction satire. It was like the death of a thousand cuts—but I couldn’t help myself. I simply had to read more of this shameless book.

"And this giant, glowing with hard sinewy strength, rebellious and malicious where the former slave had been passive, obedient, the very picture of maleness?animal maleness?brutal ferocity, was the personification of the tribal?modern slave. Denied of all liberties, even his desperation for privacy and freedom, even sex, a forced neuter, his loins forever burning with un told and fathomless lusts, his every brawn and sinew screamed for passion and relief....So fierce was this invisible force about him that it reached out across the bed and pulled the Black Angel into its ferocious spell. Even in his illness, he wanted this Negro, wanted his body, even more so that he was a bond slave, of which he could do with as he pleased, this idea, this realization within itself adding to his sexual urge, to siphon all the rebellion out of this giant, shadowy body through his great reproductive organ, into his own mouth and into his own belly, giving him strength, power, stimulation."

I was so embarrassed reading these passages from pages 121-125 of the chapter entitled “The Ninth Day” that I had to force myself to stop reading the book. For about a minute. I had to keep reading some more—even though Corley’s lurid prose seemed so full of shameless literary blaxploitation.

"His gaze wandered corruptively over the slave's groin, saw with a wild tremor all that lush, meat hanging invitingly in its pale green sling, ripe, mellow for the sucking. He wanted that hot juice he knew lay in that golden skinned body. "Yes. Yes." the Black Angel stopped playing with himself and gave the naked slave before him a wanton look. Judan stood then, his powerful arms folded akimbo, his legs spread, his shadowy gaze fixed on the Black Angel. "I want you. Want to suck you. Please!" the Black Angel cried, in a pleading, rasping voice. He had to have this male, and in his craving, he flung all reserve aside and made his intentions plain, gross."

Naturally I couldn’t help but think of myself—and my recent interest in ‘70s blaxploitation movies like Shaft and Scream, Blacula, Scream!!! Corley’s prose seemed so gauche and extravagantly florid—so totally uncouth and politically incorrect...

"Lifting a hand, he ran it slowly up the inner thighs of Judan, noticing with delight that he did not flinch, nor did he give any indication of not wanting to be fondled. Then, running his hand over his organ, he gloried in its firmness wrapped in its thin sheeting of gauze, could feel its head, its stem growing under the power of his touch. He trembled. In fact, every vein and sinew throbbed at a full pulse. Boldly now, not looking into Judan's eyes, be unfastened the clasp and let the piece of thin green cloth slide to the floor. His gaze froze as he raked his eyes over the huge prick that hung like an elephant's from its base of thick black wool. The head was huge, almost the size of his fist, and glowed dully purple."

The more I read the more convulsed with pain and laughter I became—every funny bone in my body hurt. The more Corley’s The Black Angel I read—the more I hurt all over.
 
"He could not deny himself any longer. It was too much for him to resist, whether Judan approved or disapproved. Embracing Judan's thighs in both arms, he lifted his body up and sucked the enormous virile hunk of meat into his mouth. Like one gone mad in the throes of erotomania, he pulled with his lips, stretching the long stem down to him wantonly, lolled his warm tongue around the rim of its head, sucked, pulled, groped, hanging, clinging to the great chestnut?colored frame as if be clung for his own life, as if the hardening prick was his life, and he must cling to it frantically, or fall into oblivion."

What language! I couldn’t help myself—I was simply appalled by the audacity and sheer gaucherie of Corley’s language in this gay pulp fiction novel. Surely he wasn’t serious—surely he was writing all that pulpy crap with tongue in cheek. Quickie novels for a few bucks. All 22 of them...there in the Cornel Rare Book Room...

"Judan, worked up now, his bondage abandoned to something untamed and wild and free, began to work his pelvis back and forth. Reaching down, he grabbed the Black Angel by the nape of his neck, and began to drive his prick in and out, back and forth, faster now, then as in a frenzy....Sweat poured from his chest, gleamed from his nipples and the dark area around them ran in wild relentless streams down his chest, and into his wooly pubic hair, It slickened his thighs, and bathed him as be worked his body in unison with the Black Angel's lips, pulling, pulling, gripping, stripping with his tongue every nerve in the long dark stem."

The more Corley I read the more I realized something about ‘70s blaxploitation. It was a vague idea at first, but then it slowly got clearer the more Corley I read.

"They were in a gross frenzy now, struggling, grunting, growling like beaten animals and, coming to a peak in their movement, Judan spermed, flooding the Angel's mouth with fertile liquid. The Black Angel, still on his knees, still clinging to Judan's pulsating thighs, drank the hot sperm as if he was famished. It kept coming, flowing into his mouth, over his lolling tongue, as Judan drove his groin back and forth, slow, lovingly, slower now, then coming to a rigid halt, as the last precious drops slid down the Angel's throat and into his heaving guts."

I burst out laughing. How incredibly camp—how exquisitely perverted. I realized then how impossible it was to return to the ‘70s—those blaxploitation years of Shaft, Super Fly and Scream, Blacula, Scream!!!

It was a unique time when the image of African-Americans on the screen was changing. Blacks were suddenly being portrayed in Hollywood outside the usual historical stereotypes of the past. In many ways the heroes of ‘70s blaxploitation cinema were like ghetto James Bond types vs. the “Man” and the system.

Corley’s The Black Angel in many ways is like blaxploitative cinema. The male hustler of “The Ninth Day” is a black man—exploited and portrayed as a sex-slave. At the end of the chapter, he rebels against “the Man” like Shaft, Super Fly and Blacula. Judan, the black sex-slave in The Black Angel rebels and stabs the so-called black angel to death.

Michael Bronski mentions in Pulp Friction that “while the story’s eroticism is sexually explicit, the use of the black-angel image is mystifying.”

It doesn’t really seem that mystifying to me—Judan the sex slave is actually the black angel. Shaft, Super Fly & Blacula are also black angels of blaxploitation—struggling within this genre to keep a straight face.

There’s a certain irony and satire to blaxploitation and much queer Southern pulp fiction—the exaggerated plots and characters serve as a self-parodying performance art... and I'm all for that.


 


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: johnr60 on August 23, 2007, 10:45:16 AM
reader et al

I was unaware of that poem until just the other day.  RLJ's use of the line seemed to refer to something classical and connected with Venus (sea born she is often seen with fisherman's tools).  Note HWL's line is in quotes and uses AT==RLJ is WITH.  My memory of the river scenes has the ladies always stroking oars.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on August 23, 2007, 04:40:02 PM
Troll Lit

I think Detective_Winslow is in love with me.
We had a couple of love-spats and cat-fights over
in the Gay forum. He was kicking gays both dead &
alive for aids. Then he pops up in Meander—kicking
the poor defenseless pet-lovers. I put him in Ignore—
and the next thing I know he’s stalking me in the
Poetry forum. He’s done the same thing in the Kinks
forum—calling people bad sexist racist names.

I don’t know—I seem to attract ugly Trolls.
Trolvig back in the Book Lounge—then there's that
ever-present Troll from Campbelltown PA. There was
even a gang of tacky homophobic haikuists from
Scotland—mincing around in their kilts. Mad because
I posted a couple of gay haiku. After all, it was the
New York Times “Urban Haiku” forum—and NYC
is the gay capitol of the world. How ironic to be
trashed by a bunch of gay-bashers in kilts from jolly
old England. But then look what they did to Oscar Wilde…

Troll lit is alive and well—a constant subtext
even on the Internet. Trolls like Detective_Winslow
are dime a dozen—the proverbial skunk at the picnic.
And does he stink!!! He stinks so bad that...


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Charles on August 23, 2007, 04:53:53 PM
I'm confused.  Is that bragging or complaining?


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on August 23, 2007, 05:06:35 PM
(http://content.answers.com/main/content/wp/en/thumb/8/89/300px-Oscar_Wilde_frock_coat.jpg)


I give, my dear. What do you think?


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on August 23, 2007, 05:50:08 PM
Absalom, Absalom would be a temptation.

"The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it... I can resist everything but temptation."
Oscar Wilde


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: nnyhav on August 24, 2007, 08:54:02 AM
I also have "World Light" by Laxness on the shelf but it may be a ways off from the pile.Nnyhav is also a Laxness fan.

World Light I haven't yet read ... tempting ...
http://www.raintaxi.com/online/2003spring/laxness.shtml

But Happy Warriors was recommended as next by my next door neighbor, who happens to hail from there.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: bosox18d on August 24, 2007, 01:46:09 PM
Dave,Raintaxi looks like a good review site.Have added it to favorites list,Thanks ;D


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: bosox18d on August 24, 2007, 01:52:54 PM
Dave, just a quick look at ABE and Amazon I don't see that title.Any links?


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: nnyhav on August 24, 2007, 04:07:36 PM
Sorry, The Happy Warriors translation is prolly outtaprint. I'll have to borrow from next door myself ...


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: bosox18d on August 24, 2007, 04:52:09 PM
Tell your neighbor to take care of it.I was spelling Halldor with only one L on ABE.When I did it right three copies show up.All from 1958 and it appears British.The first two are going for 258.00 and 275.00.The third one signed by Laxness is going for 1.750.00.


Title: Re: Reading Absalom
Post by: pugetopolis on August 24, 2007, 10:09:19 PM
Question: Which book would you prefer to read and discuss next on the Fiction board? 

Well, I'm sort of interested in Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom.

The first time I read it back in the early '60s at LSU it was so frustrating for me. I glanced thru the Cliff Notes version the other day just for the fun of it...and I doubt if it would have helped me back then.

Those long stream-of-consciousness Faulknerian italicized sentences that went on and on -- I had the same trouble with them in The Sound and the Fury. There was one sentence that went on & on for a mile or two...my ability to concentrate back then wasn't that good anyway. And Faulkner didn't help much...

I read in one of his biographies that Faulkner's original plan was to have multi-colored texts for the different speakers and different streams-of-consciousness narratives with The Sound and the Fury ...but the publishers said it was impossible; so they settled for italics instead to help the reader with the interior dialog sentences. (???????)

Nevertheless the "Benjy" section of The Sound and the Fury threw me for a loop...it almost got me flunked out of college and sent to Viet Nam. Ever since I've had this love-hate relationship with Faulkner -- but especially Absalom, Absalom. LSU was still segregated back then...most of the African-Americans worked in the cafeterias, in the dorms or down by the Mississippi levee on the cane plantation. The university had a major in sugar technology...and there were these big tall cane fields south of campus. It was like endless fields of bamboo and one could smell the sugar cane factory for miles around...

Over the years I've got more mature and I can read Faulkner now. I don't know why...perhaps I've got more time to luxuriate with the long languid decadent prose and melancholy Southern moods. Living down there helps me now to better appreciate what the Deep South was and still is to a certain extent.

Hoffman and I are talking a little bit about Absalom, Absalom in Meander...and Desdemona and I are kinda talking about it over in Creative Writing. Over in Creative Writing it's not so much reportage and discursive prose...it's more like doing Faulkner rather than talking about his work. Well, I dunno, maybe it's a little of both.

Please find next a little piece I put together of Faulkner quotes from Absalom, Absalom. Desdemona and I are sort of retelling Absalom, Absalom from her family's point of view. It's not meant to be serious stuff...it's more like writing pulp fiction.

I guess Faulkner read a lot of pulp fiction, True Detective magazines, things like that...when he was writing Sanctuary for some money to keep a roof over his head. He said it was a pot-boiler but it's more than that of course. But he read a lot of pulp fiction and mystery stories to research that little gem. Plus he helped to do the screenplay for Raymond Chandler and The Big Sleep...

So these quotes I've strung together sort of segue into Desdemona's faux-family history...although a lot of it isn't that fauxy. My own Southern decadent imagination gets carried away sometimes...like with The Black Angel Review. Gay pulp fiction was big time back in the '50s and '60s...when the rules for publishing and movies were loosening up. Many of those paperbacks like the novels by Carl Corley are worth plenty today. Bolerium Press down in SF has a big catalog full of them...and the Cornell Library Rare Book Room has a long list of pulp fiction classics.

The quotes I've taken from Absalom, Absalom fit into the Desdemona text...which may not interest anybody over here in Fiction. I'm a devoted Reader of Faulkner though now...and for some reason reading him again after all these years makes me want to write like him a little bit.

Nothing serious or profound...just a little bit of entertainment like the Yoknapawtapha imitation contest. Kinda, sorta....



Title: Re: Reading Absalom
Post by: pugetopolis on August 24, 2007, 10:13:10 PM
Absalom Absalom

“And now,” Shreve said, “we’re going to talk about love.”

“Henry was learning from him how to lounge about a bedroom in a gown and slippers such as women wore, to a faint though unmistakable effluvium of scent such as women used, smoking a cigar almost as a woman might smoke it…with an air of indolent and lethal assurance…”

“…like a cat—cosmopolitan New Orleans…his own inherited and heritable Florentine lamps and gilded toilet seats and tufted mirrors…”

“…champagne in the octoroon’s boudoir…”

“…aping his clothing carriage speech and all…”

“…the cosmopolite ten years the youth’s senior almost, lounging in one of the silk robes the like of which the youth had never seen before and believed that only women wore…”

“…watching the youth blush fiery red yet still face him, still look him straight in the eye while he fumbled, groped, blurted with abrupt complete irrelevance: “If I had a brother…I would want him to be older than me…and I would want him to be just like you…”

“Is that so?” said Bon.

“That young clodhopper bastard. How shall I get rid of him…”

“And who to say if it wasn’t maybe the possibility of incest, because who…has been in love and not discovered the vain evanescence of the fleshly encounter…”

“…Bon telling himself I not only don’t know what it is I want but apparently I am a good deal younger than I thought…”

“…he looked at Henry’s face and thought, not there but for the intervening leaven of that blood which we do not have in common is my skull, my brow, sockets, shape and angle of jaw and chin and some of my thinking behind it, and which he would see in my face in his turn if he but knew to look as I know…”

“…there just behind a little, obscured a little by that alien blood whose admixing was necessary in order that he exist is the face of the face of the man who shaped us both out of that blind chancy darkness which we call the future…”

“…there—there—at any moment, second, I shall penetrate by something of will and intensity and dreadful need, and stip that alien leavening from it and look not on my brother’s face whom I did not know I possessed and hence never missed, but my father’s, out of the shadow of whose absence my spirit’s posthumeity has never escaped…”

“That’s all I want. He need not even acknowledge me; I will let him understand just as quickly that he need not do that, that I do not expect that, will not be hurt by that, just as he will let me know that quickly that I am his son…”

“…and saw face to face the man who might be his father, and nothing happened—no shock, no hot communicated flesh that speech would have been too slow even to impede—nothing.”

“Bon watching him and listening to him and thinking It’s because I don’t know myself what I am going to do and so he is aware that I am undecided without knowing that he is aware. Perhaps if I told him now that I am going to do it, he would know his own mind and tell me. You shall not…”

“Now. Now. Now. It will come now. It will come this time, and I am young, young, because I still don’t know what I am going to do.”

“And he spent ten days there, not only the esoteric, the sybarite, the steel blade in the silken tessellated sheath which Henry had begun to ape at the University…”

“…but the object of art, the mold and mirror of form and fashion”

“until he disappeared, taking Henry with him, and she never saw him again and war and trouble and grief…”

“So that now over the frozen December ruts of that Christmas eve: four of them and then just two—Charles-Shreve and Quentin-Henry…”

“…because he must have now understood with complete despair the secret of his whole attitude toward Bon from the first instinctive moment when he had seen him a year and a quarter ago…”

“So it was four of them who rode the two horses through that night and then across the bright frosty North Mississippi Christmas day…”

“Henry knew but still did not believe…”

“Four of them there, in that room in new Orleans in 1860…”

“…four of them who sat in that drawing room of baroque and fusty magnificence which Shreve had invented and which was probably true enough…”

“…the Haiti-born daughter of the French sugar planter…”

“…the blue unwinded wood smoke standing above the plastered chimneys of the slave quarters, to the River and the steamboat…”

“Four of them there, in that room in New Orleans in 1860, just as in a sense there were four of them here in this tomblike room in Massachusetts in 1910...”

“…the octoroon and the child would have been to Henry only something else about Bon to be not envied but aped if that had been possible, if there had been time and peace to ape in…”

“…two young embattled spirits…”

“…peace not between men of the same race and nation but peace between two young embattled spirits and the incontrovertible fact which embattled them…”

“… Bon took Henry to see the octoroon and Henry looked at her and said, “Ain’t that enough for you?” and Bo said, “Do you ant it to be enough?”

“…and then that spring with Lincoln elected and the Alabama convention and the south began to draw out of the Union…”

“…and Henry and Bon already decided to go…because after all you don’t waste a war…”

“Jesus, think of them. Because Bon would know what Henry was doing, just as he had always know what Henry was thinking since that first day when they had looked at one another…”

“They did not retreat from the cold. They both bore it as though in deliberate flagellant exaltation of physical misery transmogrified into the spirits’ travail of the two young men during that time fifty years ago…”

“Henry citing himself authority for incest, talking about his Duke John of Lorraine…”

“…as if he hoped possibly to evoke that condemned and excommunicated shade to tell him in person that it was all right, as people before and since have tried to evoke god or devil to justify them in what their glands insisted upon…”

“…the two the four the two facing one another in the tomblike room…”

“Quentin, the Southerner, the morose and delicate offspring of rain and steamy heat…”

“…your illusions are part of you like your bones and flesh and memory…”

“…the old mindless sentient undreaming meat that doesn’t even know any difference between despair and victory…”

“…since neither Henry and Bon, anymore than Quentin and Shreve, were the first young men to believe that wars were sometimes created for the sole aim of settling youth’s private difficulties and discontents.”

“Quentin could have spoken now, but Quentin did not.”

“…and Henry: Write. Write. Write.”

“…that quality of delicacy about the bones, articulation, which even at twenty still had something about it, some last echo about it, of adolescence…”

“—So it’s the miscegenation, not the incest, which you can’t bear.”

“You are my brother…”

“Do it now, Henry,” he says…

“Bon does not move beneath the gripping hands; he sits motionless, with his faint fixed grimace; his voice is gentler than that first breath in which the pine branches begin to move a little..”

“I don’t know,” Quentin said.

“But I know. And you know too. Don’t you? Don’t you, huh?”

“Yes,” Quentin said…

“Come on,” Shreve said. “Lets get out of this refrigerator and go to bed.”

—William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom, New York: Vintage, 1990


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 24, 2007, 10:32:06 PM
Pugetopolis.... :D :D :D

But on a more serious note.  Take a look at Quentin, all on his own.  Self/Other all in one neurotic package.  Brother/Lover/Norther/Souther.  Add the interesting idea of Shreve as observer....Why ask "Why do you hate the South?"  when what he really meant was "Why do you hate yourself?"

Why does Jason Compson send Quentin to Harvard?  To learn to be what he is not? or to learn to accept what he is?  Either way, they all pester him about the south, and Quentin is like a fish out of water.  (A bit of an irony that three months later, Quentin.....)


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on August 24, 2007, 11:01:27 PM
Argghhhhh!

I just wrote a very long stream of consciousness of being a transplanted Yankee in Virginia, was cautioned that there was a new message, and blew it away instead of sending it.

Puget, You posted the best recommendation I've seen to consider re-visiting Faulkner. At sometime earlier in my life, I put a caution in my brain not to bother with him, but the pieces you shared make me want to re-consider.

I had wandered far afield into my experiences as a Yankee who moved to the South, that is not considered the South by those in the deep south, but is considered southern enough for an accept that amuses folks when I return to Yankee land.

I will repeat that moving to the south caused me to re-evaluate my morality especially related to race, and I've kept a high standard which I successfully imbued in my second husband, a native-born Virginian. When he tells me about telling folks at a gathering who use the "n" term, that most of the "N's" he knows are white, I know that the ways of the south are changing under my feet.

On another day, I will re-l about my neighbors, colored folks who have lived on the land he earned by his service in WWII as a presser of white-man uniforms. They are in their nineties, and point us out to family as their "white" neighbors who "look out for them". I would prefer the term "white" not to be in their repertouire, but respect the fact that it is the reality. We are not the only "white neighbors" who "look out for them". A man came to our house often last winter, telling us he would be hunting squirrels on the land behind ours (and within earshot), to give to these old folks. In talking with Bertha, I learned they do not like squirrel, and give them to family and friends in exchange for other stuff, but the effort is greatly appreciated. We usually take them a thanksgiving dinner, and sometime one for Christmas, depending on what is happening here.



Title: Re: Reading Absalom
Post by: pugetopolis on August 25, 2007, 03:52:26 AM
"This crucial difference between the urgent historical and political imperatives of post-colonialsim and post-modernism's relative detachment makes for altogether different approaches and results, although some overlap between them (in the technique of "magical realism," for example) does exist."--Edward Said, Orientalism, 349.

Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom is a magical realism novel -- like the novels and works of Borges and the other South American magical realists.

The HBO series Carnival is magical realism as well. The same with Dunn's Geek Love.

Said sees magical realism as the bridge between postcolonialism and postmodernism.

In other words, the Other is a "construction" of reality -- like Quentin and Shreve reconstructing the Sutpen Dynasty in their dormatory room. Fifty years after it happened. This Faulknerikan reconstruction of the Other isn't just a postcolonial or postmodern academic exercise; rather Faulkner's Other is both realistic and magical for both these two young undergraduates at Harvard.

Faulkner uses magical realism in Absalom, Absalom to create/reconstruct his own family's apocryphal history. This is especially true with Absalom, Absalom -- truly a stunning philoprogenitive journey into the heart of darkness...









Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 25, 2007, 11:58:20 AM
Continuum in Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom

http://laurieh12.blogspot.com/ (http://laurieh12.blogspot.com/)


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 25, 2007, 02:04:47 PM
Quote
In other words, the Other is a "construction" of reality -- like Quentin and Shreve reconstructing the Sutpen Dynasty in their dormatory room. Fifty years after it happened. This Faulknerikan reconstruction of the Other isn't just a postcolonial or postmodern academic exercise; rather Faulkner's Other is both realistic and magical for both these two young undergraduates at Harvard.


"MEMORY likes to play hide-and-seek, to crawl away. It tends to hold forth, to dress up, often needlessly. Memory contradicts itself; pedant that it is, it will have its way.

When pestered with questions, memory is like an onion that wishes to be peeled so we can read what is laid bare letter by letter. It is seldom unambiguous and often in mirror-writing or other disguised.

Beneath its dry and crackly outer skin we find another, more moist layer, that once detached, reveals a third, beneath which a fourth and fifth wait whispering. And each skin sweats words too long muffled, and curlicue signs, as if a mystery-monger from an early age, while the onion was still germinating, had decided to encode himself.

Then ambition raises its head: this scrawl must be deciphered, that code cracked. What currently insists on truth is disproved, because Lie or her younger sister, Deception, often hands over only the most acceptable part of a memory...." (Grass, Peeling the Onion)


Title: Re: Reading Absalom
Post by: pugetopolis on August 25, 2007, 02:31:28 PM

 What currently insists on truth is disproved, because Lie or her younger sister, Deception, often hands over only the most acceptable part of a memory...." (Grass, Peeling the Onion)[/i]

Grass certainly is aware of Lie and her younger sister Deception -- at least according to his critics who dish him for concealing his youthful SS involvement during the war.

But then what about Frey and his tacky Million Little Pieces fake-autobiography or OJ and his faux-bio that was yanked from Barnes & Noble etc and yet he ended up with a million or so in royalty checks and interview fees.

Autobiography is a literary racket like anything else. Just ask Oprah and her minions of trusting dopey readers.

The more clever writers like Nabokov disguise it better with Lolitaesque masks...

The same with Faulkner -- do the words "apocryphal" and "philoprogenitive" ring a bell?





Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 25, 2007, 07:16:26 PM
Magical realism....I had looked at it more as a literary dissertation on memory.  But could be I need to expand my thinking on magical realism.  There is the idea of viewing the past from a distant perspective (Faulkner makes a point of taking Quentin out of the South), and the only Sutpen that exists is the Sutpen that Quentin has constructed/reconstructed.  Do we read  Henry and Charles' meeting as magical/miraculous or as coincidence?   Faulkner (through Quentin and Shreve) goes to a lot of trouble to explain it (that the reader might suspend disbelief?).  Do we look at the decline of the South and the Sutpens through Shreve's eyes or through Quentin's?  Quentin has left the South and is struggling with his past, but it certainly would seem less otherworldly to him than to Shreve.

Faulkner could be read as philoprogenitor of Marquez.  Both give us tales of the human struggle with moral and social decay; both set the struggle in a miniature  of the cosmos set up to represent the whole.

 



Title: Re: Reading Absalom
Post by: pugetopolis on August 25, 2007, 09:44:29 PM

Magical realism....I had looked at it more as a literary dissertation on memory.  But could be I need to expand my thinking on magical realism. 

Director Rodrigo Garcia helped with Carnivàle (2003)—he's the son of Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Márquez.

Read any Gabriel Garcia Márquez? Magic realism el supremo.

Rodrigo Garcia has directed episodes for Sopranos, Six Feet Under and Six Degrees.

In the second season boxed HBO Carnivàle seaon there are 3 audio commentaries with Creator Daniel Knauf, Executive Producer Howard Klein, Director Rodrigo Garcia and cast members Clancy Brown and Clea Duvall.

Then there is a special feature on “Magic and Myth: The Meaning of Carnivàle”—a half-hour documentary exploring the apocalyptic writing and mythology behind the show. Interviews with the creator, executive producer, and writers and directors of the show to get their take on the magic realism, as well as independent contributors who have examined the show's characters and the archetypal roles they represent.

A commentator at the Internet Movie Data Base page mentioned something interesting that many viewers noticed: “The show's ultimate strength is the presentation of its visual tones, the lighting in particular is eerily beautiful. Most scenes are lit in reminiscence of the Italian Renaissance painting technique "chiaroscuro," in which figures stand with an almost goldenish glow in stark contrast to the dark surroundings and or backgrounds. This is most obvious in scenes of Brother Justin at home with his sister Iris (Amy Madigan). These golden tones give the overall series a cohesive thematic. This is one of the strongest atmospheric shows I've ever seen on television. Furthermore, the grittiness and downright dirtiness of a poor traveling carnival through the dustbowls of America's Midwest is developed by the show's creators as yet another layer of ambiance. The characters appear dirtier and sweatier each progressing episode as they travel further south.”

I'm watching the series again this weekend, girding my loins for the new Depression coming up.

According to the Countrywide CEO, we're heading into a really bad recession. This is after a $2 billion loan from Bank of America to keep them afloat.

The Depression and Dust Bowl of the Thirties = Carnivàle redux.

I get to be Dr. Lotz...
 
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20405745/




Title: Re: Reading Absalom
Post by: pugetopolis on August 25, 2007, 10:24:20 PM
Magic Realism

“I don’t care much for facts, am not much interested in them, you can’t stand a fact up, you got to prop it up, and when you move to one side a little and look at it from that angle, it’s not thick enough to cast a shadow in that direction.”—William Faulkner to Malcolm Cowley

(“As we read these words, written more than forty years ago, in the 1980s, we see how Faulkner created such joy for generations of great Latin-American novelists. That “disregard” for fact gave him weight and standing, since idea, conception, strategy were all. Garcia Márquez, Fuentes, Vargas Llosa, Donoso, and before them all, Borges, could create their invented worlds out of Faulkner’s “I don’t care much for facts.”—Frederick R. Karl, William Faulkner: American Writer, New York: Ballantine: 1989, 739.)



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 26, 2007, 02:05:35 AM
Quote
Read any Gabriel Garcia Márquez? Magic realism el supremo.

That's my problem here.  I read Marquez before I read Faulkner.  The story that comes to mind is A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings.  In the first paragraph, Marquez describes the weather, the abundance of the crab catch, worries over a newborn baby and a very old man with enormous wings found facedown in the mud.  The couple who discover the old man are so filled with pity than they have no room for awe.  The old man is accepted (although the couple uses him to their financial advantage)...no questions, as if these out-of-the-ordinary experiences occurred everyday.   (For me, the essence of magical realism is found in this image:  an angel found facedown in the mud...the  miraculous interfacing with the mundane.... [in Carnivale it's Sofie and Ben in the back of the truck..."thunderbooming."])

Marquez has commented that he was influenced by Faulkner, but he has also denied this influence.  The big similarities I see are Oxford/Yoknapatawpha Aracarata/Macondo and themes related to moral and social decline.  And there is the post War South seen in the light of a third world, or a world lost to decadence.

I think what I miss in Absalom, Absalom that would move it into the realm of magical realism is the element of the fantastic.  It may be related to my own perception of reality, but there isn't anything unreal about Quentin's narrative.  Sutpen doesn't seem to rise to the level of mythic.  (Possibly, I've known more than my share of truly trashy people  ;) ). 

But, just when I thought I was finished reading AA, I find I need to go back for another look. 

Question:  Is the element of the fantastic or miraculous intrinsic to the concept of magical realism? 



 


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 26, 2007, 02:15:57 AM
Quote
Then there is a special feature on “Magic and Myth: The Meaning of Carnivàle”—a half-hour documentary exploring the apocalyptic writing and mythology behind the show. Interviews with the creator, executive producer, and writers and directors of the show to get their take on the magic realism, as well as independent contributors who have examined the show's characters and the archetypal roles they represent.

Thanks for the reminder.  I think I'm going to have another look at those special features. 


Title: Re: Reading Absalom
Post by: pugetopolis on August 26, 2007, 05:43:02 AM

Question:  Is the element of the fantastic or miraculous intrinsic to the concept of magical realism? 
 

Magic realism to me is a kind of storytelling.

How to tell a magic realism story—that’s a story in itself.

It’s easier to show and tell—than theorize about it.

It’s not Carnivàle special effects like the Dust Storm or Professor Lodz’s mind-reading tricks.

It’s something else—it’s hard to explain…

Let me give you an example:

Message #593 is a string of Absalom, Absalom quotes .

They're about the Quentin Compson-Shreve McCannon narrative.

There in their Harvard dormitory room—delving back into the Sutpen Dynasty.

Quentin and Shreve discussing the relationship between Henry Sutpen and Charles Bon...

http://forums.escapefromelba.com/index.php/topic,34.msg26991.html#msg26991

The Quentin-Shreve relationship makes the storytelling real.

The dialog = the frame.

It makes the story real, believable, creditable and indistinguishable from what’s being told.

I did a magical realism spin on these quotes.

I used them to tell a new story.

Absalom Absalom—in a new way.

We’ve been doing this over in the Creative Writing forum.

Reconstructing Absalom along the lines of the Parton Dynasty suggested by Desdemona and Barton.

The magic realism involved is morphing these quotes into a new storyline.

About the Parton Family, Gordon Snopes and Jehosephat Parton.

Jehosephat = pinhead child idiot = Benjy in The Sound and the Fury.

Gordon Snopes = Flem Snopes etc.

It's called Go Down Jehosephat.






Title: Re: Reading Absalom
Post by: pugetopolis on August 26, 2007, 05:51:14 AM
(http://images.tribe.net/tribe/upload/photo/cc6/9a3/cc69a372-e079-4862-b973-bf2f413d5e46)

Go Down Jehosephat

“And now,” Gordon said, “we’re going to talk about money.”

Young Jehosephat was learning from Gordon how to lounge around a bedroom in a gown and slippers like women wore—with the faint though unmistakable effluvium of perfume like women wore— smoking a cigar almost like a woman might smoke—with an air of indolent and lethal assurance…

Jehosephat was becoming a kept boy—there in cosmopolitan New Orleans. Amidst the Florentine lamps and gilded toilet seats and tufted mirrors…

Sipping champagne in octoroon boudoirs…aping Gordon’s clothing, carriage, speech and all…

The cosmopolitan Jehosephat, lounging in one of the silk robes the like of which he’d never seen before and believed that only women wore…

Gordon watched young Jehosephat blush fiery red yet still face him, still looking him straight in the eye while he fumbled, groped, blurted with abrupt complete irrelevance: “NYUH-NYUH-NYUHHHHHHHHH!!!”

“Well, well…” Gordon said to himself. “This young pinhead clodhopper numbskull is worth plenty. I’m going to get rich off him.”

And who’s to say he couldn’t—the possibility of lust in the Big Easy was boundless. Anybody who’s been to New Orleans—knows how much the vain evanescence of the fleshly encounter is worth…

Gordon knew what it was worth in New Orleans—but he knew how much it was worth in Memphis too…

Gordon looked at Jehosephat in bed and thought—this little Pinhead stud has my skull, my brow, my sockets, the same shape and angle of my jaw and chin—and yet there is no thinking in there—the kid can’t see in my face what I see in his…

And it was true—young Jehosephat was even more a child idiot than Benjy Compson was back in Mississippi—standing there nude in front of Gordon in their luxurious apartment in the French Quarter—a long list of avid admirers lined up to appreciate this latest young primitive discovery from the backwoods.

Young Jehosephat’s pinhead existence was soon in demand there in Sin city—decadent sophisticates were totally obsessed with such newly discovered and excruciatingly reptilian sexuality—they loved young dumb Alabama manhood—obscured totally by that primitive mindlessness whose admixing was necessary in order that the kid could give them what they wanted—shaped out of that blind chancy darkness which we call the Okefenokee Swamp…

There—there—at any moment, second, Jehosephat could evoke it—the primeval prehistoric past that lurks in every man—the ultimate whitetrash transubstantiation only swamp consciousness can incite in wicked hearts—all that cheesy intensity and dreadful zoology— stripping away any thin veneer of civilization that the wicked may have still possessed—this young pinhead hustler who never missed a beat—from the shadowy depths the absence his spirit’s posthumeity never escaping…”

That’s what Gordon Snopes wanted—he wanted Jehosephat stupid forever—he didn’t want the kid to acknowledge anything—he wanted him to understand nothing—the sooner the better just as quickly as possible—he didn’t want the kid to expect anything—all he wanted the kid to be was himself—like he found him back in Alabama—with just a fine touch here and there for the rich clientele—like a bath now and then—some fine clothes—a well-oiled fancy coiffure—the looks of a young man about town—but once the clothes come off and the lights go down low—that’s when Gordon wanted the real Jehosephat to come out—the ultimate shockingly gauche Swamp Creature…

Gordon looked into the face of the boy whose father could just as well have been a gnarly old cypress stump—oozing, overflowing with Okefenokee sensuality and rude swamp lust—no shyness, no politeness, just hot communicated flesh that speech would have been too slow even to impede—the most gawdawful throbbing Alabama animalesque thing one could imagine…

Gordon watched Jehosephat and listened to the kid— saying to himself “It’s because I’m so smart and such a good businessman that I’m going to do what I’m going to do—I’m going to make this Jehosephat even more undecided about who he is than he is already—and even more knowing about his instinctual subhuman Okefenokee you-know-what . Even if I told him now what I’m going to do—he wouldn’t understand it. But that’s not enough—I want him to understand absolutely nothing at all—I want him brain-dead dumb.

““NYUH-NYUH-NYUHHHHHHHHH!!!”

“That’s the way, kid” Gordon said.

It will happen now. It will happen my way—he’s young, dumb and full of squirrel ice cream—and he’s gonna stay that way—like a deep-down ripe oil well pumping Alabama crude—I’ll get rich…

And so Jehosephat spent six months there in New Orleans—lorded over and pimped by the esoteric, the sybarite, the steel blade in the silken tessellated sheath while Gordon hauled in the big bucks from the  French Quarter…

So that Jehosephat became as object of art—the mold and mirror of pure young animality and fashion. Then Gordon disappeared, taking Jehosephat with him—they took the Delta Queen up to Memphis to do what rich Delta Bourbons did so well. Live it up…all the way.

Then once the frozen December ruts of Christmas Eve appeared—the two vagabonds showed up back at the Parton Plantation. The two of them—except something had changed. Jehosephat must have now understood with complete despair the secret of his whole affair with Gordon—from the first instinctive moment when they met six months ago.

Gordon had failed—the kid was getting smarter. He could even drive a car now and mix martinis for wealthy guests—so that it was a different twosome who rode in the fast sleek Cadillac through the night and across the bright frosty North Alabama Christmas day.

Gordon knew but still didn’t believe—the Alabama-born boy of the Parton clan had changed. Jehosephat was still an Okefenokee pinhead—but something else had happened…

The blue winding wood smoke hanging above the plastered chimney of the Parton Plantation—they were far from the River and New Orleans. The gimpy hair-lipped youth he’d taken under his wing—the child-idiot who aped him only months ago was more than just a dumb naked ape anymore…

Two embattled spirits—struggled inside Jehosephat now. The spirit of the swamp and the spirit of the Big Easy. There was no peace between these two embattled spirits—one ancient and chthonic like an alligator gar gliding through the cypress swamp. And the other an incontrovertible cosmopolitan craving for Carnivàle and freedom.

Gordon took Jehosephat to see a doctor—perhaps a lobotomy would help. The doctor looked at Gordon and said, “Ain’t he enough for you? Why do you want less of him?”

The Parton family couldn’t believe it—Jehosephat was actually a pretty goodlooking young man now. He didn’t say “Nyuh” anymore—he didn’t have that glazed stupid look in his eyes.

“Jaysus, just look at you,” said Aunt Mildred. “A gentleman.”

Jehosephat didn’t retreat from people anymore—he could even play Poker, Pinochle and Bridge. It was as if he lived in a state of deliberate flagellant exaltation—his physical deformity transmogrified into the spirit of a young man now.

No matter how much Gordon tried—he found it impossible to evoke that condemned and excommunicated Okefenokee shade to tell him in person that everything was all right. Surely it was just a lapse of decadent teenage frivolity—sooner or later Jehosephat’s glands would assert themselves—and he could be had again in time for another lucrative Mardi Gras.

The two faced one another in the living room of the Parton home—Jehosephat the Southern moron—the morose and delicate offspring of swamp, rain and steamy heat. And Gordon Snopes—worried like all Snopes about his investment.

“There’s no escape,” Gordon said. “Your pinhead fate is part of you—like your bones and flesh and memory.”

“That old mindless sentient undreaming meat that doesn’t even know any difference between despair and victory—it’s still you and it won’t ever go away…”

Gordon wanted to keep believing that Pinheads were sometimes created for the sole purpose of selling secret private endowments—to rich Delta Bourbon aristocrats and decadent French Quarter queens who needed it…

Jehosephat could have spoken but he didn’t.. There was a quality of delicacy about Jehosephat now—even at sixteen in the middle of the last faint echo of his Alabama adolescence…”

“C’mon now,” Gordon said. “It’s time we left for Mardi Gras now,”

But Jehosephat didn’t move beneath the gripping hands—he sat  motionless in the parlor. A faint fixed grimace on his face—yet his breath gentler than that first breath when the pine branches begin to move a little…

“I don’t know,” Jehosephat said.

“You don’t know! You don’t know? You don’t know nothing, kid!!!” Gordon shouted with a mean look.

“I don’t know,” Jehosephat said.

It was then that Gordon realized the awful truth—he’d lost his pinhead goldmine…


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: martinbeck3 on August 26, 2007, 01:54:18 PM
Theroux´Millroy the Magician.An example of a USAmerican novelist writing magic-realism which is now considered by some SouthAm leftist critics like 3rd. world stereotyping. 


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 26, 2007, 01:58:13 PM
Ahhhhh....and now it seems I have lost my book!  But, after a sleepless night reconstructing the thing in my head, I'll wing it and anyone who cares to, feel free to jump in with corrections.  Hopefully I'll find it sometime time today as there are a few things I want to re-check.

I see what you're getting at regarding Absalom and magical realism....and I may just agree (although I think I prefer the idea of AA as a meditation on memory, going along with The Sound and the Fury as a meditation on time).  There are several aspects that would place it in the realm of magical realism.  

Thomas Sutpen, at the beginning of it all, is painted as near mythic.  He comes into town, having mysteriously acquired his land.  Brings along a band of twenty slaves....who knows from where....and a FRENCH architect bound to him by who knows what.  He tears (I believe the phrase Miss Rosa used was "tore violently a plantation") Sutpen's Hundred from the earth itself.  His life is guided by destiny or "design."   Just when he seems to be well on his way to achieving the "design," landed, married to a respectable woman, son, daughter, the gods roll the dice.

Then there is the mythical kingdom of Yoknapatawpha County, mapped by William Faulkner, Sole Owner and Proprietor.  Area 2400 Sq. Mi., Pop, Whites 6298 Negroes 9313.

Add to that the concept of the South as constructed by Faulkner through Shreve and Quentin.  Shreve asks Quentin to tell about the South, what it's like, what do they do there.....Why they live at all.  Quentin answers along the vein of "You can't understand it.  You would have to be born there,"  and  gives Shreve the story of Thomas Sutpen...a man who (like the South) dreamed high and failed grandly.  

The overarching idea behind the book would match ideas found in magical realism that altered reality is more real and reveals deeper truths than the original reality, and that the past exists only as the present, and is never actually the past.   True reality and true past exist only in perspective.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 26, 2007, 02:05:08 PM
Martinbeck...Theroux is one of those authors I've been meaning to read, but haven't yet.   When you read Marquez or Borges, though, does it seem a stereotype? 

Faulkner's South seems stereotyped, but when I come across this sort of writing, the big question for me is "Why."  What would the book have to tell us if it had been presented in another fashion? 

It occurred to me that the earliest example of magical realism I've seen is to be found in the book of Job, wherein an innocent man going about his business is turned into a plaything of the gods.



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 26, 2007, 02:07:55 PM
JohnR...I'm reading Raintree County and enjoying it very much.  Thanks for the great suggestion!


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: martinbeck3 on August 26, 2007, 02:15:26 PM
HOFFMAN, no way! If I read Isabel Allende and other minor writers it feels like Danielle Steele though.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: martinbeck3 on August 26, 2007, 02:17:19 PM
BTW, don´t miss Theroux. Millroy is my favourite.


Title: Re: Reading Absalom
Post by: pugetopolis on August 26, 2007, 04:44:26 PM
An example of a USAmerican novelist writing magic-realism which is now considered by some SouthAm leftist critics like 3rd. world stereotyping. 

(http://www.semo.edu/liberalarts/images/CFS_Faulkner_Sightg_2004.jpg)

Well, Hollywood ain’t that bad, I suppose.

I get to clean up Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep.

I get to go hog-hunting with Nathanael West on Catalina Island.

I get to get away from Estelle for awhile.

I get to date beautiful Meta Carpenter.

The booze ain’t bad either—better than the corn back home.

What more can a man want…dontchaknow.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on August 27, 2007, 09:35:38 PM
Puget,

Why is it that as I roam through the forums, I see the same post from you, over and over. Do you not realize you have posted it once? Or do you want to cram it down our throats? I, for one, do not bother if the first line or two are unintesting. I just scroll down and look for something interesting. But, it is rather annoying to see the same post repeated, wasting band space that is being provided to us free of cost.

Pick an appropriate forum for what you want to say, and leave it at one post.


Title: Question of Ethics
Post by: Lhoffman on August 27, 2007, 10:09:30 PM
I don't know much about band width usage, but now I find myself wondering, if there truly is a "shortage" or danger of overuse, ought any of us to be using it up in these forums? 

I have noticed that many Japanese artists have posted notices on their works, that when you try to post them, they will only link to the original.  The reason?  Saving bandwidth. 

So now I wonder....if art is not important enough to overuse bandwidth on, is it ethical for us to use it to participate in forum chattiness? 


Title: Re: Reading Absalom
Post by: pugetopolis on August 27, 2007, 11:22:24 PM

Pick an appropriate forum for what you want to say, and leave it at one post.

Some forums aren't visited as frequently as others, Weezo.

The Poetry Forum and the Gay Rights Forum don't get the same attention as Meandering or Creative Writing.

The Ashbery message I posted was a Gay Rights Fourm message basically.

Not everybody is like you -- curious enough to read all the Forums.

That's why I posted the Ashbery message in Meandering and elsewhere.

The same with poetry. Only a few go there. Madame Mad and a few others.

Therefore, I posted the "Miss Ashbery" poem in Meandering and Fiction so people who might miss it would see it.

I'm sorry if I've offended you...or irritated you. I seem to do that with quite a few people.

Bandwidth and boredom...definitely two things at the top of my Agenda.  8)




Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on August 28, 2007, 02:10:32 AM
I deleted the Ashbery messages in Fiction and SA Lit.

I'm leaving them up elsewhere.  :)


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: johnr60 on August 28, 2007, 10:26:24 PM
I think it's something like penis envy


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on August 28, 2007, 11:21:41 PM
Bandwidth is probably not the correct word. I should probably have said server capacity. In any event, someone somewhere is paying for us to use these forums, and it would certainly be nice to use this service efficiently. Repeating post on several forums, copying the exact same message, is not efficient use of the resources.

Remember the days before water restrictions?


Title: Re: Reading Absalom
Post by: pugetopolis on August 29, 2007, 12:56:29 AM
Penis Envy

Speaking of penis-envy, here’s the website where Bosox got his butt-fuck photo he's so proud of. It’s a really skanky atrociously racist and sexist website. If you even remotely thought Bosox’s “he-likes-it” photo was in poor taste, well, just look at these other ones posted there. As Whiskey says, context, context, context. The context of these other photos certainly does illuminate Bosox’s aesthetics if you ask me. Good for a laugh or two—if you got nothing else to do tonight.

http://media.davesdaily.com/pictures/525-armpit-tattoo.jpg

http://media.davesdaily.com/pictures/rapistsketch.jpg

http://media.davesdaily.com/pictures/859-delusional.jpg

http://media.davesdaily.com/pictures/670-yeah-baby.jpg

http://media.davesdaily.com/pictures/737-nice-bush.jpg

http://media.davesdaily.com/pictures/125-stormtrooper.jpg

http://media.davesdaily.com/pictures/521-thislookswrong.jpg

http://media.davesdaily.com/pictures/515-im-safer-in-iraq.jpg

http://media.davesdaily.com/pictures/917-sexy.jpg

http://media.davesdaily.com/pictures/639-dirty-mind.jpg

http://media.davesdaily.com/pictures/522-saycheese.jpg

http://media.davesdaily.com/pictures/235-big.jpg

http://media.davesdaily.com/pictures/702-yeah-baby.jpg

http://media.davesdaily.com/pictures/730-mean-dog.jpg

http://media.davesdaily.com/pictures/353-hard.jpg

http://media.davesdaily.com/pictures/250-zipit.jpg


Title: Re: Reading Absalom
Post by: pugetopolis on August 29, 2007, 04:38:37 AM
Notes on Sanctuary

Those images tonight—I stayed up and looked at most of them. I didn’t really much feel like Horace Benbow—Sanctuary’s idealistic attorney defeated by the power of evil and corruption.

“…there’s a corruption about even looking upon evil, even by accident: you cannot haggle, traffic, with putrefaction.”—William Faulkner, Sanctuary

I have none of Horace’s illusions about justice or the sanctity of Southern manhood or womanhood. The photos reminded me more of drive-in kitsch and ‘50s sexploitation movies. I wish I could call them campy—but camp has too much class.

Popeye raping Temple Drake with a corn-cob back in the ‘30s may have been a shocker—but all the slasher movies and schlock since then have put Sanctuary, Miss Lonelyhearts and The Day of the Locust in different light.

“Her horrible corn-cob rape by Popeye does not intimate her moral collapse; it merely releases her from the restrictive convention which society has imposed upon her.”—Edmund Volpe, A Readers Guide to William Faulkner, New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1965, p. 144.

That’s the way I feel about the Bosox images—released from the restrictive conventions society has imposed on me. Each photo—not just pure representation but a different slant, angle, look at things today. The pictures evoke a kind of “verbal cubism” about America—tonight I seem to be in the right narcissistic self-involvement mood to discuss them with myself.

“But as he pivoted on Father Abraham and flags, he moved toward works which took over his inner life to the exclusion of everything else.”—Frederick Karl, William Faulkner: American Writer, New York: Ballantine, 1989, p. 357

Starting with the “armpit-tattoo”—I thought that was a good one. That guy could just as well be a young modern Popeye thug or whitey hip-hop ghetto gangster. Actually he looks more like a typical cute lounge lizard stud—he’s even got a couple of hickies around his pussy armpit. The nightclub scene could just as well be right out of modern Memphis…

“I took a little time out, and speculated what a person in Mississippi would believe to be current trends, chose what I thought was the right answer and invented the most horrific tale I could imagine and wrote it in about three weeks…”—William Faulkner

These photos have a lot of Popeye, Horace and Temple Drake possibilities—just waiting for the right aslant prose, the right sense of place which is not quite place, the right sense of time which is not quite time. Pick a photo—any photo. Write a story about it.

Each photo a “containment”—a story in itself.

Perverse sexuality, money, nonlinear narrative, wasted time, self-righteousness, Ruby Lamar the ex-hooker, Fonzo and Virgil Snopes, Miss Reba’s brothel—the novel sputters. It’s old stuff now…part detective-novel with a gangster theme. So many young handsome Popeye Pumphreys since then—pulp fiction novels, films, porno.

“But in the South art, to become visible at all, must become a ceremony, a spectacle; something between a gypsy encampment and a church bazaar given by a handful of alien mummers who must waste themselves in protest and active self-defense until there is nothing left with which to speak.”—William Faulkner

This circus atmosphere is the thing that stays—whether it’s Mississippi, the Beltway, some airport bathroom with a senator fucking around, some slimy queer right-wing minister on the make in a motel parking lot…

This Popeye, Horace and Temple Drake road show doesn’t stop does it?

Sanctuary is just a cheap pulp fiction pot-boiler like Faulkner said—or was that just a put-on?

Faulkner had just about as much artistic guilt and literary snobbism as a flat tire.

Or was there something else going on?







Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: johnr60 on August 29, 2007, 09:58:59 PM
Finished Absalom redux.  I guess I'm ready. 

Communication is very important to me and although Faulkner is very capable he doesnt do it efficiently.  This is certainly not a book suitable for social beings who might respond to a question now and then, fit a sentence between innings or wipe before everything is dry and crusty.

His characters all have the same voice whether Canadian collegiate or woefully uneducated southern spinster.
The "Shreve sounds like grandfather" doesnt cut it.

I rooted for Bon and hoped he would appear in the finale, I dont know why Henry had been there 4 years and I have no idea why Quentin dies in 1910 and I await anyone's interpretation of the title that doesnt have to do with the "other".


Reader:

I have no idea about Stiles and baseball.  Do you?


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 29, 2007, 10:18:23 PM
Quote
I rooted for Bon and hoped he would appear in the finale, I dont know why Henry had been there 4 years and I have no idea why Quentin dies in 1910 and I await anyone's interpretation of the title that doesnt have to do with the "other".


I wondered how Rosa knew he was there.  But to find out why Quentin dies (and is resurrected) in 1910, you need to proceed to "The Sound the the Fury."


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: johnr60 on August 29, 2007, 10:27:00 PM
The author has till the final period to present hios case.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: nnyhav on August 29, 2007, 10:34:56 PM
[...] I rooted for Bon and hoped he would appear in the finale, [...]

Oxoby, Robert J., "On the Efficiency of AC/DC: Bon Scott versus Brian Johnson" (May 2007). University of Calgary Economics Discussion Paper No. 2007-08

Abstract:     
We explore the effects of listening to the music of AC/DC in a simple bargaining environment.

http://www.econ.ucalgary.ca/fac-files/rjo/wp0807.pdf

***SPOILER ALERT***

Brian beat out Bon


Title: Re: Reading Absalom
Post by: pugetopolis on August 29, 2007, 11:42:11 PM
AC/DC Faulkner

“Both Absalom and The Sound and the Fury hint broadly and unsubtly about the homoerotic tension between Quentin and Shreve. The triangle comprised of Bon, Henry and Judith specifically replicates in a slightly more obvious manner, that triangle made up of Quentin, Caddy and Dalton Ames in the earlier novel.”—Noel Polk, Children of the Dark House: Text and Context in Faulkner, Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1996, p. 141.

Thanks nnyhav—but wrong AD/DC. The topic is AD/DC Faulkner.

Faulkner critics are moving from race to sexuality lately to interpret TSATF and Absalom, Absalom. The AC/DC relationships between Bon and Henry as well as between Quentin and Shreve haven’t been explicated in detail like other literary topics.

The fact that “incestuous miscegenation” plays a key role in Absalom will automatically disqualify certain uptight readers who refuse to discuss homosexuality in regard to Faulkner’s novels.

If there’s a spoiler alert—that’s it. I’m interested in communication too—and most of you know me from our NYTimes discussions. Hoffman and I are on the same wavelength—and so is Reader. I remember, John, that we had a fairly good discussion with Johan Huizinga and The Autumn of the Middle Ages monthly forum several months ago.

If everybody’s read Absalom, I’m ready to go. If not, I would prefer to wait. Reading chapter by chapter thru a complex book is a linear waste of time as far as I’m concerned. It would help to have already read TSATF as well—but that’s asking for the moon.

One of the nice things about the NYTimes Readers Group was the discipline of having a tight timeline to discuss the books. This is the first readers group discussion I’ve thought about here in Elba. That gives us flexibility to do Absalom in different ways. I'm open to that and look forward to it.

I’ve pretty much already shared with Fiction my own redux version of Faulkner—I’m hoping to get my hands on some of the papers delivered at the July Yoknapatawpha Conference at Ole Miss. The conference topic was Faulkner and Sexuality—which is what I’m interested in. I’ve prepared a bibliography for those interested. Please see the conference call for papers annoucement in my next message.


Title: Re: Reading Absalom
Post by: pugetopolis on August 29, 2007, 11:44:25 PM
Faulkner’s Sexualities—Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference  July 22–26, 2007

http://www.outreach.olemiss.edu/events/faulkner/

William Faulkner grew up and began his writing career during a time of great cultural upheaval, not the least aspect of which was in the realm of sexuality. Every normative notion of sexual identity and sexual relationship was ripe for reexamination, every form of behavior and utterance probed for its sexual implication. Not only does Faulkner explore multiple forms of sexuality throughout his work, he also studies their implications within various social, economic, and racial concerns. Quentin Compson’s obsession over decaying social standards in The Sound and the Fury is complicated by the incestuous desires seemingly designed to purify what he regards as sexual violation. Same-sex attraction in Absalom, Absalom! is both the screen for racial hatred and its hidden core. Sexuality and trade in The Hamlet antagonize and inspire each other. Above all, the sexual and psychosexual dimensions of race relations is always a factor, a straight and/or queer dynamic inseparable from an intimacy that underlies even the most violent situations.

The cartoon pictured here on the conference was drawn by Faulkner and appeared in a 1924 Ole Miss publication called The Scream. Prior to the beginning of his career as a novelist, Faulkner as visual artist was already bringing together some of the issues of sexuality he would probe so deeply in his fiction: the male “gaze” as a form of sexual objectification, the “blackness” of sexual mystery, the interaction of heterosexual and same-sex dynamics.

The 34th annual Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference—“Faulkner’s Sexualities”—will explore for five days of lectures, panel discussions, tours, and social gatherings some of the complex possibilities of his treatment of sexuality. Among the scholars who will be appearing at the conference are John Duvall of Purdue University, Jaime Harker of the University of Mississippi, Catherine Gunther Kodat of Hamilton College, Deborah McDowell of the University of Virginia, Gary N. Richards of the University of New Orleans, Dawn Trouard of the University of Central Florida, and Michael Zeitlin of the University of British Columbia.

Some of the themes and tentative titles of the conference papers, illustrating how diverse and wide-ranging the sexualities of Faulkner’s fiction can be, are Duvall’s “Faulkner and Black Sexuality”; Harker’s “‘A Summer of Wysteria’: Female Homoerotics and the Reconstruction of the Southern Family”; Kodat’s look at the question of how Faulkner reads queer theory; Richards’s study of same-sex desire in Faulkner’s early fiction, including Mosquitoes, in the context of New Orleans culture; Trouard’s “The Best Time They Never Had: Faulkner’s Bored Women”; and Zeitlin’s essay on the relations between Faulkner’s treatment of sexuality and the Cold War.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 30, 2007, 12:21:46 AM
Reading Absalom, Absalom is a whole 'nother story when you add in the Quentin's feelings for his sister Caddie.  What was Quentin really thinking as he froze in his dorm room and regaled Shreve with the story of Henry/Judith/Bon?  And how does the whole Shreve/Quentin/Caddie interrelationship influence his re-creation of the Colonel and Henry/Judith/Bon?


Title: Re: Reading Absalom
Post by: pugetopolis on August 30, 2007, 04:14:35 AM
(http://images.tribe.net/tribe/upload/photo/d1a/8e0/d1a8e0c4-6a9a-4eb5-8761-f9124c8db0f3)

Hoffman—since you enjoy book cover art, here’s the cover of the original 1929 Cape & Smith edition of Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury. Here’s another even better example from Between the Covers Rare Books

http://www.betweenthecovers.com/btc/reference_library/title/1000043

A first edition sells for $15,000.00. Here is the ABAA listing:

Faulkner, William. The Sound and the Fury.
New York: Cape & Smith, 1929. First edition Patterned boards, white cloth spine. Slight shelf wear to edges, a very nice copy. Dust jacket with minor breaks on the folds, slight wear at the extremities, red on spine faded, front fairly bright. 
Price: $15,000.00

http://search.abaa.org/dbp2/search.php

Perhaps down the line we can get into the cover art and artist—which is an interesting story in itself.


Title: Re: Reading Absalom
Post by: pugetopolis on August 30, 2007, 04:29:53 AM
Reading Absalom, Absalom is a whole 'nother story when you add in the Quentin's feelings for his sister Caddie.  What was Quentin really thinking as he froze in his dorm room and regaled Shreve with the story of Henry/Judith/Bon?  And how does the whole Shreve/Quentin/Caddie interrelationship influence his re-creation of the Colonel and Henry/Judith/Bon?

What was Quentin really thinking as he froze in his dorm room and regaled Shreve with the story of Henry/Judith/Bon?

In Quentin’s reconstruction of Absalom’s narrative, both Sutpen and Henry perform the very acts that in TSATF he, Quentin, cannot. Thus Absalom, Absalom is, among other things, Quentin’s fantasy in which he simultaneously enacts the preservation of his sister’s honor and the destruction of the darker impulses toward incest and homoeroticism that he cannot face.

“It is very much worth noting that none of the narrators in Absalom, least of all Quentin, proposes that Henry kills Bon for the same reason that Quentin wants to kill Dalton Ames, though it would seem natural: not to prevent incest or miscegenation, but to preserve that part of the family honor resident in his sister’s maidenhead. To put it another way, like Quentin, Henry may just want to control his sister’s body, to try to contain Judith’s sexuality, as other Faulkner males have done. I believe that we have not explored this possibility because we have heretofore, in Absalom, been so completely caught up in race, and I’d suggest, as an aside, that our collective failure, as Faulkner readers, to face the gender problematics of Absalom stems from the same collective need to evade the issue as Quentin and Shreve evince: that is, for Faulknerians, race seems to be easier to deal with than gender.”—Noel Polk, Children of the Dark House: Text and Context in Faulkner, Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1996, p. 141.



Title: Re: Reading Absalom
Post by: pugetopolis on August 30, 2007, 05:25:53 AM
Reading Absalom, Absalom is a whole 'nother story when you add in the Quentin's feelings for his sister Caddie.  What was Quentin really thinking as he froze in his dorm room and regaled Shreve with the story of Henry/Judith/Bon?  And how does the whole Shreve/Quentin/Caddie interrelationship influence his re-creation of the Colonel and Henry/Judith/Bon?

And how does the whole Shreve/Quentin/Caddie interrelationship influence his re-creation of the Colonel and Henry/Judith/Bon?

There’s a complex double three-way implied by Absalom—the Quentin-Caddy-Dalton triangle and the Henry-Judith-Bon triangle. These double three-ways are rife with homo- and heteroerotic implications for the characters and, perhaps, for the author. The former we can read into the text for; the latter we can discuss along the lines of modern biographers and postmodern critics. Some very interesting material.

Here is how the three-ways work for both TSATF and AA. Here is an often-quoted key-text:

“In fact, perhaps this is the pure and perfect incest: the brother realizing that the sister’s virginity must be destroyed in order to have existed at all, taking that virginity in the person of the brother-in-law, the man whom he would be if he could become, metamorphose into, the lover the husband; by whom he would be despoiled, choose for despoiler, if he could become, metamorphose into the sister, the mistress, the bride.”--William Faulkner, Absalom, p. 80.

Does Colonel Sutpen know that Bon and Henry are lovers? Do Bon and Henry confess to or in some way display a homosexual relationship? They pretty much stuck close together during the Christmas visit and at Ole Miss--and of course later in New Orleans and during the Civil War. They pretty much ignored Judith during that fateful Christmas visit; that might have been enough for Sutpen to reject Bon and for Henry to reject Sutpen and ride away with Bon.

Other narrators have suggested that possibility; throughout, Quentin’s father has given us—and Quentin—an effeminate and foppish Bon plus a Henry dazzled by the sophisticated cosmopolite. Quentin also seems to act effeminate and gay during several encounters at Harvard; his relationship with Shreve is very close and intimate. Shreve continuously presses Quentin to open up the other three-way narrative and tell his story through them; it reminds me of a deposition sometimes with Shreve asking questions, wanting proof, asking for exhibits, probing for motivations and explanations that sometimes even Quentin hasn't thought of or even wants to know. Often the story has a strong homoerotic subtextual undertow to it; often the omniscient observer knows more than Quentin does about the 50-year-old earlier affair that he's been sucked into. Shreve is relentless; he ends up a doctor but perhaps should have gone into law.

So it's a double three-way or love triangle; a complex but interesting way to explore not only race and miscegenation; but also other matters like the queer text of brotherly incest, incestuous miscegenation and brother-sister-lover relationships. Quentin seems fascinated yet repelled by the the Henry-Judith-Bon love-triangle which went a lot further than the Quentin-Caddy-Dalton triangle. If you may recall from TSATF, Dalton and Quentin wrestle on a bridge, but Dalton is gentle with Quentin because he sees a lot of Caddy in Quentin: his goodlooks, his young impetuous personality, his perhaps closeted desire for Dalton the handsome lover of his sister. Quentin struggles with all this; he ends it all by jumping off another bridge where neither Dalton or Shreve can save him. It's a tragedy -- whether one calls it unrequited love or closetry...

I think that an open-minded reading of Absalom will reveal Quentin as a closet case -- much more closety and in a state of denial than Henry Sutpen was with Bon. When he says "I don't hate it," he's not just expressing his feelings about the South but he's also talking about his own sexual struggles and disposition. He does hate himself for being gay; that's why he jumps off the bridge. Perhaps getting too deeply into the other love-triangle pushed him over the edge? Of course, there are other readings but to me Absalom is like a more gay rereading of TSATF. It's another way Faulkner could complexify a novel so that the strange depths of human feelings and relationships can be more fully explored by both author and reader. Many of Faulkner's friends in New Orleans and Mississippi were gay; and they played very important roles in his career as a writer. Context, context, context. Which is another reason for getting into this topic.

Back at LSU this complexity flummoxed me; and it still does. But being more mature now and having gone through some similar relationships, I find both Absalom and TSATF to be ahead of their time in terms of gender issues germane to me.









Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 30, 2007, 12:40:10 PM
Quentin and Henry, with their backgrounds and educations would have been quite familiar with the histories of ancient Greece and Rome.   Much of the Antebellum social heirarchy seems modeled around that of patrician Rome and ancient Greece (often extended even into architecture).  Put in this context, and considering the ethos and mores of ancient Rome and Greece, the ideas of incest or homosexuality would be less shocking than they would have been to the common everyday churchgoing folk.   Miscenegation would be the ultimate taboo, as the antebellum South, (as did ancient Rome and Greece) put a high value on social class and structure.

As to Quentin being more closeted than Henry and Bon....perhaps this is related to the idea of the twilight of the gods....the south as a dying civilization in the wake of the Civil War.




Title: Re: Reading Absalom
Post by: pugetopolis on August 30, 2007, 05:05:26 PM
....the south as a dying civilization in the wake of the Civil War.


Yes, but I’d go a little bit further and say that perhaps the ultimate taboo was “incestuous miscegenation” which Faulkner looks at with his novels.

TSATF—the Caddy, Quentin, Dalton ménage-a-trois.

Absalom—the Bon, Henry, Judith ménage-a-trois.

Dysfunctional families tho aren’t limited to the South—either antebellum or now.

Perhaps it’s just that Southerners like Faulkner, Capote, Harper Lee, Eudora Welty, Walker Percy, Tennessee Williams come from a storytelling tradition that flows like a summer breeze through the wisteria and bougainvillea vines on a verandah at night and there’s nothing else to do except sip a julep and tell the Story…

over and over again




Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on August 30, 2007, 05:28:05 PM
Miscegenation may have been a taboo in the south, and there were legal raminifications for those who indulged, yet it was widely practiced nevertheless. Incest is still practiced in the mountains of Appalachia, as I learned from conversations with teachers in the western part of Virginia and with a project I did in West Virginia within the past decade. Many African Americans who have researched their roots or had their DNA tested, have learned they have Native, African and/or Cacausian ancesters. In Virginia, it was not uncommon for the plantation "massa" or his overseers to see to increasing the number of slaves by personally providing the seed. It was also not unusual for the lower class and servant class women to have children by free or enslaved black men. Such children, when they were discovered, were declaired wards of the local court and sold into indenture until they were 21 or older. If the resultant mullatos bore children during their indenture, the children were "owned" by the person who had purchased the indenture and were never freed or allowed to be raised by the mother/parents.

On this issue, history is a lurid as fiction.


Title: Re: Reading Absalom
Post by: pugetopolis on August 30, 2007, 06:43:54 PM
On this issue, history is a lurid as fiction.

Interesting. What you're telling me reminds of Willa Cather's Sapphira and the Slave Girl (1940).

"If the Africanist characters and their condition are removed from the text of Sapphira and the Slave Girl we will not have a Miss Havisham immured or in flames. We have nothing: no process of of deranged self-construction that can take for granted acquiescence in so awful an enterprise; no drama of limitless power."--Toni Morrison, Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination, New York: Random House, 1993, p. 26.

That's why I'm interested in Absalom, Absalom. Quentin's "deranged self-construction" with Shreve in that cold Harvard dormatory room...is that not a drama of limitless power?



Title: Re: Reading Absalom
Post by: pugetopolis on August 30, 2007, 06:52:48 PM
"The imaginative strategy is a difficult one at best, an impossible one in the event--so impossible that Cather permits the novel to escape from the pages of fiction into nonfiction. For narrative credibility she substitutes her own dertermination to force the equation. It is an equation that must take place outside the narrative."--Toni Morrison, Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination, New York: Random House, 1993, p. 26.


Title: Re: Reading Absalom
Post by: pugetopolis on August 30, 2007, 06:59:05 PM
"We are reminded of other images at the end of literary journeys into the forbidden space of blackness. Does Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom, after its protracted search for the telling African blood leave us with just such an image of snow and the eradication of race? Not quite. Shreve sees himself as the inheritor of the blood of African kings; the snow apparently is the wasteland of unmeaning, unfathomable whiteness."--Toni Morrison, Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination, New York: Random House, 1993, p. 58.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on August 30, 2007, 07:11:41 PM
  weezo,re: #614
 "A new report by the ACLU, Broken Promises: Two Years After Katrina, exposes numerous civil rights violations that have occurred in Louisiana and Mississippi since the storm, including reports of heightened racially motivated police activity, housing discrimination, and prisoner abuse. "


Title: Re: Reading Absalom
Post by: pugetopolis on August 30, 2007, 07:22:19 PM
Go Down, Moses

“His own daughter. His own daughter. No No Not even him!!!”—William Faulkner, Go Down Moses, New York: Vintage, 1990, 259

In Go Down Moses, Old Carothers McCaslin makes the three-hundred mile journey to New Orleans in 1807 to purchase a black mistress. Two years later he marries her to his slave Thucydus, and a year after that she bears him the daughter who will bear him the son he remembers in his will. Initially Ike assumes the $1,000 legacy is payment for miscegenation: “Some sort of love. Even what he would have called love: not just an afternoon or a night’s spittoon.” (GDM, 258).

"What distinguishes Go Down, Moses from the Compson novels is the incestuous miscegenation between father and daughter that Ike subsequently discovers in the ledgers… Father-daughter incest is a different and, for Faulkner, a more personal matter than Quentin’s idealizing desire for his sister or the “pure and perfect incest” Mr. Compson imagines for Henry Sutpen in his half-brother Bon’s marrying Judith.”—James G. Watson, William Faulkner: Self-Presentation and Performance, Austin: University of Texas Press, 2000, 189.



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 30, 2007, 07:22:32 PM
....the south as a dying civilization in the wake of the Civil War.


Yes, but I’d go a little bit further and say that perhaps the ultimate taboo was “incestuous miscegenation” which Faulkner looks at with his novels.

TSATF—the Caddy, Quentin, Dalton ménage-a-trois.

Absalom—the Bon, Henry, Judith ménage-a-trois.

Dysfunctional families tho aren’t limited to the South—either antebellum or now.

Perhaps it’s just that Southerners like Faulkner, Capote, Harper Lee, Eudora Welty, Walker Percy, Tennessee Williams come from a storytelling tradition that flows like a summer breeze through the wisteria and bougainvillea vines on a verandah at night and there’s nothing else to do except sip a julep and tell the Story…

over and over again

South, North, Dysfunctional families.....Jerry Springer's made a killing in this particular industry.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 30, 2007, 07:32:03 PM
Go Down, Moses

“His own daughter. His own daughter. No No Not even him!!!”—William Faulkner, Go Down Moses, New York: Vintage, 1990, 259

In Go Down Moses, Old Carothers McCaslin makes the three-hundred mile journey to New Orleans in 1807 to purchase a black mistress. Two years later he marries her to his slave Thucydus, and a year after that she bears him the daughter who will bear him the son he remembers in his will. Initially Ike assumes the $1,000 legacy is payment for miscegenation: “Some sort of love. Even what he would have called love: not just an afternoon or a night’s spittoon.” (GDM, 258).

"What distinguishes Go Down, Moses from the Compson novels is the incestuous miscegenation between father and daughter that Ike subsequently discovers in the ledgers… Father-daughter incest is a different and, for Faulkner, a more personal matter than Quentin’s idealizing desire for his sister or the “pure and perfect incest” Mr. Compson imagines for Henry Sutpen in his half-brother Bon’s marrying Judith.”—James G. Watson, William Faulkner: Self-Presentation and Performance, Austin: University of Texas Press, 2000, 189.



Father/daughter, Father/son relationships seem to be what Faulkner built around.  The father's input seems to have far more impact on his characters than the mother's input (or lack of). 

What sort of Thomas Sutpen would we have if his father had shown him the way of the world, instead of sending him up to the big house to find out for himself?  Henry and Judith, molded by their father, their mother being a weak woman who couldn't handle the hand she'd been dealt.  Quentin Compson's father, married to a self-centered woman, seems an observer of life more than a participant, eventually drinks himself to death.   Catastrophe passes through the fathers to their offspring....Faulkner's commentary on the shortcomings of the patriarchal society?


Title: Re: Reading Absalom
Post by: pugetopolis on August 30, 2007, 07:48:04 PM
South, North, Dysfunctional families.....Jerry Springer's made a killing in this particular industry.

The same with Frey and A Million Little Pieces...

Fiction...disguised as tell-all truthful Autobiography when it's really all bullshit.

The same with OJ's faux-memoir.

We're getting into "genre-bending" now.

Faulkner was good at it...



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 30, 2007, 07:51:04 PM
Another way of looking at the father/son situation is to turn it around.  Sutpen was a guy from the sticks who had in mind that he was master of a grand design....a dynasty.  To build a dynasty, he needed sons, and those sons were his undoing. 

Interesting to note that Sutpen never claimed Clytie as his daughter.


Title: Re: Reading Absalom
Post by: pugetopolis on August 30, 2007, 08:09:04 PM
....Faulkner's commentary on the shortcomings of the patriarchal society?

Yes, but grounded in his own family.

That's the meaning of the two words: "apocryphal" and "philoprogegitive."

When sons and daughters reconceive and figuratively beget their own fathers again...as Quentin does.

Reconstructing, decomposing, extending past experience to still more personal family material...

New representations of immediate precursors...precognitive compositions delving into the past.

Autobiographical performances disguised as pulp fiction...

Aristocratic Sartorises, Delta Bourbon Sutpens, large-land-owning McCaslins, cheesy but smart Snopes and beautiful tragic Bons...they're all there.

Inside Absalom, Absalom = Pandora's Box








Title: Re: Reading Absalom
Post by: pugetopolis on August 30, 2007, 08:20:55 PM
To build a dynasty, he needed sons, and those sons were his undoing. 

There are other ways to build a Dynasty...you don't really need sons.

Sons are so uppity and troublesome don't ya know?

You can build a Dynasty with hard work and words...they're called Novels.

Not just one novel...but a Dynasty of them.

That's what the American writer William Faulkner did...

In the intro to The Sound and the Fury Faulkner describes how he saw The Sound and the Fury and all his other novels flash before his eyes...

Like a strike of lightening...

illuminating the landscape of his mind.........................







Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 30, 2007, 08:21:55 PM
....Faulkner's commentary on the shortcomings of the patriarchal society?

Yes, but grounded in his own family.

That's the meaning of the two words: "apocryphal" and "philoprogegitive."

When sons and daughters reconceive and figuratively beget their own fathers again...as Quentin does.

Reconstructing, decomposing, extending past experience to still more personal family material...

New representations of immediate precursors...precognitive compositions delving into the past.

Autobiographical performances disguised as pulp fiction...

Aristocratic Sartorises, Delta Bourbon Sutpens, large-land-owning McCaslins, cheesy but smart Snopes and beautiful tragic Bons...they're all there.

Inside Absalom, Absalom = Pandora's Box



Yes....now I see where you're at with the reference to Frey.  I have a more limited vision of "apocryphal" but it works combined with "phyloprogenative."    

Interesting thing about family....ask six members and you get six different stories. We all recreate our fathers.  Perhaps that's the only way we can forgive them when they die, and hate them when we need to break away.



Title: Re: Reading Absalom
Post by: pugetopolis on August 30, 2007, 08:56:13 PM
I would suggest that in this case the wilderness that made Sutpen run is precisely the same as the one that got Faulkner to his feet...

That's right. That's it exactly...

Aren't we really just dirt that decided one day to get up and walk around...

...and see what's going on, baby?

The Land says...Is there something you wanted to tell me?

The Land says...Is there something I should know?

The Land says...tell me a story, my man...









Title: Re: Reading Absalom
Post by: pugetopolis on August 30, 2007, 10:06:00 PM
Hoffman, Weezo, Reader, Roady, Nynhav, John

“Writing and reading are not all that distinct for a writer”—Toni Morrison, Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination

I wonder what’s going on here? Are we deconstructing the context of Absalom, Absalom? It seems like to me that the literary imagination is constantly decomposing itself all around us. It’s like everything is rotting away—I can almost smell it. It’s rotting away so bad—it smells sweet as honeysuckle and magnolia blossoms. Even my brain is rotting away—drooping down like Spanish moss in the bayou swamps. I think this is what Faulkner was tuned into—that’s what he was doing. Tuning into it—the Deep South rotting away. This is something he wanted to tell us—something that we should know? It’s something I can see in the morning when I look in the mirror—it’s something I see in people’s faces when I work with them during the day. Tell the story—oh gawd do I have too?

“For young America it had everything: nature as subject matter, a system of symbolism, a thematics of the search for self-valorization and validation—above all, the opportunity to conquer fear imaginatively and to quiet deep insecurities. It offered platforms for moralizing and fabulation, and for the imaginative entertainment of violence, sublime incredibility, and terror—and terror’s most significant, overweening ingredient: darkness, with all the connotative value it awakened.” —Toni Morrison, Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination

Decomposing myself…like Quentin did. Shreve pushing me more and more—he won’t leave me alone. He’s got African kings and queens on the brain—all he can think about is Sutpen’s Dynasty and getting into Caddy’s dirty drawers. Ogling up into that pear tree—Caddy peering into the bedroom of death. Oh Lordy Lordy—how that Dalton Ames held me tight on the bridge. He held me so tight I fainted in his arms—and I knew then why Caddy was in love with him. Suddenly on the bridge there over the river—I knew how Henry Sutpen must have felt. In the French Quarter and at Ole Miss—Charles Bon holding me tight in bed. My young handsome mulatto half-brother—there’s something he wanted to tell me. But then there was the War—the War Between the States. And when we got to the Gate—he didn’t love me anymore. Bon wanted to go back home to New Orleans—his wife and his son Charles Etienne St. Valery Bon waiting there for him. Charles didn’t care about Sutpen’s Hundred anymore—he didn’t care about me and Judith. I wanted Bon to marry Judith—he was the rightful Sutpen heir. We’d do a Dynasty—the three of us. Truly a Southern ménage-a-trois of power and glory. We’d get thru Reconstruction—we’d build the New South. But it didn’t work out that way—it all turned into a story of sound and fury. So I shot my half-brother—I shot him dead. From then on—it was downhill for me. Until that dark rainy night—when Quentin and Shreve got out that goddamn Ouija board…

“Writing and reading…both require being alert and ready for unaccountable beauty, for the intricateness or simple elegance of the writer’s imagination, for the world that imagination evokes. Both require being mindful of the places where imagination sabotages itself, locks its own gates, pollutes its vision. Writing and reading mean being aware of the writer’s notions of risk and safety, the serene achievement of, or sweaty fight for, meaning and response-ability.” —Toni Morrison, Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination








Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 31, 2007, 12:14:05 AM
Faulkner/Sutpen and the Land....It has to be more than that because the "design" couldn't be complete until Sutpen had sons.  That is the meaning of the title, "Absalom, Absalom," in reference to the biblical king David who was done in by his having too many sons, that is the meaning of the insult offered Rosa that caused her to flee Sutpen's Hundred and go about dressed in bitterness, that is the reason for Wash's murder of his granddaughter and great grand-daughter and Sutpen.   Wash didn't kill Sutpen because of his treatment of Millie; he killed him because his siring of a girlchild made Sutpen more human/equal to Wash.  (Wash saw for the first time that Sutpen was only an old man, like himself.)

Sutpen's true sin was that of hubris.  Follow Faulkner's development of  Thomas Sutpen and Wash in the earlier stories, "The Big Shot," "Evangeline" and "Wash."   (Uncollected Stories) The idea is that regular men content themselves with girlchildren, but the aristocracy gives birth to sons, orchestrates grand "designs, founds dynasties. 

Quentin comments along the lines of it taking Shreve and Quentin to make father, but that perhaps Sutpen made them all.  The idea being:  the father makes the son makes the father....but in this case, as in the case of the biblical Absalom, the sons unmake the father.

Quote
There are other ways to build a Dynasty...you don't really need sons
.

Faulkner's dynasty may have been built of books, but for Sutpen, Compson and company, daughters are seen only as bargaining chips and breeders.  Interesting how Sutpen never claims Clytie, eh?




 


Title: Re: Reading Absalom
Post by: pugetopolis on August 31, 2007, 12:30:42 AM
Follow Faulkner's development of  Thomas Sutpen and Wash in the earlier stories, "The Big Shot," "Evangeline" and "Wash."   (Uncollected Stories) 

Let me read "The Big Shot," "Evangeline" and "Wash" tonight. Then, I'll get back to you tomorrow.

Thank you for an excellent discussion today. It's nice to be back in the book mode again.

It's been awhile...  :)


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 31, 2007, 12:49:58 AM
Yes....thank you.  Great discussion. 

(I misremembered the source for "Wash."  A double check shows it in Collected Stories p535 Vintage)

(Pugetopolis....Also, I sent you a reply to your comment on identity in Pandora's Box on my fake blog....not sure I should link the real one here.  Thought you might enjoy the twist of Jack the Ripper as savior.)

http://laurieh12.blogspot.com/


Title: Re: Reading Absalom
Post by: pugetopolis on August 31, 2007, 03:50:53 AM
“There was nothing he could do with his money save give it away, you see. That’s our American tragedy: we have to give away so much of our money, and there’s nobody to give it to save the poets and painters. ANd if we gave it to them, they would probably stop being poets and painters.”—William Faulkner, “The Big Shot,” Uncollected Stories, New York: Vintage, 1979, 504-505.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 31, 2007, 11:34:30 AM
Nice thing about those stories, you can almost see Faulkner's mind working, particularly in Evangeline. 

There is a little something of Sutpen's early experience in Barn Burning, when the boy Snopes is turned away from the big house.  In both cases, doors almost serve as portals, the denial of entry opens a passage to a transformative experience.



Title: Re: Reading Absalom
Post by: pugetopolis on August 31, 2007, 04:26:20 PM
...doors almost serve as portals, the denial of entry opens a passage to a transformative experience.

Yes, the same with Martin in "The Big Shot."

The story told by Don Reeves on the Sentinel. About Popeye running over his own daughter while doing a booze run to Martin's place. Martin always bailing out Popeye...and Govelli the cop playing along. Popeye gets away with murder and all sorts of things:

"...a slight man with a dead face and dead black hair and eyes and a delicate hooked little nose and no chin, crouching snarling behind the neat blue automatic." (TBS, 504).

But the story is really about Martin:

"He was born and raised on a Mississippi farm. Tenant-farmer--you know: barefoot, the whole family, nine months in the year...Anyway the boss came to the door himself..."Don't you ever come to my front door again...When you come here you go around to the kitchen door..." (TBS, 507-508)

The story seems to be about class-consciousness down South: the big shots. Popeye and the "boss." With the tenant farmers and blacks under their thumb. The rejection at the door trope seems to be a recurring thing with Faulkner. Many rejections in his life: like being rejected by the parents of Estelle for not being good enough to marry her, etc.

Sutpen rejected at the front door back in Virginia...






Title: Re: Reading Absalom
Post by: pugetopolis on August 31, 2007, 05:37:01 PM
Interesting to note that Sutpen never claimed Clytie as his daughter.

Q. "Did [Sutpen] acknowledge Clytemnestra as his daughter?"

A. "No. Well, that would not have mattered because Clytemnestra was a female. The important thing to him was he should establish a line of dukes, you see. He was going to created a dukedom. He'd have to have a male descendant. He would have to establish a dukedom which would be his revenge on the white Virginian who told him to go to the back door. And so he--to have a Negro, half-Negro, for his son would have wrecked the the whole dream. If he couldn't--if he had thought that that would ever be exposed that Bon was his son, he may have killed bon himself. If he had ever come to that point, he would have destroyed Bon jusst as he would have destroyed any other individual who got in his way."

--Faulkner in the University, Frederick Gwynn and Joseph Blotner, ed, Charlottsville: University Press of Virginia, 1995, 272




Title: Re: Reading Absalom
Post by: pugetopolis on August 31, 2007, 05:42:20 PM
Q. "Did you find Absalom, Absalom a very difficult novel to write?"

A. "Yes, it was difficult. I worked on that next hardest to The sound and the Fury, as i remember. Yes, I worked on that for a year and then put it away and wrote another book, and then the story still wouldn't let me alone and I came back to it. yeas, that was very difficult. There was a lot of rewriting in that."

--Faulkner in the University, Frederick Gwynn and Joseph Blotner, ed, Charlottsville: University Press of Virginia, 1995, 281


Title: Re: Reading Absalom
Post by: pugetopolis on August 31, 2007, 05:53:46 PM
Q. "Mr. Faulkner, in Absalom, Absalom when Shreve and Quentin are reconstructing the story for each other, they set up a lawyer who was directing the campaign of Charles's mother to gain revenge against Sutpen. Was there really any lawyer, do you think, or is it just a product of their imagination as they reconstructed the story?"

A. "I'm sorry, i don't remember that."

Q. "They speak about the man who was counseling Charles's mother in trying to get back at Sutpen."

A. "There probably was a lawyer. I don't remember that book, but yes, yes, there was a lawyer. That sounds too logical in Mississippi terms. Yes, he was--there was a lawyer there..."

--Faulkner in the University, Frederick Gwynn and Joseph Blotner, ed, Charlottsville: University Press of Virginia, 1995, 77


Title: Re: Reading Absalom
Post by: pugetopolis on August 31, 2007, 05:59:32 PM
Q. "How much of the story of Absalom, Absalom is reconstructed by Shreve and Quentin? How does the reader know which to accept as objective truth and which to consider just a [reflection] of their personalities?"

A. "Well, the story was told by Quentin to Shreve. Shreve was the commentator that held the thing to something of reality. If Quentin had been let alone to tell it, it would have become completely unreal. It had to have a solvent to keep it real, keep it believable, creditable, otherwise it would have vanished into smoke and fury..."

--Faulkner in the University, Frederick Gwynn and Joseph Blotner, ed, Charlottsville: University Press of Virginia, 1995, 75


Title: Re: Reading Absalom
Post by: pugetopolis on August 31, 2007, 06:08:54 PM
Q. "Sir, can you tell us where Sutpen acquired his money...? First he came back with the architect and all his--all the Negroes or sort of creatures that he had, and built his house, and then later on came back with the furniture."

A. "He very likely looted his Caribbean father-in-law's plantation when he married the daughter. I don't know that I ever decided myself just how he did it but very likely he looted and wrecked the whole place, took the girl because he didn't want her especially, he wanted a son, he wanted to establish his dynasty. And I imagine that he got that money to the States and then had to hide it here and there. There were no banks in those days, no safe place to put it. Probably was gold, something that was intrinsic of itself, and he would go off whenever he had buried it and dig up a little more when he needed it."

--Faulkner in the University, Frederick Gwynn and Joseph Blotner, ed, Charlottsville: University Press of Virginia, 1995, 46-47


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on August 31, 2007, 06:15:05 PM

Q. "Who is the central character in Absalom, Absalom? It seems so obviously to be Sutpen, yet it's been said that it's also the story of Quentin, and I was wondering just who is the central character?"

A. "The central character is Sutpen, yes. The story of a man who wanted a son and got too many, got so many that they destroyed him. It's incidentally the story of Quentin Compson's hatred of the bad qualities in the country he loves. But the central character is Sutpen, the story of a man who wanted sons."

--Faulkner in the University, Frederick Gwynn and Joseph Blotner, ed, Charlottsville: University Press of Virginia, 1995, 71


Title: Re: Reading Absalom
Post by: pugetopolis on August 31, 2007, 06:25:58 PM
Well, there--that's enough of that...

What I like about Faulkner in the University is that the undergraduate and graduate questions as well as Faulkner's answers are short and to the point.

Nothing like hearing it from the horse's mouth--rather than the circumloqutious, meandering, divagating minds of astute literary critics...

With Faulkner in the University, the reader can look up a novel or short story in the index and go directly to a short succinct Q & A dialog between the author and the student.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 31, 2007, 08:00:58 PM
Faulkner in the University sounds like a great resource.  It's funny that Faulknker forgets details.  He goes to all the trouble of creating a map of his county, a specific geographical boundary, population.  His space is "real" but it seems that instead of becoming "real" for Faulkner, his characters take on a life all their own. 

But as to the lawyer....we don't know that he actually existed outside of Quentin and Shreve's speculation.   They could have been right, but just as easily, they could have guessed wrong. 

The lawyer is interesting because if there was a lawyer, and if Bon's mother plotted the whole thing, then Sutpen threw it all away when he gave over to fate.  If there was no lawyer, no plotting, then Sutpen did have a chance to fulfull his grand design.  But if there was no lawyer, no plot, then the story takes on a supernatural element and fate has quite the role to play.



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 31, 2007, 08:21:59 PM
Here's one I just found on-line from Faulkner in the University.

(On his characters)
“Once these people come to life, . . . they take off and so the writer is going at a dead run behind them trying to put down what they say and do in time. . . . They have taken charge of the story.  They tell it from then on.” 
Faulkner in the University, 120

One wonders if author's minds sometimes take on the character of an insane asylum...inmates running the show. 

This is great fun:

http://www.semo.edu/cfs/faulkneria/quotes.htm (http://www.semo.edu/cfs/faulkneria/quotes.htm)

And here's the man himself....

(http://www.olemiss.edu/mwp/dir/faulkner_william/faulkner_in_paris_l.jpg)


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on August 31, 2007, 09:44:56 PM
It was a dark and stormy night…

Barton was blue—the methane mauve.

Actually sepia—but did it make any difference?

It was like being a guest at the spa.

No Exit—the patients come & go.

The fetid natatorium pool…

Ennui and boredom…



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 31, 2007, 10:58:00 PM
Pugetopolis....Did you finish those three stories?  I'll only comment on the first, since you mentioned it.  It is interesting to note the difference in the attitude toward siring daughters in moving from the stories to Absalom.  In The Big Shot, Martin (protoSutpen) seems just as happy to have a daughter, as he plans to use his daughter to breed himself into the upper classes.  Quite a contrast to the evolved Sutpen who sees himself as the establisher of a line of "dukes."

I wonder how Faulkner developed the idea of Absalom up through the short stories.   Faulkner said that his ideas sometimes came to him like thunderbolts, all at once.  So, did it one day strike him out of the blue that Sutpen's background was an empty canvas to draw on as he wished?  Perhaps he had the idea of a man wrestling with the gods. 


Title: Re: Reading Absalom
Post by: pugetopolis on August 31, 2007, 11:11:50 PM
I wonder how Faulkner developed the idea of Absalom up through the short stories.    

Q. "Sir, you mentioned at the English Club that you had to lay aside Absalom at one point, to resume it later on. I wonder if it might not have been the point where toward the end of Miss Rosa's section--where you might have felt that she was running away with you, because right after that Shreve comes in. Is that in your memory at all, sir?"

A. "I can't say just where it was that I had to put it down, that I decided that i didn't know enough at that time maybe or my feeling toward it wasn't passionate enough or pure enough, but I don't remember at what point I put it down. Though when I took it up again I almost rewrote the whole thing. I think that what I put down were inchoate framents that wouldn't coalesce and then when I took it up again, as i remember, I rewrote it."

--Faulkner in the University, Frederick Gwynn and Joseph Blotner, ed, Charlottsville: University Press of Virginia, 1995, 75-76.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 31, 2007, 11:37:21 PM
Whoa....sort of like asking questions of that old magic eight ball.  But tell me, what did Mr. Faulkner have for breakfast on the day he finished Absalom, Absalom?  ;) ;) :D

(http://www.classcaster.org/resserver.php?blogId=41&resource=eightball.jpg)


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on August 31, 2007, 11:41:12 PM
Better call in the big boys for that one:

(http://www.damnedgames.com/glowouija.jpg)


Title: Re: Reading Absalom
Post by: pugetopolis on September 01, 2007, 12:25:41 AM
In The Big Shot, Martin (protoSutpen) seems just as happy to have a daughter... 

And of course despite Martin's conniving for social triumph using his daughter, the tragedy is that's she's run-over and killed by Popeye racing to get the carload of liquor to Martin. This is after Martin gets Popeye out of trouble for the very same thing at the beginning of the short story.

In terms of timeline, the character traits of Popeye and Wrennie Martin anticipate Sanctuary and Absalom. And to a certain extent Snopes in the Snopes Trilogy. "Big Shot" was written in 1929 and published posthumously; later published in Uncollected Stories.

Martin is proto-Sutpen like you say; they both crave power and respect, they both have dynastic delusions, and they both use people to get what they want. So that kind of answers your question about short stories developing into novels. Faulkner kept everything; he morphed short stories into novels.

Blotner points out in Uncollected Stories that the stories "present a view of Faulkner's developing art over a span of thirty years." (p. xv).

A process that takes 30 years -- that's hard for Readers like you and me to comprehend; let alone put into a couple of sentences...





Title: Re: Reading Absalom
Post by: pugetopolis on September 01, 2007, 01:50:23 AM
“The Big Shot”

I found this little tidbit before going to bed. It’s from Karl’s excellent biography of Faulkner. He’s discussing “The Big Shot.” It shows the importance of the short story in the development of Sanctuary and Absalom in terms of the character development of the ur-Sutpen and ur-Popeye personalities.

“Here we encounter not only a foreshadowed Sutpen, Wash Jones and Temple Drake, not only the episode in which the child Sutpen is turned away at the big house in Absalom, but Popeye himself.”

“The story [“The Big Shot”] nevertheless lacks the inevitability of the characters, something the mature Faulkner never faulted on; and we become caught in coils of unshaped talk instead of that narrative race to an inexorable end. “The Big Shot” is so structured, in fact, that it can end only with an O. Henry punchline, which turns the story into a kind of amusement for which we are unprepared. Faulkner was reaching for a commercial success of sorts, but this leaden piece never found a publisher (it was rejected by the American Mercury and at least four other magazines). At nearly every stage, the story falls into stereotype, and the “big shot” seems formed by those stories of gangsters which found their way into the pulps, or a little later Hollywood movies with James Cagney, Edward G. Robinson, George Raft, and then Humphrey Bogart. Faulkner is clearly out of his depth, trying to write tough-guy fiction with a sentence structure suited to other materials.”

“The Big Shot,” then, despite its focus on Dal Martin (the big shot, a pre-Sutpen “force”) and his Temple Drake-like daughter, has something very personal in it. And although Faulkner does not describe Popeye’s sexual deviance here, saving it for Sanctuary, he suggests in the story something of Popeye’s epicene quality. How much this mirrored Faulkner’s sense of himself we cannot tell; but we do know that Popeye’s bizarre sexuality played an important role in the sexual patterns in Faulkner’s work for the next ten years.”

—Frederick Karl, William Faulkner: American Writer, New York: Ballantine, 1989, 263-264.


Another nice book discussion day. Thank you, Hoffman.



Title: Re: Rachael Ray
Post by: pugetopolis on September 01, 2007, 02:40:50 AM
(http://farm1.static.flickr.com/155/413249692_451cb43e44.jpg?v=0)

Caddy / Temple Drake


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 01, 2007, 11:55:19 AM
Have you got to Evangeline yet?  This story came after The Big Shot.  Here Faulkner writes Judith/Henry/Bon, but the relationship is different than in AA.    Race is the central issue, rather than the racial/intersexual conflict between brother/brother/sister.  There is also a theme of secret keeping and family loyalty.

Henry has the central role, rather than his father, so there is none of the mythic quality, the idea of playing with fate, the hubris that will be Thomas Sutpen' downfall. 


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: johnr60 on September 01, 2007, 03:54:43 PM
race is the central issue

For me that's the case in Absalom:

Surpen's problem with Bon is not incest, it's tainted seed.

Sutpen inherits a code in which sister's become pregnant in a wagon full of family and he remains basically isolated from southern culture.

I have no feeling at all for a gay relationship between Bon and Henry and the menage idea to me is forced.  There is more chance of a relationship between Henry and Judith.

Shereve's story is no more than speculation apparently believed in part by Quentin.

Thomas Sutpen is pictured as heroic. 

It might be interesting to speculate on facts not present in the text and then speculate on where the author got those  facts, but in my mind is has nothing to do with interpretation.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: johnr60 on September 01, 2007, 03:56:43 PM
please scratch the inappropriate apostrophe


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: johnr60 on September 01, 2007, 04:01:59 PM
reader

I see the baseball piece as merely a time-space positioning device by RLJ and another chance to show his Clarion reporting skills.

Stiles becomes a paid observer soon.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: johnr60 on September 01, 2007, 04:12:32 PM
hoffman

Your very early comment on stereotypes interests me since it appears to come from the false notion that stereotypes are bad.  Twain, Lee, Faulkner (fill in the rest) have built our (non-participant) image of the South; why wouldn't it feel steretypical?


Title: Re: Reading Absalom
Post by: pugetopolis on September 01, 2007, 04:17:45 PM

It might be interesting to speculate on facts not present in the text and then speculate on where the author got those  facts, but in my mind is has nothing to do with interpretation.


Faulkner’s Sexualities

Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference • July 22–26, 2007

"William Faulkner grew up and began his writing career during a time of great cultural upheaval, not the least aspect of which was in the realm of sexuality. Every normative notion of sexual identity and sexual relationship was ripe for reexamination, every form of behavior and utterance probed for its sexual implication. Not only does Faulkner explore multiple forms of sexuality throughout his work, he also studies their implications within various social, economic, and racial concerns. Quentin Compson’s obsession over decaying social standards in The Sound and the Fury is complicated by the incestuous desires seemingly designed to purify what he regards as sexual violation. Same-sex attraction in Absalom, Absalom! is both the screen for racial hatred and its hidden core. Sexuality and trade in The Hamlet antagonize and inspire each other. Above all, the sexual and psychosexual dimensions of race relations is always a factor, a straight and/or queer dynamic inseparable from an intimacy that underlies even the most violent situations."

http://www.outreach.olemiss.edu/events/faulkner/


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 01, 2007, 08:58:09 PM
hoffman

Your very early comment on stereotypes interests me since it appears to come from the false notion that stereotypes are bad.  Twain, Lee, Faulkner (fill in the rest) have built our (non-participant) image of the South; why wouldn't it feel steretypical?


Not good or bad, but maybe a bit of both.  If an author begins from a position that his readers are familiar with, he can write with less diversions from the plot.  Also, stereotypes exist for a reason; there is usually at least a small kernel of truth behind them. 

On the negative, very often stereotypes only focus on the inferior aspect of a particular culture or people.

And so, when I find myself reading material that is stereotypical, I ask "why?". 



Title: Re: Reading Absalom
Post by: pugetopolis on September 01, 2007, 09:57:29 PM
“Evangeline”

Faulkner’s university lecture notes and Karl’s biography are the two books I read when I read Faulkner.

“The Big Shot” opened up doors for me—and so has “Evangeline.”

1 Karl looks at “Evangeline” as more than ur-version of Absalom.

2 What characterizes the story is persiflage: a vaudeville act, a comic routine.

3 The narrator (“I”) and Don (Spratling-figure in New Orleans sketches) are lighthearted innocuous characters.

4 These two evolve into Quentin and Shreve in Absalom.

5 Ole Miss, New Orleans, the War—these plots are in “Evangeline.”

6 The narrator does the Henry Sutpen discovery trip in the “dark house” like Quentin—aided by Raby Sutpen.

7 He learns Henry killed Bon—the “last shot of the war.”

8 Faulkner has the subject for Absalom—but it has to develop some.

9 How does the author do this?

10 Authoring his way thru the short story to the novel?


Title: Re: Reading Absalom
Post by: pugetopolis on September 01, 2007, 10:22:47 PM
Storytelling—A Garden of a Thousand Forking Paths

“Other foreshadowings occur at this time. [“Evangeline”] would remain unpublished, although heavy revision led into various aspects of Absalom. This inchoate story, with the great novel implicit in it, reveals a degree of supernatural dimension to his imagination. His creative mind appeared to have stored away all the materials he wanted to use, and as he moved along, this material did not have to be invented, but reinvented.”

One can see this with the short stories—many of them submitted to Woman’s Home Companion, Scriber’s, Collier’s, etc. for cash which he needed badly. Many stories were rejected—but Faulkner kept them and reworked them.

“It was all there, ready to be tapped. If we assume some such working, then we can connect it to his need to tell and retell; for reinventing is a form of retelling for his own use. It was not so much that he was a natural-born storyteller—he was a retriever of what was somehow implanted in his imagination and which could be recalled only through a complicated method of narrative repetition.”

Narrative repetition—the Southern tradition. Telling the story over and over again on verandahs and by evening fire—generation to generation.

“The enemy of his imagination was apparently the simple line, the straightforward story. As though he were in thrall of something he could not quite control, he had to let his emanations evolve in the only way they could—through looping, overlapping, and repeated telling.”

The trick—looping, overlapping, and repeated telling.

“This was true in his early career, even as soon as “Elmer” and Father Abraham, but it becomes clearer as we move through these miraculous years 1929-32. By now, he has foretold his future. Like some Biblical Joseph prophesying the ways of the land, Faulkner was reading his own career for the next twenty years.”

Reading one’s life forward—inside a garden of a thousand forkingpaths

—Frederick Karl, William Faulkner: American Writer, New York: Ballantine, 1989, 440.




Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 02, 2007, 12:41:45 AM
Persiflage....There is sort of a staged feel about that whole conversation in the big house....Henry upstairs on his deathbed, Raby keeping hold of the family secrets, the dog that keeps coming back...and Raby's parting shot:  "He was my brother." 

Maybe after writing The Big Shot, Evangeline and Wash, Faulkner thought he was finished, but the characters kept nagging at him. 

Or maybe Faulkner was practicing what he preached.  From an interview in the Paris Review:   "...There is no mechanical way to get the writing done, no shortcut. The young writer would be a fool to follow a theory. Teach yourself by your own mistakes; people learn only by error. The good artist believes that nobody is good enough to give him advice. He has supreme vanity. No matter how much he admires the old writer, he wants to beat him."



Title: Re: Reading Absalom
Post by: pugetopolis on September 02, 2007, 07:02:35 PM
May I quote from our discussion over in Latin Literature?


This is why I'm interested in "magic realisim."

As I mentioned to Hoffman above:

I read this as Borges discussing Adrogué as the ur-city of his Argentine imagination—just as Yoknapatawpha County is the ur-place of William Faulkner’s American imagination.

These archetypal “magic realist” labyrinthine ruins like Adrogué—these are the places where writers and poets lose themselves. It is by being lost that the Narrative of the fourth dimension becomes known. It’s through telling, retelling, looping back, getting lost, moving deeper and deeper into the Maze—that in my humble opinion the meaning of Adrogué to Borges can be found. It's like stepping back into the Heraclitus flux ("You shall not go down twice to the same river") and experiencing the Moment again whatever that Moment was that haunts you or takes you down a Labyrinthine path into the forked paths or the Library of Babel or the Circular Ruins or the Works of Herbert Quain or Tlön, Uqbar or Orbis Tertius...


One can step into the Heraclitus flux again and again...by telling, retelling, looping back, getting lost, moving deeper and deeper into the Maze as both Borges and Faulkner did. Borges seems to use interesting almost surrealist models like the Library of Babel to do this House of Mirrors trick. Faulkner seems to stick closer to home by letting the novel itself be the Gate through which his storytelling powers mature, develop and awe us lucky Readers...

Or rather perhaps seduce us down the meandering path into our own Adrogué-esque imaginations?



Title: Re: Reading Absalom
Post by: pugetopolis on September 02, 2007, 09:21:24 PM
Reading Absalom

Perhaps we don’t read Faulkner—like readers read Faulkner back then. Back in the Thirties or even now. A friend of mine from Charleston—his mother said she didn’t read Faulkner because he wasn’t a nice writer. He wrote about things—that a fine upstanding Charleston woman shouldn’t read about or even discuss…

To paraphrase Borges: Even though Robert Browning’s poem “Fears and Scruples” prophesies the work of Kafka, Browning did not read the poem as we read it today. Our reading of Kafka noticeably refines and diverts our reading of the poem. If it’s read at all…or for that matter if either Browning or Kafka are read today.

Ask a you-tube kid or a boy reading graphic novels on the floor in the aisles of Fiction there in Barnes and Noble or Borders…”By the way young man, what do you think of Kafka or Faulkner?” you’ll get this look of puzzlement and wonder. If you get that at all—with their earphones growing out of their heads…

The same with older readers—how many have read Absalom, Absalom? “Is it the precursor of his other novels?” More dead-brainer looks—so very embarrassing to me. A serious devotee of literature—there at the Book Temples near the university. I can get into movies like Sin City—but the graphic novels it’s taken from leave me cold and brain-dead. The you-tube interviews with writers interest me—but hip hop hauteur I ain’t…

The word “precursor” is used a lot in the vocabulary of criticism—often in terms of polemic and rivalry like William Logan’s review “Hart Crane’s Bridge to Nowhere” in the NYTimes January 28, 2007.

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=990CE0D71130F93BA15752C0A9619C8B63

For some reason gay poets like Crane are still being politicized by the NYTimes in tacky outmoded discriminatory ways. It’s easy to kick a dead gay man like Crane—like his contemporary closet-case critics back in the Thirties did like Yvor Winters at Stanford. Stanford University? Oh dear me…

http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/5905

Things change somewhat though—although some say things don’t change, they just get worse. For example, doing a Google of “logan crane critics” comes up with a nice list of anti-Logan links with a perhaps more reasonable critique of the man Hart Crane:

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=logan+crane+critics

“It’s disappointing to watch Logan, usually such a fine critic, spend half of his review eloquently recounting Crane’s life and the other half smirking at his poems. At worst, Logan dismisses Crane’s poetry in between bouts of stock biographical trivia, and he demonstrates sparse intimacy with that poetry beyond a superficial disinclination towards Crane’s heroic failure to produce an American masterpiece on the order of “Song of Myself.”

http://kenyonreview.org/blog/?p=307

You see what I mean? The NYTimes seems to cultivate anti-gay lit crit. The Logan piece, the skimpy poet laureate Ashbery piece, the purging of BBB and the Book Forum…But then the Old Grey Lady has been doing that a long time, don’t cha know?

The fact is that any writer—gay or straight— creates his or her own precursors. Faulkner’s Absalom modifies our conception of the past—as it will modify the future. (See T. S. Eliot, Points of View (1941), 25-26.)

“In this correlation, the identity or plurality of men doesn’t matter. The first Kafka of “Betrachtung” is less a precursor of the Kafka of the gloomy myths and terrifying institutions than is Browning or Lord Dunsany.”—Jorge Luis Borges, “Kafka and his Precursors,” Selected Non-Fictions, New York: Penguin, 1999, 365

I suppose that’s why I’m interested in the recent Yoknapatawpha Faulkner Conference at Ole Miss. I would have gone down there myself but the July heat and humidity would surely have done this old queen in—despite the juleps and my desperate Pascagoula Funeral Home cardboard fan doing overtime…

Ole Miss Press -- won't cha send me a copy please...


Title: Re: Reading Absalom
Post by: pugetopolis on September 02, 2007, 10:36:13 PM
(http://www.olemiss.edu/depts/general_library/files/archives/exhibits/past/faulknercentennial/images/year.jpg)

http://www.olemiss.edu/depts/general_library/files/archives/exhibits/past/faulknercentennial/faulkcent.html


Title: Re: Reading Absalom
Post by: pugetopolis on September 02, 2007, 11:16:32 PM
(http://www.olemiss.edu/depts/general_library/files/archives/exhibits/past/faulknercentennial/images/pylger.jpg)

Wendemarke. Translated by Georg Goyent. Berlin: Rowohlt, [1936]. First German Edition, First printing. With dust jacket.

Wendemarke.(German for "pylon") was published three years after Adolf Hitler's rise to power in Germany. The expressionist jacket design for Wendemarke is as stunning as it is unsettling.

http://www.olemiss.edu/depts/general_library/files/archives/exhibits/past/faulknercentennial/faulkcent.html



Title: Re: Reading Absalom
Post by: pugetopolis on September 03, 2007, 03:41:28 PM
"Faulkner likes to expound the novel through his characters. This method is not entirely original--Robert Browning's The Ring and the Book (1868) details the same crime ten times, through ten voices and ten souls--but Faulkner infuses it with an intensity that is almost intolerable. There is an infintie decomposition, an infintie and black carnality, in this book. The theater is the state of Mississippi: the heroes, men disintegrating from envy, alcohol, loneliness and the erosions of hate. Absalom, Absalom is comparable to The Sound and the Fury. I know no higher praise." [1937]--Jorge Luis Borges, "William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom," Collected Non-Fictions, New York: Penguin, 1999, 178.

I like the way Borges phrases it: "decomposition" and "black carnality."


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 03, 2007, 06:41:25 PM
Quentin and Shreve

After reading Borges, I wondered to myself if Quentin and Shreve are reconstructing the past, deconstructing the past, decomposing the past…or ad libbing a past that only exists in Quentin’s troubled Southern mind…extrapolated even further by Shreve’s Canadian presuppositions about a South he’s never experienced or actually knows...

This “South” that Quentin and Shreve are talking about—isn’t it just one of an infinite series of possible Southern scenarios? A series that bends back on itself like a snake or circular labyrinth? After reading the Borges article quote below, I began thinking that Faulkner perhaps would purposely lose himself in such a labyrinth of memory & recalled anecdotes—worming, bookworming, storytelling, retelling, looping back in and out of such a maze-mindset…enjoying himself like I'm sure he did and at the same time keeping track of where he’d been by writing it down in longhand...getting into it more and more...

After all, it’s not really Quentin and Shreve doing the storytelling—it’s Faulkner or one of the many Faulkner(s) writing and rewriting what we read now. Faulkner’s fictional universe seems to be very much like Borges’ fictional universe. Except Faulkner seems more imbued with "decomposition" and "black carnality." While Borges the Librarian and super-intellectual seems almost like a Latin American version of the English philosopher George Berkeley (1685-1753).

“Borges's fictional universe was born from his vast and esoteric readings in literature, philosophy, and theology. He sees man's search for meaning in an infinite universe as a fruitless effort. In the universe of energy, mass, and speed of light, Borges considers the central riddle time, not space. "He believed in an infinite series of times, in a growing, dizzying net of divergent, convergent and parallel times. This network of times which approached one another, forked, broke off, or were unaware of one another for centuries, embraces all possibilities of time." The theological speculations of Gnosticism and the Cabala gave ideas for many of his plots. Borges has told in an interview that when he was a boy, he found an engraving of the seven wonders of the world, one of which portrayed a circular labyrinth. It frightened him and the maze has been one of his recurrent nightmares. "Almost instantly, I understood: 'The garden of forking paths' was the chaotic novel; the phrase 'the various futures (not to all)' suggested to me the forking in time, not in space. A broad rereading of the work confirmed the theory. In all fictional works, each time a man is confronted with several alternatives, he chooses one and eliminates the others; in the fiction of Ts'ui Pên, he chooses - simultaneously - all of them. He creates, in this way, diverse futures, diverse time which themselves also proliferate and fork." (from 'The Garden of Forking Paths')

http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/jlborges.htm



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 03, 2007, 08:09:19 PM
Quote
After all, it’s not really Quentin and Shreve doing the storytelling—it’s Faulkner or one of the many Faulkner(s) writing and rewriting what we read now.


I rather have this image of all these characters running amok in Faulkner's brain.   Which is Faulkner?  Which are his creations?  When does Faulkner become his own creation?

“Once these people come to life, . . . they take off and so the writer is going at a dead run behind them trying to put down what they say and do in time. . . . They have taken charge of the story.  They tell it from then on.” 
Faulkner in the University, 120



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 03, 2007, 08:21:30 PM

“Once these people come to life, . . . they take off and so the writer is going at a dead run behind them trying to put down what they say and do in time. . . . They have taken charge of the story.  They tell it from then on.” 
Faulkner in the University, 120


That's kind of neat isn't it?

Kind of like a megaschizoid personality...

Reminds me of a Witch I know...  :)


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 03, 2007, 10:29:20 PM
Here is another cover of Pylon...also quite unsettling. 

(http://www.lib.umich.edu/spec-coll/faulknersite/faulknersite/majornovels/pylon87.jpg)


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Dzimas on September 04, 2007, 04:06:01 AM
Pylon was an interesting story, darker more disturbing than the Reivers, which also centered itself around a new form of technology.  The Reivers seemed to be mostly good fun, as Faulkner played the horse off the car in this amusing tale, with the horse ultimately pulling the car as I remember.  In Pylon, the pilot meets a fiery end, which had been the case in Sartoris.  Both pilots seemed to have death wishes and the airplane served as the means to fulfill these wishes. It seemed that Faulkner had a very hard time reconciling his younger brother crashing to his death in a plane he had sold to him.  But, it was also interesting how Faulkner built his tale of modernity in Pylon as the city of New Orleans inaugurates its new airport, only for everyone to bear witness to a plane crash.  It seems to me that Faulkner had a hard time coming to terms with modernity.  His characters all take on anancrhonistic qualities, trying to hold onto lost pride, lost hopes, lost dreams in an antebellum South that slowly recedes into the past.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on September 04, 2007, 04:33:38 AM
Dzimas, it's gone, funky swamp. I'm sure you saw the architectural projections this past week ago in NYT. What did you  think of them?

I liked them but then this happens in other places, other times, it's grand impermanence. And when you take a second look at the projections, it will all be blown again because you can see the lack of preparation to keep any of it safe.

Then finally I know that the city will not be there any more, although the physical unhealthiness will prevail as it did from the start. I rue that there were architects in the family who beautified a place just gone. The idea of separating people out to do this thing is going to be hell to pay.

 I would never set foot in that hell hole again. It's so obvious here. There are people playing out segregation at every opportunity between whatever pages they read off at each other and report.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Dzimas on September 04, 2007, 04:47:49 AM
Maddie, are you really up at 4:33 am or are you out on the West Coast somewhere?


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Donotremove on September 04, 2007, 05:37:19 AM
Dzimas,  :)  Maddy's not out there yet, but her son's working on her to move.  She's up, probably hot after some fact or another that she's mislaid.  I always imagine her by her computer--wherever she's got it stashed--amidst picariously piled papers of mountainous proportions, muttering to herself about "where the hell is that".  Just now, she probably made a parthian shot and signed off.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 04, 2007, 06:33:15 AM
Dzimas, it's gone, funky swamp.

(http://www.occultopedia.com/images_/spanish_witch.jpg)

"The past is never dead. It's not even past..."
--William Faulkner, Act I Scene III of Requiem for a Witch


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 04, 2007, 08:23:43 PM
The Absalom parallel is clear, but Faulkner goes beyond creating Sutpen to parallel King David, his Sutpen parallels God.  In the beginning, Sutpen is a godlike figure, tearing Sutpen's Hundred out of the chaos.  Sutpen gives birth to a trinity.  His first child, Bon might be read as a reference to the creation myth found in Genesis.  God sees the creation and pronounces it "good,"  Faulkner puns on this and calls Sutpen's creation "Bon."  In the biblical parallel, God sacrifices his son to purify humankind; Sutpen sacrifices Bon to purify his bloodline.

The other two thirds of the trinity would be Judith and Henry who form "that single personality with two bodies....."  (Vintage 73).

Here are the texts if anyone is interested.  They are quite long, so I won't post them here.

Genesis 1:1-27

http://www.breslov.com/bible/Genesis1.htm (http://www.breslov.com/bible/Genesis1.htm)

2 Samuel 11-15, 18 (It would be interesting to know which translation Faulkner used as his source.  In the 30's South, I'd guess the King James Version....anyone know if Faulkner could read the original?)

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Samuel%2011-13,%2015,%2018   (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Samuel%2011-13,%2015,%2018)


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: johnr60 on September 05, 2007, 02:54:26 PM
The Absalom parallel is clear


Not to me.  If Faulkner were plotting based on the myth seems he would have followed it more closely.  He would also have more ready answers to plot questions than-- I dont remember.
I think the story was there, he needed a title, knew the brother kills brother who loves sister story, and named his accordingly--but why twice?


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 05, 2007, 03:46:45 PM
Twice because it echoes the cry of David, " O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom!"   


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 05, 2007, 09:11:10 PM
(http://images.barnesandnoble.com/images/8630000/8635050.jpg)

I'm thinking about moving on down the line, now, Hoffman.

I think we've pretty much exhausted the possibilities of Abasalom for now, don't you? It was an excellent discussion. Thank you very much.

Would you be interested in reading Wild Palms next?

I'm interested in Wild Palms because of how Borges streamlines the typical uber-sentences of Faulkner and how his translation skills and Argentine literary background deepen some of the concepts Faulkner is getting into, e.g. time.

What Faulkner does with time in Absalom is very interesting in terms of time, flashbacks and storytelling...

It looks like Wild Palms is along the same lines.

Enough to get Gabriel Garcia Marquez into magic realist overdrive...  ;) ;) ;)

Faulkner, William, Translated by Jorge Luis Borges, Las Palmeras Salvajes, Editorial Sudamericana, Buenos Aires, 1940.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 05, 2007, 09:43:45 PM
Pugetopolis.....why yes I certainly would be interested. 

That Borges translation makes me wish I could read Spanish....I can figure out the words, but I miss the subtleties. 

I ordered The Wild Palmsfrom Amazon, should have it Friday. 


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 05, 2007, 09:57:54 PM
Perhaps nnyhav, elportenito, beppo and martin...

...can help us out with the Spanish translation... :) :) :)



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: martinbeck3 on September 06, 2007, 10:45:37 AM
I´ll join with my Borges´translation of The Wild Palms.It´s no that I wouldn´t love to read it in English but the book can´t be obtained.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on September 06, 2007, 11:08:48 AM
What are the wishes of this forum?

Do you want another poll to choose the next book, or is everyone in agreement on the Palms?



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 06, 2007, 04:09:21 PM
I'm not sure we can reach a concensus when your preferred reading is boring to me, and my preferred reading is boring to you.

See what I mean? I think you've answered your own question.

I don't plan to waste my time quibbling for weeks on book lists, who wants what, who hates who, whether this book or that book qualifies for Fiction or not.

The Fiction Forum is big enough for multiple Threads.

If you don't want to read Wild Palms with us, then fine. Please start your own Thread, weezo.

I hope it turns out better than your American History fandango going on over there.  :)





Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 06, 2007, 05:37:23 PM
I´ll join with my Borges´translation of The Wild Palms.It´s no that I wouldn´t love to read it in English but the book can´t be obtained.

Thank you, Martin.

I really do look forward to your help with the Borges translation.

It should be fun...


Title: Madeleine L'Engle died
Post by: josh on September 07, 2007, 04:32:19 PM
She was 88. She will be missed. She will be remembered.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: johnr60 on September 07, 2007, 09:20:26 PM
reader:

I will hold baseball in reserve for a while--I may wake someday with an opinion. 

Meanwhile, your ursidic comments on Faulkner ring true. 

I  believe this is not a reflection of the talents of writer, but of the reader.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 07, 2007, 09:46:38 PM

Like that thicket wood, I can't find a trail in Absalom. 


Well, maybe that's the idea.

Memory is a labyrinth. It's not linear. It's not cause and effect.

It may not have any of the typical Aristotelean aesthetic ideals either...like plot, character development and all that stuff.

In some ways, Absalom is like Pale Fire.

You can open it up anywhere...and begin...and begin...and begin.

Not everything's logical and left brain like John thinks.

Reading Miss Campbell and Mythology books all the time...it's just another religion for some people.

Always studying and opining about the Labyrinth...rather than actually getting in there and doing it.

Just because a book like Absalom and Ulysses is difficult...doesn't mean it's stupid.

And neither are the readers who try to understand it...at least they aren't brain-dead yet...



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 07, 2007, 10:03:54 PM
reader:

Meanwhile, your ursidic comments on Faulkner ring true. 

I  believe this is not a reflection of the talents of writer, but of the reader.


I have no idea what ursidic means...

I searched thru dictionaries, the net, google...zip.

Maybe it's a fancy hoity-toity Jungian word for a bowel movement...

Too bad you didn't even try reading Absalom...maybe your comments would have been more germane.

And informed...like with Beowulf and Johan Huizinga...

I'm surprised and somewhat disappointed in you, John...

The thing that amazes me about many Elba and NYTimes readers is that they come into a book discussion acting like know-it-alls demanding writers like Faulkner conform to their own bourgeois conceptions of what the writing project is, what the book says and how other readers should read that books...

That's kinda bossy don't ya think...I call it sheer ignorance.

Give me a ghetto kid without any education or attitude...they don't even have to know how to read.

Let them watch and listen to Faulkner or any other writer on You-Tube or DVD read their work...

And they understand...a lot better than many so-called educated baby-boomers or child-idiots...

Don't take it personally...my "Anima" made me do it.

I'm like Nabokov...I despise Freud as a fraud...








Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on September 07, 2007, 10:39:20 PM
Puget,

There was something about your reference last post to the understanding of the ghetto kid who couldn't read that took me back to a year when I was teaching American Lit to my LD and EMR students, and we were slogging through some heavy stuff. The Scarlet Letter by Hawthorne was listed as a MUST READ for the course, and I knew that it would be hopeless to try to drag my kids through reading it, so I got a copy of the old silent version of the movie, and they LOVED IT. They chattered on for days about the various significances in the story.

By contrast, we had a copy of The Pearl in the lit book that I was using, and tried, in two years to get a class through it with no success. Again, I got the movie, but they found that just as hopeless. I didn't bother to try The Pearl a third year. There is so much other good stuff out there that engages kids so much better.



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 07, 2007, 10:55:19 PM
Here's my confession, Reader....I had to use the chronology at the back of my edition and pre-read the end notes as well. 

I have to disagree with you Johnr.  I think Faulkner purposely made this difficult.  Long sentences, speakers who share the same voice, unreliable narration....very tough going.   





Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 07, 2007, 11:00:16 PM

Like that thicket wood, I can't find a trail in Absalom. 


Well, maybe that's the idea.

Memory is a labyrinth. It's not linear. It's not cause and effect.



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 07, 2007, 11:02:33 PM

Like that thicket wood, I can't find a trail in Absalom. 


Well, maybe that's the idea.

Memory is a labyrinth. It's not linear. It's not cause and effect.


Memory....not particularly reliable, either. 


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: johnr60 on September 07, 2007, 11:12:33 PM
I do surprise and often disappoint, I do not cut and paste well.  I dont know what ursidic means, I made it up, but I'll bet reader knows and my post was directed to him. 

The following was posted quite some time ago.  I cant find it so here's a repeat:


puget
 
Of course Faulkner is a fine writer.  I have read Absalom at least twice, the last of these recently and have said what I think of the work with little response (only hoffman, if memory serves). 

If I have not responded to your stuff on homosexuality, the other and Borges and Faulkner, it's not because I did not read them, it's because I do not relate to them. Certainly I view them as an opinion which I allow without feeling a need to disagree, even though I do.

In the meantime, I would suggest that ignorance is a term that any true educator would be extremely careful in using.



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: johnr60 on September 07, 2007, 11:14:46 PM
hoffman

nothing would be further from my mind than Faulkner making it intentionally difficult for the reader. 


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 07, 2007, 11:17:15 PM
Absalom is fiction...not nonfiction.

Fiction and fairy tales don't have to be reliable...reliable to what?

Reliability means repeatability and scientific proof in the sciences...

But reading and writing aren't sciences...

Borges and the Tower of Babel...the mirrors...Tlon...

What could be more labyrinthine than a writer's imagination?

What is a Labyrinth?

Acausal? Synchronicity?

Naw not that...that sounds too Jungian...

Ain't no Ariadnian Thread in & out...

Borges says it's hopeless...

Faulkner...I dunno...












Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 07, 2007, 11:27:35 PM
Absalom is fiction...not nonfiction.

Fiction and fairy tales don't have to be reliable...reliable to what?

Reliability means repeatability and scientific proof in the sciences...


Reliability....each narrator presents a different Sutpen.  Who is right?  All?  None?  Part of what makes this difficult is the constant sifting through alternate realities.



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 07, 2007, 11:31:11 PM

If I have not responded to your stuff on homosexuality, the other and Borges and Faulkner, it's not because I did not read them, it's because I do not relate to them. Certainly I view them as an opinion which I allow without feeling a need to disagree, even though I do.

I don't feel a need to disagree with your heterosexualist breeder agenda either...even though I think it stinks.

Quote

In the meantime, I would suggest that ignorance is a term that any true educator would be extremely careful in using.


Please don't threaten me. I'm not a teacher or member of Academe...like you seem to be.

I'm a writer and published poet...I speak for myself. I'm a member of the Nation Writers Union...

I'm not an academic whore...did you lick ass for tenure? Or did publish and perish do you in?

So don't lay that "don't ask don't tell" keep-silent routine on me...

And don't tell me what I can say or not say on the Internet.

After this week, I don't care about poeple like you...

Why cast pearls before swine...that's right, swine.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on September 07, 2007, 11:43:22 PM
Puget,

I thought you said you preferred being a lover not a fighter? Then you attack John, when he is politely answering your question. He didn't say anything negative about your preferred sexual style, but you sure loaded your response with negatives!

As to writing vs academia, there is more than one purpose for writing. I don't know if John is in academia or not, but you sure shot a lot of venim at that possibility. Why?



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 08, 2007, 02:09:25 AM
Forget it.

Wild Palms is cancelled.

Have a nice weekend.



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: josh on September 10, 2007, 11:44:34 AM
Not everything's logical and right brain like John thinks.

Just a quick obsessive note:

Logical normally maps to left brain, creative to right side, in that dichotomous view of the world.


Title: Re: LAS PALMERAS SALVAJES!(whaddya know?)
Post by: martinbeck3 on September 10, 2007, 01:20:46 PM
Puget, for me The Wild Palms are ON .They are real hot news.

I can smell the places,see them,feel them.Awesome writing ( nothing new to you,I suppose, but it´s so good to discover a Master Writer.

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.

Question 1: why is Faulkner´s character-the doctor- so angry with bourgeois society? He destets it. He reminds me of Steppenwolf who detested but at the same time longed for it (when he ,another Harry, walked along the streets and looked into the interior of the homes and  saw the little plant on the satircase and imagined the hands that had placed it there).The Dr.´s wife is the pattern on which Cortázar used for his Maga in Rayuela (Hopscotch).

Question 2: some chapters,the ones that refer to the doctor and his wife are called Las Palmeras Salvajes , the others -the ones of the prisoners- "El Viejo" (the old man).Borges on a note says it refers to the Old Man River,I think he is right because the river is always present in those chapters (couldn´t help remembering Katrina and my own tour through the region). 

Question ·: when will I know the reason for two parallel plots?

...and much,much more soon.My copy is scribbled all over.
sht. now I HAVE to work !

   


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 10, 2007, 10:04:30 PM
Logical normally maps to left brain, creative to right side, in that dichotomous view of the world.

You're right. I've corrected my post. Thank you.


Title: Re: LAS PALMERAS SALVAJES!(whaddya know?)
Post by: pugetopolis 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...






 


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo 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.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pontalba 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.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis 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.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pontalba 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. :)


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pontalba 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.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis 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…    ;)

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


Title: Parody and Satire
Post by: josh 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!



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 11, 2007, 02:28:38 AM
That's right...they live it.

Just ask any poor suffering parents...  ;)


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: josh 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.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: bosox18d 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.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: bosox18d 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.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis 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  ;D




Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pontalba 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.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: johnr60 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.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: martinbeck3 on September 11, 2007, 12:34:19 PM
JOSH, I think MAD is an excellent example and they´ll love it.

http://www.dccomics.com/mad/


Title: Re: THE WILD PALMS
Post by: martinbeck3 on September 11, 2007, 12:38:35 PM
PUGET, O.K. I´ll wait until next week.Meanwhile I´ll keep on scribbling questions and notes on the margins.


READER, I think you and I as readers of LatAm.lit. have an advantage when reading Faulkner as we have read -specially in the old NYT forum- lots of novels that used the Faulkner method. I´d say most.
 


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 11, 2007, 05:38:53 PM
That is really what this statement (and the ursidic 715 are getting at).

Hey man, john over in Meandeville says ursidic means "bearassed" [sic].

Well, being the grammar queen that I am, I couldn't help myself.

I suggested john meant "bare-assed" rather than "bearassed" dontchaknow?

Maybe I should be more cryptozoid and go into a trance...

That way I can understand one-liners better sorta...  :) :)

BTW speaking of satire...I'm on a roll over in La La Land...

I gots Eraserhead on da brain, baby...

http://forums.escapefromelba.com/index.php/topic,30.msg30412.html#msg30412












Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 11, 2007, 06:00:23 PM
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.


Just piping in here while I catch up on posts, but The Sound and the Fury is a great read to follow up Absalom, Absalom.  It brings clarity to some of the issues in AA, and adds a whole heap of new ones to the pile.



Title: Re: Parody and Satire
Post by: Lhoffman on September 11, 2007, 06:02:44 PM
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!

The teenagers I've worked with usually like Vonnegut and Murakami.  They don't seem to  approach Twain with the same enjoyment we might have when we were teens.   The big complaint I hear is that they find it anachronistic.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 11, 2007, 06:04:25 PM
JOSH, I think MAD is an excellent example and they´ll love it.

http://www.dccomics.com/mad/


YES!!!!!


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pontalba on September 11, 2007, 06:12:32 PM
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.


Just piping in here while I catch up on posts, but The Sound and the Fury is a great read to follow up Absalom, Absalom.  It brings clarity to some of the issues in AA, and adds a whole heap of new ones to the pile.


Thanks for confirming that.  :)  I thought as much from the reading up on Faulkner I've done.  I have also just received The Snopes Trilogy as well for after TSATF.

Reader, I cannot understand why you feel you have to contradict my statement regarding my personal knowledge of the types of people Faulkner writes about.  Let me clarify.  I do not mean accents, or speech patterns.  I am referring to a pattern of thought these characters possess.



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: josh on September 11, 2007, 08:06:28 PM
Thank you all for your input.

Mutually Assured Destruction certainly feels like parody to me.

What? Oh! You meant MAD Magazine! Right...

Paddy Chayefsky and Jerzy Kosinski are on my list. Woody Allen's God, probably makes the cut. I was thinking perhaps of Charles Erskine Scott Wood. The Brand X Anthology of Poetry and the Fiction companion are definitely included as is the Journal of Irreproducible Results. I'll have a look at Saki. Thurber, too. (Beyond fiction, we're doing music, poetry, and movies, as well as cartooning, comics, and essayists. I think I could do 5 courses with no repetition.)


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: johnr60 on September 11, 2007, 09:02:44 PM
"Faulkner is weaving a narration that is a collective narration, one that includes not merely human characters but history and the land as some sort of character/force/entity/cause and effect too.  The narrative is a product of collective voices and experiences."

True.  But pontalba experienced it first hand.  You and I only thru Faulkner.  The difference is so obvious to me that I feel I'm missing something


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: bosox18d on September 11, 2007, 10:40:09 PM
Josh if you are about there is a great web site The Literary Gothic that has Saki and a lot of others.Click on the author link and under Saki there are plenty of free stories online.It is the third link under H.H. Munro that has a bunch of free stories.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: nnyhav on September 11, 2007, 10:45:45 PM
Thank you all for your input.

Mutually Assured Destruction certainly feels like parody to me.

What? Oh! You meant MAD Magazine! Right...

Paddy Chayefsky and Jerzy Kosinski are on my list. Woody Allen's God, probably makes the cut. I was thinking perhaps of Charles Erskine Scott Wood. The Brand X Anthology of Poetry and the Fiction companion are definitely included as is the Journal of Irreproducible Results. I'll have a look at Saki. Thurber, too. (Beyond fiction, we're doing music, poetry, and movies, as well as cartooning, comics, and essayists. I think I could do 5 courses with no repetition.)
I learned to stop worrying and love the Bomb. Ask me how!
http://www.slate.com/id/2173108

I presume Spinal Tap's also on the list. And National Lampoon. (Bored of the Rings was the first thing that sprang to mind.)

And Monty Python.

And and and ...






Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: josh on September 11, 2007, 11:24:11 PM
Josh if you are about there is a great web site The Literary Gothic that has Saki and a lot of others.Click on the author link and under Saki there are plenty of free stories online.It is the third link under H.H. Munro that has a bunch of free stories.

Found it, thanks. I've added it to my list of sites with free e-texts on it, of which I have about a dozen now, from ancient to current and with dozens of languages available, as well. It looks great!


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: josh on September 11, 2007, 11:33:57 PM
Thank you all for your input.

Mutually Assured Destruction certainly feels like parody to me.

What? Oh! You meant MAD Magazine! Right...

Paddy Chayefsky and Jerzy Kosinski are on my list. Woody Allen's God, probably makes the cut. I was thinking perhaps of Charles Erskine Scott Wood. The Brand X Anthology of Poetry and the Fiction companion are definitely included as is the Journal of Irreproducible Results. I'll have a look at Saki. Thurber, too. (Beyond fiction, we're doing music, poetry, and movies, as well as cartooning, comics, and essayists. I think I could do 5 courses with no repetition.)
I learned to stop worrying and love the Bomb. Ask me how!
http://www.slate.com/id/2173108

I presume Spinal Tap's also on the list. And National Lampoon. (Bored of the Rings was the first thing that sprang to mind.)

And Monty Python.

And and and ...

Dr. Strangelove and Bored of the Rings made it into the course description. Spinal Tap is certainly there. So is Casino Royal, with David Niven vs. the Flint movies vs. Get Smart vs. Top Secret vs. Austin Powers. You Nazty Spy! may make it in there or may make it into other places.

What's Opera, Doc? and/or the Rabbit of Seville are probably going to make the cut as well.

So much material, so little time!


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: rmdig on September 12, 2007, 07:15:58 AM
Josh

The subject of war has produced some good satire.  Off the top of my head I'm thinking of Heller's Catch-22 and Hasek's Good Soldier Schweik and a poem like Henry Reed's Naming of the Parts.  See http://www.solearabiantree.net/namingofparts/namingofparts.html (http://www.solearabiantree.net/namingofparts/namingofparts.html)


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: desdemona222b on September 12, 2007, 10:04:42 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…    ;)

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


I'm not sure that Faulkner was so literate in poetry at the time Absalom was written that he would have been inspired by "The Idiot Boy".  An almost archtypal conception of the small town, whether in Macon, Georgia or a small town in England, includes the "village idiot".  Reference the movie "Straw Dogs", for example.  I have come to believe,  through no rational means, that nearly all southerners have at least one "afflicted" child in the family somewhere - my opinon is based solely on Faulkner novels and a lifetime of experiencing small towns in the South.  My family certainly had one (besides me).


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 12, 2007, 10:16:22 AM
It doesn't seem a stretch that Faulkner would have been familiar with the Wordsworth poem.  Worsdworth is hardly off the beaten track, and one would assume that Faulkner had been a reader for most of his life.  Faulkner was the oldest son and I have read that his parents had rather genteel aspirations for him.  He began writing poetry in his teens, which would indicate that he had read poetry.  Also, even without this background, schoolchildren used to be exposed to quite a bit more poetry than they are nowdays.   

We know he was familiar with Shakespeare:

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.


(Macbeth 5.5)


Title: Re: LAS PALMERAS SALVAJES!(whaddya know?)
Post by: Lhoffman on September 12, 2007, 10:39:33 AM
Puget, for me The Wild Palms are ON .They are real hot news.

I can smell the places,see them,feel them.Awesome writing ( nothing new to you,I suppose, but it´s so good to discover a Master Writer.

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.

Question 1: why is Faulkner´s character-the doctor- so angry with bourgeois society? He destets it. He reminds me of Steppenwolf who detested but at the same time longed for it (when he ,another Harry, walked along the streets and looked into the interior of the homes and  saw the little plant on the satircase and imagined the hands that had placed it there).The Dr.´s wife is the pattern on which Cortázar used for his Maga in Rayuela (Hopscotch).

Question 2: some chapters,the ones that refer to the doctor and his wife are called Las Palmeras Salvajes , the others -the ones of the prisoners- "El Viejo" (the old man).Borges on a note says it refers to the Old Man River,I think he is right because the river is always present in those chapters (couldn´t help remembering Katrina and my own tour through the region). 

Question ·: when will I know the reason for two parallel plots?

...and much,much more soon.My copy is scribbled all over.
sht. now I HAVE to work !

   

I have a couple of questions for you.  First, I wonder how Borges translates that phrase at the end of the first paragraph of the first chapter.  The final sentence in English reads, "Because he was now forty-eight years old and he had been sixteen and eighteen and twenty at the time when his father could tell him (and he believe it) that cigarettes and pajamas were for dudes and women."

Second, is there another translation for "wild" other than "salvajes"?  I suppose the idea is the visual image of palm trees blowing and bending in hurricane force winds....they bend, do they break?

On your question of the parallel stories.  I think there are two things going on here.  I haven't finished the entire book yet, but it seems that the two stories, instead of forming a counterpoint (as seems to be the assumption) for diametric opposites....one man pursuing love, the other fleeing from it for starters.  (Writers have misunderstood (co-opted?) the idea of counterpoint since the time of the master himself....Bach.)

Perhaps a wackier reading of the two stories.....are you familiar with Hemingway?  There is something in this that reminds me of Hemingway that I can't quite put my finger on.  There is the "Old Man", of course, but also something to do with the lovers.  It's almost as if Faulkner has in mind to show Hemingway how to write, or countering Hemingway's view of love and life with a more cynical view of his own.  Then on page 82, "Yah,' McCord said.  "Set, ye armourous sons, in a sea of hemingwaves."





Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: desdemona222b on September 12, 2007, 10:56:26 AM
I see familiarity with Shakespeare as a more common thing than being familiar with a wide variety of various poems.  Faulkner did not finish high school and he was educated in Mississippi, not exactly the finest area in the world to obtain a good education.  I'm not saying he wasn't a reader, but I do think it is much more likely that he was inspired by characters out of real life.  We know, for instance, that Colonel Sartoris was inspired by Faulkner's great-grandfather, a Confederate general and novelist.  Story-telling is often a family tradition if not hereditary - certainly it is a very strong trait on my father's side of the family, for example.

It would be interesting to read a bio on Faulkner for further clarification (besides whats on the web).  Wonder if anyone knows of a good one.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: desdemona222b on September 12, 2007, 11:05:44 AM
I just took a look at Barnes and Noble - this looks interesting:

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?z=y&EAN=9780195326550&itm=23


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 12, 2007, 11:08:45 AM
Frederick Karl's William Faulkner: American Writer is a good bio.

Faulkner in the University are some lecture notes worth reading.

And then there's the huge Fargnoli and Golay's William Faulkner A to Z -- a kind of quickie Cliffs Notes approach to Faulkner's oeuvre and Mississippi background.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: desdemona222b on September 12, 2007, 11:16:54 AM
pugey -

Check out the link I posted in Celebreality  -  you'll love it.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 12, 2007, 11:22:31 AM
An almost archtypal conception of the small town, whether in Macon, Georgia or a small town in England, includes the "village idiot".  My family certainly had one (besides me).

You had one? What was he like?   :)

Just kidding. I was reading somewhere like the Norton TSATF...I think it was Faulkner's "Introduction" that Faulkner gave up on his publishers and just wrote what he wanted to write. The Benjy chapter was a modernist experiment about living in the "eternal moment" like a child-idiot would do. A kind of stream of consciousness. Which seems pretty logical to me: Faulkner taking this "moment" that Joyce and Proust were interested in...and putting it into something familiar like a small Southern town child-idiot...making modernism relevant to Yoknapatawpha County consciousness...
 


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: desdemona222b on September 12, 2007, 11:35:20 AM
pugey -

My mother is a fish.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 12, 2007, 11:44:53 AM
pugey -

My mother is a fish.

That makes you Chicken of Sea tuna, baby...


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 12, 2007, 12:22:21 PM
I see familiarity with Shakespeare as a more common thing than being familiar with a wide variety of various poems.  Faulkner did not finish high school and he was educated in Mississippi, not exactly the finest area in the world to obtain a good education.  I'm not saying he wasn't a reader, but I do think it is much more likely that he was inspired by characters out of real life.  We know, for instance, that Colonel Sartoris was inspired by Faulkner's great-grandfather, a Confederate general and novelist.  Story-telling is often a family tradition if not hereditary - certainly it is a very strong trait on my father's side of the family, for example.

It would be interesting to read a bio on Faulkner for further clarification (besides whats on the web).  Wonder if anyone knows of a good one.

I don't have a biography to recommend, but in my reading on Faulkner, I keep coming across the name "Phil Stone."  Stone was a lawyer that Faulkner became acquainted with while he (Faulkner) was still in junior high school.  They shared an interest in literature.  The friendship seems ongoing.  (According to a link on Amazon, their friendship spanned 50 years....Phil Stone of Oxford:  A Vicarious Life).    Stone helped Faulkner to publish his first volume of poetry.  It would seem logical that Stone and Faulkner spent a great deal of time discussing literature....including poetry.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 12, 2007, 12:35:01 PM
Here's a thumbnail on Faulkner with hyperlinks:

http://www.mcsr.olemiss.edu/~egjbp/faulkner/chronology.html


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: martinbeck3 on September 12, 2007, 12:48:08 PM
HOFFMAN, the translation of the last sentence of the first paragraph is:...en que el padre le decía (y el lo creía) que los cigarrillos y los pyjamas eran para maricas y para mujeres."

Went on reading, now I know the reason for the parallel stories but I don´t want to spoil it for you.I agree that the counterpoint is a good trick it works very well.

The *hemingwaves* sentence has not been translated in the Borges translation, there is a footnote saying that this sentence is a *retruecano* (pun,I suppose) similar to James Joyce´."Armour+ amourous; hemingwaves= waves+Hemingway".

I haven´t read to much Hemingway but enough to understand how Faulkner was giving him a writing lesson.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: martinbeck3 on September 12, 2007, 12:54:16 PM
HOFFMAN, thanks for the link.I´ll save it as *favorites* for the rest of my Faulkner read -Sp.lectura?-

There is no other word I can think of for *wild* but *salvajes*.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 12, 2007, 01:14:44 PM
Martinbeck....thanks for the translation.  I suspect you are a bit further along in the reading than I am.  I plan on covering quite a bit of it today, though.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 12, 2007, 07:03:41 PM
Why does Faulkner employ multiple narrators/viewpoints in Absalom?  Somehow, I don't think it is just to get a couple different takes on the same series of events.

I think it has to do with identity and the persistence of memory...Memory not always being an accurate barometer of history.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 12, 2007, 07:52:10 PM
The persistence of memory - Now there's some satire for you.  I see Dali clocks everywhere.

It is not memory that persists, after all, is it?  Something persists, but not memory and Faulkner seems to be sort of on this track.

It's about something more than entropy though because something sneaks in to fill in the gaps.  I see memory as a decaying hulk, a concrete building with wholes that bare the rebar, only some sort of nice fuzzy material keeps filling in the gaps.  It isn't of the same consistency as the original, but it helps to hold the structure together.

But Rosa's memory didn't decay, nor Quentin's.  And we're not sure which of Rosa's are accurate.  Quentin's are probably more accurate, but then he crosses the line into speculation on the meaning of the events he's trying to decipher.   

The Sutpen that Rosa knew was a brute who ripped his plantation from the earth, a brute who treated both her and her sister badly.  Those events color Sutpen's for her.

Quentin views the Sutpen tragedy through his own experiences, which also include unresolved issues of incest and race.

Quentin also has no direct knowledge of Sutpen.  He interprets Sutpen only through the words of others. 


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 12, 2007, 09:51:34 PM
Entropy

Rosa's memory didn't decay, but we aren't sure which of Rosa's are accurate.  Quentin's are more accurate.  More accurate or accurate.  Can one be more accurate?


You make a good point there.  I should have said more accurate than Rosa's.  But we can't really be sure of that because Quentin only gets his information second hand.

On entropy and off-topic, but something I've always been interested in...."the degradation of the matter and energy in the universe to an ultimate state of inert uniformity; b: a process of degradation or running down or a trend to disorder"  

Everything (matter...energy) that exists has always existed, and nothing that has not existed ever will..it's all about form.



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 12, 2007, 09:53:59 PM
memory:    the power or process of reproducing or recalling what has been learned and retained especially through associative mechanisms (Merriam Webster Online)

accuracy:  freedom from mistake or error (Merriam Webster Online)

Rosa Coldfield isn't just remembering.  Quentin Compson isn't either; not just.  They are digging, furrowing, culling, even growing, trimming and picking, hybridizing, planting and then transplanting.  Their memory is collective and growing.

There is no persistence of memory.  Isn't that Dali's point?  Isn't it Faulkner's?

The past isn't even past, says Faulkner.  I always assumed he meant that the past had not passed, that it lives in us, that it persists.  That may be what he meant.  But after reading AA, I get the idea that maybe what he meant was that the past simply is not.  There is no past because history -- like memory -- is fluid.  The same for the present.  Hence, the story must be structured in a new way.

Faulkner isn't just writing stream of consciousness because he wants to write like something thinks.  He's writing it because he knows these things about the fluidity of the past and memory and the present and perception.

Does anyone buy any of that? 

Have any of you come across -- or done your own -- work on the way Faulkner chose to tell this tale?


I buy it wholesale.....and so do historians.  Otherwise, why so many books on WWI, WWII, Civil War, Gutenburg, Music History....you name it.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: desdemona222b on September 13, 2007, 11:45:27 AM
The past (and of course this past relates specifically to slavery, the Civil War, and Reconstruction) truly had not passed in the South in early part of the 20th century, and to some extent, for some Southerners, never has because of its destruction and a sort of collective memory among us.  Many people down here still do stupid things like waving the stars and bars flag right in front of their house or mounted on their pick-up trucks.  Like the families of former slaves, there is a strong oral tradition among most families that go back to the 18th and 19th centuries in the South.  I believe this is very common among the families who remained in the deep South throughout reconstruction rather than moving on to a better place.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on September 13, 2007, 01:39:15 PM
Dessie,

There are indeed southerners who still display the stars and bars. Hubby has an artificial eye, and has plastic faces for it, depending on the time of year. His "party eye" displays the stars and bars. He got his picture in the paper for wearing the eye to a civil war battle re-enactment close to home. That said, he does not have a racist mentality and vehemently argues against those who do. When the "N" word is used in his presence, he usually point out that he knows more white "N"s than black "N"s, which usually causes most people to rethink their expression. There is a non-racist contigent in the south that view the stars and bars as their "heritage", and will defend it as a symbol of courage and heroism rather than as a symbol of racism.

As to moving to a better place, I moved to the south forty years ago, and cannot think of a place where I'd rather live. I really do like the beautifully long spring and fall seasons, the mild winters, and, with air conditioning, tolerate the torrid summer. I like it here. And, I am a staunch opponant of racism, both that occurs in the south, and that which is practiced in other places.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: rmdig on September 13, 2007, 04:11:42 PM
weezo

And when your husband says "that he knows more white "N"s than black "N"s," what exactly does he mean?


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 13, 2007, 04:18:50 PM
Rmdig....haven't seen you here in ages.  Have you been reading along?


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 13, 2007, 04:23:22 PM
Hey....look what I found while web-browsing.  Haven't read it all, but some of it looks quite good.

http://www.isc.senshu-u.ac.jp/~thb0559/No8/EJNo8.htm


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 13, 2007, 04:26:06 PM
 :D :D :D   "some of it looks quite good"......how pretentious is that!  What the hey....It all looks good!


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on September 13, 2007, 05:24:29 PM
rmdig,

I gather you believe that the "N" word only means race and does not indicate a person who lives a marginal life, has marginal morals, eschews steady work, etc. When hubby makes that comment to someone referring to a black person, especially a respectable black person as an "N", it puts the person on notice that he/she is being judged by the same standards.

It is, as your question points out, a very effective means of stopping people from using the term.



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: rmdig on September 13, 2007, 06:15:04 PM
lhoffman

I'm not reading along.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: rmdig on September 13, 2007, 06:20:58 PM
weezo

I am not familiar with the word being used to "indicate a person who lives a marginal life, has marginal morals, eschews steady work, etc."  At least I have never heard it being used in that way.

Are you suggesting that the "N" word was used with that intended meaning before it was used to refer to blacks? 


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: johnr60 on September 13, 2007, 06:50:22 PM
"Memory not always being an accurate barometer of history."


"The past isn't even past, says Faulkner.  I always assumed he meant that the past had not passed, that it lives in us, that it persists.  That may be what he meant.  But after reading AA, I get the idea that maybe what he meant was that the past simply is not.  There is no past because history -- like memory -- is fluid."


Let me bore you again with Spengler:

"Every happening is unique and incapable of being repeated. Becoming lies beyond the domain of cause and effect, law and measurement. But history, as positively treated, is not pure becoming; it is an image radiated from the waking- consciousness of the historian, in which the becoming dominates the become."

Jaynes calls it narratization --an essential and  primary facet of reflective consciousness.

In Convent, Saramago cites Yourcenar from her book upon Adrianus:

"The true birthplace is that wherein for the first time one looks intelligently upon himself"

Later he says:

"...what one narrates often becomes more real than the actual events narrated..." and when his hero leaves his parents, Saramago says he doesnt know what was said but what the author envisages is often better than the facts. 

True history is closer to fiction as in RLS's oft quoted:

"The most influential books, and the truest in their influence, are works of fiction. They do not pin the reader to a dogma, which he must afterwards discover to be inexact; they do not teach him a lesson, which he must afterwards unlearn. They repeat, they rearrange, they clarify the lessons of life; they disengage us from ourselves, they constrain us to the acquaintance of others; and they show us the web of experience, not as we can see it for ourselves, but with a singular change--that monstrous, consuming ego of ours being, for the nonce, struck out. To be so, they must be reasonably true to the human comedy; and any work that is so serves the turn of instruction."

Faulkner certainly knows all this.

Leaving aside the issues and economics of drunkeness and magazine publication the restructuring (at which he is not too good) and the Epic of the South, in designing his pieces he uses primarily the storytelling intellect of his people; his success comes in the actuality, the presence of his characters, (the domination of the become by the becoming) making us believe their truth above what might be fact.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 13, 2007, 07:14:58 PM
John....on Spengler and what Faulkner certainly knew...Maybe so, maybe not.  The theory of eternal recurrence has been floating around for quite a long time.  Logically, it seems that it would be impossible for a single event to be duplicated in every aspect, but eternity is forever.....If we look at mathematics as a model for the universe, it becomes clear that duplication is possible.   In larger numbers and combinants, duplication is of course rare, but not an impossibility.

Nietzche (although he may have changed his mind), Schoppenhaur, Mann, and others going as far back as ancient Egypt, India and Greece viewed time as circular rather than linear.  Mr. Spengler is just one in a long line who have speculated on the complexity of time.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 13, 2007, 07:28:28 PM
I may have misread, but I think the point of the Spangler was to address the idea of time as fluid.  (But as to Spengler being boring:  anything but... and explorations of time are always fascinating.)


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: johnr60 on September 13, 2007, 07:39:38 PM
I think the Bear is Faulkner's best work but Delta is needed there.  He's not good at putting his stories together.

Cycles have nothing to do with the question.  A new cycle is a new time.

The idea Spengler is expressing is held by many, including Russell.  Faulkner was certainly aware of it.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 13, 2007, 07:41:40 PM
Quote
The idea Spengler is expressing is held by many, including Russell.  Faulkner was certainly aware of it.

Might have been aware of it, but did he agree?  How did Faulkner view time?

Reader....I like the idea of time as a river, but as you said...."evaporation."

This is interesting, but off-topic...apologies.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 13, 2007, 07:57:26 PM
Some thoughts on the moment

“They gushed like swallows swooping his eyelashes.”—William Faulkner, “June Second, 1910,” The Sound and the Fury, New York: Norton, 1994, page 67.

Rather than say what it is—Faulkner shows what it does.

The reason that there is no past—is that the eternal moment rules.

The “June Second, 1910” chapter of TSATF does what Joyce and Proust both do for Paris and Dublin—except it’s Yoknapatawpha time… Faulkner is just flexing his muscles and getting warmed up for Absalom, Absalom

I’ve kept the italicized eternal moment signatures in place:

The moment (page 67):

“What a shame that you should have a mouth like that it should be on a girl’s face” and can you imagine…the curtains leaning in on the twilight upon the odor of the apple tree her head against the twilight her arms behind her head kimono-winged the voice that breathed o’er eden clothes upon the bed by the nose above the apple…”

The moment (page 104):

“she took my hand and held it flat against her throat
now say his name
Dalton Ames
I felt the first surge of blood there it surged in strong accelerating beats say it again
her face looked off into the trees where the sun slanted and where the bird
say it again
Dalton Ames
her blood surged steadily beating and beating against my hand…”

The moment (page 93):

“I adore Canada,” Miss Daingerfield said. “I think it’s marvelous.”

“Did you ever drink perfume?” Spoade said. with one hand he could lift her to his shoulder and run with her running Running

“No,” Shreve said. running the beast with two backs* and she blurred in the winking oars running the swine of Euboeleus running couple within how many Caddy…”
________

*When  Persephone was carried off by Pluto, a swineherd called Euboeleus was herding his swine at the spot, and his herd was engulfed in the chasm down which Pluto vanished with Persephone. In an ancient Greek fertility rite, Euboeleus’ fate was recalled by flinging pigs into the chasms of Demeter and Persephone. Women then fetched the decayed remains and after a purity ritual, sowed the flesh with seeds in the ground to secure a good crop and ensure human fertility. Cakes of dough in the shape of serpents and phalli were cast into the caverns to symbolize fertility.” (Norton, page 93)

________

TSATF is just a warm-up for Quentin and Shreve to channel back into the Absalom Now again and again…the Now being a constant preoccupation with Faulkner and the modernists… There never was a past…only the living breathing present moment…that’s all we have…like Holly Martin says in The Third Man..."Stream of what?????" Not even stream of consciousness can catch it...yet somehow Faulkner does it...how???

Yeah, well, they say we’re "postmodernists" now—at least that’s what they say dontchaknow…to me the now is all we have...kinda like Absalom Apocalypse…  "running the beast with two backs..."





Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: johnr60 on September 13, 2007, 08:15:53 PM
"Becoming lies beyond the domain of cause and effect, law and measurement."

You may only determine cause and effect (science) in reflective consciousness.  Becoming is happening in the now where there is no time.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 13, 2007, 09:10:03 PM
"When I began it I had no plan at all. I wasn't even writing a book."

-- William Faulkner, TSATF Introduction, Southern Review, page 710.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on September 13, 2007, 09:46:12 PM
rmdig,

No, that use of the "N" word has no historical context. I'm not even sure that that usage goes beyond a small cicle of family, friends and students I've taught over the years. It is a good way to make the point that black folks are on an equal basis with white folks, and that lower levels of both exist equally. As I've said before in these forums, I sent any student using the term to the office during my teacher years, and this was essentially the explanation I used to defend my position. It could well be my own invention and not known past my circle of folks.

Usually, when hubby uses the phrase "I know more white "N"s than black "N"s, it causes people to stop and think, and they very often agree with him. I don't know how lasting the new consideration is, but it diffuses the situation at hand.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 13, 2007, 10:22:12 PM
(http://www.ronlim.com/worldarchive/tarantinoimages/pulp.poster.jpg)

"A story is something
that constantly unfolds."
-- Quentin Tarantino


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pontalba on September 14, 2007, 06:03:25 AM
rmdig,

No, that use of the "N" word has no historical context. I'm not even sure that that usage goes beyond a small cicle of family, friends and students I've taught over the years. It is a good way to make the point that black folks are on an equal basis with white folks, and that lower levels of both exist equally. As I've said before in these forums, I sent any student using the term to the office during my teacher years, and this was essentially the explanation I used to defend my position. It could well be my own invention and not known past my circle of folks.

Usually, when hubby uses the phrase "I know more white "N"s than black "N"s, it causes people to stop and think, and they very often agree with him. I don't know how lasting the new consideration is, but it diffuses the situation at hand.

Weezo, I heard that expression down here when I was a kid, so it isn't only your family, it was pretty wide spread.  I haven't heard it in many years though.  Growing up though we were not allowed to use that word at all.  I still remember how shocked I was when I heard an older black lady calling a younger black woman a lazy_____, I'd never heard that before. 
That said, the usage of the word in A,A was not anymore than any other book set in that time and place, in fact I am reading some of James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheaux detective series that are set in South Louisiana and it is used, sparsely granted, but used in context as it would be in life by certain people.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: rmdig on September 14, 2007, 06:28:10 AM
weezo

In a review of Randall Kennedy's book, Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word, James McWhorter has this to say and I think he makes a very good point:

"But the other convention of "nigger," stage three, is the increasingly prevalent attempts by whites to fashion "nigger" into a reference to people of all races who display inappropriate behavior, weak character, and slovenly speech. The most memorable recent example was Senator Robert Byrd's controversial remark that "I've seen a lot of white niggers in my time." Now, it would be lovely if "nigger" really did shed any association with a particular race, becoming synonymous with "wastrel" or "asshole." But in our moment, alas, this use of "nigger" makes me cringe. What I hear in "white nigger" is "white person who is so disreputable as to compare with the worst among even black people." The subtle implication is that the lowly black person is the lowliest person of all. At the very least it reveals a certain obsession with "the Negro" and his character. After all, why are we not using "wop," "spic," or "kike" in this way? Some might object that these terms are all now a tad archaic, but this only begs the question as to why they were not recruited in such fashion when they were current."

I've underlined what I see as an unassailable contention.  The word has not (and probably never will) "shed any association with a particular race," and for that reason using it in the way you suggest your husband does strikes me as being patently racist.  Perhaps unintentionally so but racist nonetheless.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on September 14, 2007, 07:33:21 AM
rmdig,

I recall that when my children were small and my oldest son was first going to an integrated school for first grade, I cautioned him against using the "N" word with this rationale. One day, a bit into the school year, he came home with blood on his shirt (back in those days schools did not call the parents when there was an incident in school) and I asked him what had happened. He said he got punched for using the "N" word on a classmate. I repremanded him and reminded him that that was an insult. He reminded me of the definition and said that the boy was white and was an "N". I then corrected my original definition to instruct him that he should not call ANYONE by the "N" word.

Further explanation, is that the "N" word was not used in our home, but my son had heard it used commonly in the neighborhood. My first husband, like myself, was born in Pennsylvania and transplanted to the south. It is my second husband who counters casual use of the term with that definition.

I am now advised that this use of the "N" word is still racist and disrespectful. It is, tho, effective in getting people to stop the casual use of the term at least in hubby's presence.





Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: desdemona222b on September 14, 2007, 09:01:11 AM
Dessie,

There are indeed southerners who still display the stars and bars. Hubby has an artificial eye, and has plastic faces for it, depending on the time of year. His "party eye" displays the stars and bars. He got his picture in the paper for wearing the eye to a civil war battle re-enactment close to home. That said, he does not have a racist mentality and vehemently argues against those who do. When the "N" word is used in his presence, he usually point out that he knows more white "N"s than black "N"s, which usually causes most people to rethink their expression. There is a non-racist contigent in the south that view the stars and bars as their "heritage", and will defend it as a symbol of courage and heroism rather than as a symbol of racism.

As to moving to a better place, I moved to the south forty years ago, and cannot think of a place where I'd rather live. I really do like the beautifully long spring and fall seasons, the mild winters, and, with air conditioning, tolerate the torrid summer. I like it here. And, I am a staunch opponant of racism, both that occurs in the south, and that which is practiced in other places.


By "better place" I was referring to moving away from the DEEP South during Reconstruction - lots of people were literally starving to death, so they went elsewhere.  All of my relatives relocated to Texas, for example, which had not been ravaged by the war.  The fact is, the sentimentality about the old South just isn't as prevalent there - at least partially because they could brag about being Texans.  (lol)

I've had to rethink my own views on Civil War re-enactments and such, and I am quite aware that all people who participate in such activities or display the stars and bars are not racists.  Certainly there is some historical merit to the re-enactments, but displaying the stars and bars is very racially insensitive in my opinion.  If you're going to a function like a re-enactment or something like that, it's not so bad (the eye patch sounds humorous and innocuous enough), but people around here display gigantic stars and bars flags on their pick-up trucks, and there have been incidents of racial harassment by people who do this kind of thing.  It's just not really very sensitive.

Having said that, I wouldn't leave the South either - I've lived in the South all my life by deliberate choice and I love it, warts and all.  Nothing beat the beauty of the flora and the fauna, that much is sure, and I love the southern lifestyle.

My sister, who has lived in California for about 20 years now, said something the other day about not wanting to discuss our southern heritage with her son.  (We have lots of great and great-great grandfathers who fought in the Civil War, and she acts like Southerners are just stupid hicks.)  I told her I was going to force them to go to a maudlin laser show display that glorifies the old South here when she come to visit as punishment - yeeeee-HAAA!


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on September 14, 2007, 09:58:39 AM
Dessie,

A few corrections. First of all the stars and bars is NOT the confederate flag. The flag adopted by the confederacy included the stars and bars but on a white field. The proper designation for the star and bars is the "Battle Flag of Northern Virginia". It was used by Lee's army, but was not used by other armies in the south, and was not the official flag of the rebel government.

I once had a southern genealogical enthusiast ask me why northerners were not as "interested in their heritage" as southerners (I'd pointed out that as far as I knew none of my ancesters had participated in the Civil War). My reply was that notherners were just as interested in their heritage as southerners, but they didn't confine their definition of heritage to events that happened in a four year span. Virginians tend to define their ancestors by their involvement in the Civil War rather than pride themselves on being descended from farmers, inventors, shopkeepers, politicians, doctors, or other professions. And, of course, any Virginian who is interested in genealogy want to find that original connection to the nobility or royalty. Anyone who was descended from the laborers, mechanics, and indentured servents is likely to be silenced by those descended by nobility!

Southern historians love to make a big deal out of the fact that the Civil War was fought over "States Rights" rather than slavery. Until recently, that is what was taught in southern history textbooks. As I love to point out, What was it the states wanted to right to do? Enforce slavery! Nuff said. And, southern historians still have a great disdain for Abraham Lincoln. I have been amused by those who assert Lincoln was so dumb as to have allowed the Civil War to happen (by not giving sway to his "betters"), and those who say he was so crafty as to "trick" the south into beginning the war. It always amuses me that many southerners refer to the Civil War as the War of Northern Aggression, even tho they fired the first shot.



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: martinbeck3 on September 14, 2007, 11:48:15 AM
Great thread.I´ve learned lots of USAmerican history and I am now surprised to notice how South American the South of US is! I guess that is why Faulkner reads so well to us SouthAms.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on September 14, 2007, 01:54:23 PM
Interesting comment, Martin.

The south was, and to some extent is, a land where the landed gentry feel the right to rule over the peasants. Lots of inroads have been made towards democratizing the south, but, even in the county I live in, the "good old boys" tend to get re-elected by the locals, if not by the come-here's. As more people move into the county that may change. It may happen this fall. Or, maybe not. Perhaps the grand old families have opened their arms to the newbies and brought them into the fold. Along Route 1, where there used to be a string of trailer parks, there are now lovely, large new homes on large lots. Not homes that were purchased by those who once lived in the now-displaced trailers. The people in these home may well sway this year's election, but which way is still to be determined.



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on September 15, 2007, 08:40:15 PM
Dave Chappelle swears by it.  He explains to the white audience among his cross-over audience so that they fully understand it.  That in today's politics that is what one becomes for allowing this kind of politics.

I had forebears that fought in the War between the States and who were from the North, Scotsmen mostly, they were landed gentry in a peculiar way whose life was agricultural in that they sold their holdings in Scotland and imported livestock from Scotland to raise in the US for the agricultural work needs of the Midwest.  This allowed them to attain that monetary status unusual for their time which is no longer unusual in the US under the present administration. 

The question of what or for whom they fought in the Civil War is not really difficult to comprehend when you understand their landed gentry status derives from being of a social class whose neighbor rode over to visit regularly and that was Sir Walter Scott.  Since in the course of his writing, he took time off from time to time, in the cause of the defense against the continuing persecution for witch-craft in his homeland,and wrote a novel dealing with the persecution of Jews among the British, the milieu of that time and place emigrating to the United States were concerned foremost with the Abolition of Slavery.

It has taken us those generations to work it out in reality to the eventual integration of family successfully.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 17, 2007, 11:42:54 PM
Reader....have you finished Raintree County, then?


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 17, 2007, 11:47:38 PM
Me neither.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 18, 2007, 09:50:11 AM
Did any of you notice any difference in the thinking,
narration, diction, thought process of Shreve as
compared to that of the southern characters?

I think Shreve is "top" and
Quentin is "bottom."   ::)


Title: Re: Deposing Mr. Faulkner
Post by: pugetopolis on September 18, 2007, 09:59:19 AM

"The images Faulkner invokes match the flow of the reading,
it seems to me.  Slow and inert and tributaried out of existence,
or fast and flowing, a gust of words driving, but in either case
fluid, changing, evolving the reader as well as the story."


Great quote:

Q     Could you please state your name for the record?
A     William [80,000 punctuationless words later] Faulkner.


                                                     -- Reader5232





Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 18, 2007, 11:19:48 AM
Did any of you notice any difference in the thinking, narration, diction, thought process of Shreve as compared to that of the southern characters?

It seemed to me that everyone had the same voice.  But, if you are using the Vintage....got any page numbers?


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 18, 2007, 01:44:37 PM
Did any of you notice any difference in the thinking,
narration, diction, thought process of Shreve as
compared to that of the southern characters?

I think Shreve is "top" and
Quentin is "bottom."   ::)


That's really quite a good point.  How many
times did Faulkner feel obligated to tell us these
two college boys were sitting there in the cold
either naked or with little on?  Why was that a
point he felt needed emphasis?


May I quote Faulkner's college boys on page 287?

"Come on," Shreve said. "Let's get out of this
refrigerator and go to bed."





Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 18, 2007, 03:13:03 PM
Gay Faulkner (2007)

"Come on," Shreve said.
"Let's get out of this
refrigerator and go to bed."
—William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom


That’s the Booker short list…

Here’s the longer version. Back during Faulkner’s time the don’t ask don’t tell thing was even more enforced than it is now—enforced by silence…

Nobody talked about it down South back then—and they still don’t. At LSU in the ‘60s—the English professors were loathe to discuss Whitman and the British Uranians as homosexual. The mere mention of the name Allen Ginsberg and his book Howl created a Wall of Silence taller and even more guarded with barbed wire and guard dogs than the Berlin Wall…

If you were a gay English major there in Allen Hall—you had to kinda skulk thru the Library and put two and two together on your own. You know as in “It takes one to know one?” There was some gay pulp fiction around—like William Burroughs’ white-trash novels…

Naturally there were a couple of gay English professors—but, well, you know how it is. When things were closeted like that back then—there’s this cold Fascist fist always wrapped around your Throat…

Things haven’t changed much really—even here on the lovely enlightened Internet. When you least expect it—there’ll be this Assault on the Queen out of nowhere. What’s a guy to do? If you fight back—you’ll be called uppity and rude. Know what I mean?

That’s just the way it is—most straights don’t understand it. They accept all the perks and privileges without even thinking about it—while gays, blacks, Hispanics and everybody else has to fight each day for what they got one step forward and two steps back, baby…

Faulkner knew this—he was no dummy. He’d been on the out and down so long—everything else looked up. There’s nothing worse than not knowing who you are—especially if you’re a writer. That’s why they laughed and called him “Count ‘No’ Count.”

As a result—he hated Society. He hated his future wife’s Family—because they rejected him the first time around. When she got divorced with a couple of kids—well then it was okay for him to marry her. Somebody had to take care of them. During their honeymoon in Pascagoula—she tried to commit suicide. So much for falling in love with your childhood sweetheart—it does something to a man’s pride dontchaknow…

That’s why Faulkner wrote—to get even. Like Colonel Sutpen—he got even all right. He got himself a rotten Southern plantation mansion. Like Colonel Sutpen—he was seminal and macho. He had a dynasty going—they were called Novels. He was smart—he knew where Society was vulnerable. That’s the reason for Sanctuary—Popeye, Temple Drake and that goddamn corncob scene… That’s why Red and Popeye were buddies—there in Miss Reba’s whorehouse…

Another weak link in the Dark House—the two queer Sutpen boys. Charles Bon the goodlooking mulatto first born son—and the nelly younger brother Henry. To make matters even worse, Faulkner had the boys fall in love with each other—there at Ole Miss and then in the French Quarter. They call it “incestuous miscegenation”—others call it mulatto love.

That’s the reason for queer Quentin in Absalom, Absalom—Quentin falling in love with Shreve. Confessing and spilling the beans—there in that cold Harvard dorm room. That’s the reason why Quentin fainted in Dalton Ames’ arms—there on the bridge over that river.

It’s the love—that dares not speak its Name…

Faulkner had a big chip on his shoulder—can you blame him? He hated everybody—and everybody hated him. He was like Nathanael West—Hollywood’s other bad boy. Everyday only confirmed The Day of the Locust had arrived. It was called the Great Depression—and some say it’s happening again. Did I say that?

That’s the reason why they call it Southern Decadence—that’s the reason why Tennessee Williams called it A Streetcar Named Desire. And I’m not talking about the kindness of strangers either, Blanche. There’s a reason why I use the word “dontchaknow”—because you don’t really want to know…

But I’ll tell you anyway—and I’m not just dropping names. I’ve got my first book of gay poetry—down there in that LSU Library. It’s called Chicken (Gay Sunshine Press, SF: 1979)—you can look it up in the online catalog. It’s there baby—between Ginsberg and Proust. Right there in the stacks—where I once skulked alone and moody. I put my queer shoulder to the fascist Wheel—and gave it a little push…

Just like Shreve and Quentin—in that Harvard dorm room…


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: desdemona222b on September 18, 2007, 03:58:30 PM
pugey -

By the time I was at LSU (1972 - 1976) there were plenty of opening gay guys there - that's where I made friends with gay men for the first time.  There was a great atmosphere of tolerance on the campus as far as I was concerned - at least as long as you didn't try to be part of that noxious bunch of Greeks along fraternity and sorority row.  But who needed them anyway?  We were vacationing in Destin, Florida when I declared to my father in the late summer of '72 that I absolutely would not go there for rush.  Absolutely not.  Dad was plenty angry - he wanted me to be a perky Chi Omega, not a rebellious loner who questioned the value of social climbers and snobs.

Anyway, your observation vis a vis Quentin's suicide are interesting.  So you think Quentin committed suicide because he was gay?  The common interpretation is that he jumped off that bridge because of the deflowering (and inevitable disgrace of) his sister, Caddy Compson.  I always thought that was so strange - why would a brother kill himself because his sister ran off with some man she had obviously been having sex with?  Especially if he was gay?

I always took it to be a hyperbolic moment Faulkner was using to show the reader the obsession that southerners had over chastity issues with single women.  I lived that out first-hand - if I lost my maidenhead before marriage, according to my mother, for ANY reason, even a horseback riding accident (uh, no, horseback riding does not break that infamous piece of tissue that dictates whether women are worth having or not, contrary to my mother's belief), no decent man would "have me".  The complete nonsense of women having to tolerate this type of treatment in their young lives was such a horrible thing, and I have always thought that perhaps Faulkner, even though he was a man, could somehow see how ridiculous and cruel that obsession was.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: johnr60 on September 18, 2007, 07:55:00 PM
"like all those birds -- simultaneously driving in from multivalent points and angles, swerving and swooping and always coming back to the point -- which is what by the way?"

  There is no point, everything exists for the story.   


"backward against the very current of the stream"

"swam up and vanished and were replaced; the earth, the world, rising ..."

"How many times did Faulkner feel obligated to tell us these two college boys were sitting there in the cold either naked or with little on?  Why was that a point he felt needed emphasis?"

  One of Faulkner's primary themes is the SouthLAND and the   people it creates.  It's not unusual that he would juxtapose   the coldness of the North.



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 18, 2007, 08:06:06 PM
"There is no point, everything exists for the story."


But John, how do you know this?  The patterns Reader describes seem to mirror the narrative.



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: johnr60 on September 18, 2007, 11:26:59 PM
"It is the motion and fluidity that is important here. (The way the story is told and not the story itself.)  It is the structure, the drive, the pattern of those valley swifts and those leaf beating robins, the hop of the grouse, the zig zag run of the little swamp birds as they poke here and then there.  Faulkner wants us along for the ride (it seems to me more so than he's worried about our getting to the end.)"

Eliminate what's in parentheses and I have no problem.  The story is important and if one insists on emphasizing how its told the magic moment of the birds will disappear, as did Averroes.  Faulkner immerses us in the unending words, drone if you will, in order to make those words disappear and leave only their effect.  The effect is our take on what the story IS no morality, no lesson, no point.   


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 19, 2007, 07:28:52 AM
(http://images.tribe.net/tribe/upload/photo/e57/5d7/e575d795-5896-463e-820d-0e5d444e5c93)

Growing Up Gay in the Deep South

Dear Desdemona,

Yes, I know—I had many gay friends on campus too. From New Orleans, Baton Rouge & around the Deep South. Many Mardi Gras good times—rich like Pecan pies…

My gay friends were like “sisters” to me—we were close like Stella and Blanche in Streetcar Named Desire. But I needed more than just sisterhood—I needed love

The ‘60s were different—than the ‘70s sweetheart. Things were changing fast—the civil rights movement was just beginning to arrive on campus. Stonewall and Viet Nam were on the horizon—Dallas had happened… I was stunned like everybody else—it was bad times ahead for us baby boomers...

The campus was still segregated. The first African-American student I met at LSU—showed up in my writing class and wanted to do poetry. He became one of the first black editors of The Delta—the student writing publication coming out of Allen Hall…

This young black writer became my friend and chose one of my submissions. He published it in The Delta. It was an atrocious piece of shit—an imitation of Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac. I keep it hidden—somewhere deep in my filing cabinets. It was so tacky and louche—it’s embarrassing to even think about it. I hadn’t found my voice yet—there’s nothing worse than that. It’s the pits—not knowing who your are. Not having your Voice yet…

This young editor turned me on to the Harlem Renaissance—especially the gay poet Bruce Nugent. It was Nugent's “Smoke, Lilies and Jade”—his long rambling poem taught me how to flow with it. Flow with myself...and who I was. Nugent used a gay hyphenated stream of consciousness—I’d never seen anything like it before. He connected short phrases and conversations—with a long series of dot-dot-dots:

“…they were at Forno’s…everyone came to Forno’s once maybe only once…but they came…see that big fat woman Beauty…Alex pointed to an overly stout and bejeweled lady making her way thru the maze…that’s Maria Guerrero…Beauty looked to see a lady guiding almost the whole opera company to an immense table…Alex lit a cigarette…and that florid man with white hair…that’s Carl…”

—Richard Bruce Nugent, “Smoke, Lilies and Jade,” Gay Rebel of the Harlem Renaissance, ed. Thomas Wirth, Durham: Duke University Press, 2002, page 75-87.

that’s "carl"—carl van vechten that is—and then the whole thing opened up—langston hughes from way back then—all the way up to alex hemphill and ishmael reed now—that’s how i got into gay poetry—thru black gay stream of consciousness—i started using my white-trash gay imagination—thanks to my cute delta boyfriend—with hyphenated haste i might add—plus miss faulkner in the back of my mind—not minding losing my way now and then—there in the labyrinth that was absalom, absalom—luxuriating in lazy yoknapatawpha consciousness— deep south decadence with a harlem twist—feeling the bougainvillea crawl up my legs—dancing in my dorm room with the supremes playing loud—“stop in the name of love’’—with him in my arms— smelling the magnolia thru my dorm room window—feeling the ghost of huey p. long nostalgia flowing thru me—the thirties still clinging to the decaying spanish revival architecture—the cracked red brick tile roofs and rotting stucco walls—the fading gone times of another era—me lounging like norma desmond by the pool—all those potted palms up in the balcony—there by the huey p. long fieldhouse—with its ancient wrought-iron railings—oozing and melting down in the delta heat and humidity—flowing down over me like saltwater taffy—slow and thick like oozing black molasses—me and my lover boy—like charles bon and henry sutpen at ole miss—except it was lsu now not mississippi then—and i was young and foolish—letting the languid lazy sad spanish moss—pull me down, baby—all the way down to my knees—down into my own heart of darkness—down there where quentin and shreve made love—channeling old dynasties of dead love and betrayed desires—down there by the levee late at night—south of campus by the river—the slow sluggish pull of the mississippi—flowing thick thru my sluggish veins—as we drove late at night—in my red beat-up mg—my cute mulatto lover-boy—sleeping there next to me—“smoke, lilies and jade”—running thru my dizzy head—way back then and even now...







Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 19, 2007, 09:47:36 AM
"It is the motion and fluidity that is important here. (The way the story is told and not the story itself.)  It is the structure, the drive, the pattern of those valley swifts and those leaf beating robins, the hop of the grouse, the zig zag run of the little swamp birds as they poke here and then there.  Faulkner wants us along for the ride (it seems to me more so than he's worried about our getting to the end.)"

Eliminate what's in parentheses and I have no problem.  The story is important and if one insists on emphasizing how its told the magic moment of the birds will disappear, as did Averroes.  Faulkner immerses us in the unending words, drone if you will, in order to make those words disappear and leave only their effect.  The effect is our take on what the story IS no morality, no lesson, no point.   


I think you have something there on the immersion in words.  In Faulkner's story, The Bear, there is a sentence that runs six pages.  There is something of the Mississippi River itself in his writing.  He addresses the idea directly in his novel The Wild Palms.  In the chapters called "The Old Man," he tells a story of a convict trapped on the Missippi during the flood of 1927.  The only way to beat the river is to let it take him where it will. 

I would disagree about Absalom, Absalom having no morality, no lesson, no point.  Faulkner was quite outspoken on the problems of racial inequality.  The idea that a man would sacrifice his son to keep his bloodline "pure" certainly speaks to that.

   



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 19, 2007, 09:53:26 AM
(http://www.nndb.com/people/336/000112997/richard-nugent.jpg)

http://www.brucenugent.com/About%20Frameset.htmhttp://


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: johnr60 on September 19, 2007, 10:21:25 AM
"The idea that a man would sacrifice his son to keep his bloodline "pure" certainly speaks to that."

Only in your worldview.  Would it be a problem in the Iliad?
See ff already prepared before your post.



reader:

"think that's what Faulkner is really doing; bringing about either that experience or one like it and not simply telling a story."

I know it seems like semantics, but I think it's important to insist that the experience is generated BY the story.  We identify with the narratization.

As I remarked before, when pressed by the pundits, Faulkner usually responds with:  I tell stories about people. 

In a little book called "The Tragic Mask" John L. Longley very wisely says:

"(Faulkner's) temperament, his genius, his habits of mind, are more congenial to the narrative, the epic, the bardic attitudes in the creation of literature.  What he has done in creating the mythical kingdom of Yoknapatawpha is to establish the myths and epics of his particular place and people--both past and present--and then by the alchemy of genius to convert myth and epic into history, a history both particular and universal.  Thus, the Yoknapatawpha chronicle more nearly resembles the Odyssey thsan Ulysses."


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 19, 2007, 10:34:24 AM
"Only in your worldview."

Not so.  Also in Faulkner's.  Faulkner's views on racism and segregation are well known.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: johnr60 on September 19, 2007, 10:51:56 AM
"Let me introduce myself. I am, of course, the text. This statement may surprise you. Perhaps you were expecting me to introduce myself as the author. Let this be the first point made in this discussion..."

radford


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 19, 2007, 11:18:04 AM
Yes, and the text makes a pretty powerful statement against racism.  "Why do you hate the South?"


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 19, 2007, 12:37:17 PM
Even if we only look at the text, and forget Faulkner, the question is: What caused Sutpen's downfall?  Why did Henry kill Bon?  Why the need to take it up to the North and disect it with a Canadian?  The text asks us to study the situation as we would study a sample in a microscope.

To take it back to Faulkner:  Everything he wrote is not about race, but this particular text is. 


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 19, 2007, 01:29:11 PM
Good point...and it explains the plot device, but it doesn't explain why Quentin chooses to tell this particular story to explain the South.  Quentin could have told any number of stories about horse racing or mansions or picnics on the banks of riverbeds.  But he tells a story about a man whose younger son murdered his older son to protect the purity of the blood.....As you will recall, Henry wasn't all that put off by the idea of incest.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: desdemona222b on September 19, 2007, 01:41:50 PM
On a broader scale, Absalom is a great illustrative narrative for way the actions of a single human being can reverberate down through the generations. 


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: johnr60 on September 19, 2007, 01:53:43 PM
Race as the central issue of Absalom and racism as we understand it today are completely different things.

test:

Jim Brown= (what Faulkner character?)
Stepin Fetchit=
Ethel Waters=
Paul Robeson=

and you can play that game in what we today call a racist manner forever.


"Because it's something my people haven't got."

The swamp is very far away for the Yankee and the culture merely copies the towns of Western Europe.

"it doesn't explain why Quentin chooses to tell this particular story to explain the South."

I am completely at a loss as to why we would have to explain that.  I remember nothing in the text that says this is Quentin's intent.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 19, 2007, 02:38:38 PM
"As you will recall...."   Ya....I guess that DID sound snottier than I meant.  :D


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: desdemona222b on September 19, 2007, 02:40:22 PM
"As you will recall ..."  Yeah, that one stood out pretty well.

There's so much more to using Shreve, who incidentally tells the story too.  Both boys sit there in that cold room and tell each other the story.  They do so to such a degree that at many points in the reading it appeared as if they had a handful of facts and were together filling in the details.

Not sure why it had to happen at Harvard, or with a Canadian, but the mode of delivery might serve as a  start toward understanding the selection of topic.


Attendance at Harvard has always been tough for southerners, who are generally snubbed and ostracized by the rest of the New England Brahmins going there.  I had a history professor at LSU who was a southerner - he attended Harvard as a southern "charity case" which translates to full scholarship in spite of his being poor on top of being Southern.

Benjamin's land was sold and turned into a golf course in order to send Quentin to Harvard - eventually Benjy grabbed one too many girls passing by the Compson fence and was permanently committed to an institution under the auspices of Jason Compson, that blackguard...

So Quentin has an existential meltdown at Harvard and the pride of the Compson family ends up in the river Charles, a suicide case.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: desdemona222b on September 19, 2007, 02:42:17 PM
An aside:  My parents lived in Andover, Massechussetts for several years.  My mother tried to make an appointment with a doctor's office and was told,  solely because of her southern accent, that the doctor's office did not accept medicaid.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 19, 2007, 03:19:18 PM

"it doesn't explain why Quentin chooses to tell this particular story to explain the South."

I am completely at a loss as to why we would have to explain that.  I remember nothing in the text that says this is Quentin's intent.


The premise of the book is that Quentin is explaining the South to Shreve, who is always bothering him to tell him about the South.  And so....why does Quentin choose this particular story?  How is Sutpen illustrative of the South?

"...'You mean she was no kin to you, no kin to you at all, that there was actually one Southern Bayard or Guinevere who was no kin to you?  then what did she die for?' and that not Shreve's first time, nobody's first time in Cambridge since September:  Tell about the South.  What's it like there.  What do they do there.  Why do they live there.  Why do they live at all...."  Vintage page 142....chapter 6.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 19, 2007, 03:21:50 PM
Desdemona....the interesting thing about Quentin in Absalom, Absalom is that the reader knows about his relationship with his sister Caddie, and his feelings about incest, but he gives no hint of it in his narrative of the Sutpen downfall.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 19, 2007, 03:23:46 PM
And as for cold college rooms and near naked boys, the undercurrent of love (if not sexuality) is undeniable both with respect to Quentin/Shreve and Henry/Charles, but there are other reasons for the temperature too.

South to North, Life to Death, Past to Present, Friendship to Honor, all can be seen as moving from hot to cold.  All are themes that could see development by way of a close look at that cold theater in which this drama unfolds.

I'm interested in your thinking on South to North, Life to Death...


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 19, 2007, 07:05:35 PM
(http://images.tribe.net/tribe/upload/photo/e57/5d7/e575d795-5896-463e-820d-0e5d444e5c93)

Bad Boy Faulkner (2007)

“I have always thought that perhaps
Faulkner, even though he was a man,
could somehow see how ridiculous
and cruel that obsession was.”
—Desdemona


william faulkner was no nice guy—nice guys don’t write novels— and as far as obsessions are concerned—it all depends on which obsession you’re talking about—like lon chaney—faulkner was a man of many faces—and each face—had a different obsession…

faulkner wasn’t a nice guy—in fact he was just the opposite—nice guys got jobs—and families—nice guys watch football on tv—they enjoy nice long lazy six-pack couch-potato saturday afternoons—after working their fucking balls off all week—what’s the use of all that hard work and familial responsibility—if a guy can’t kick back and get drunk every once in awhile—that’s the way is—that’s the way the world ticks—that’s what nice guys do—but not writers…

nice guys don’t invent imaginary yoknapatawpha counties—inside their heads—populating imaginary towns with all sorts of delta bourbon aristocrats—and lordly mandingo slave barons—nice guys don’t write white-trash pulp fiction novels—they’d rather just live white-trash lives the way the way things are—why fictionalize it anymore than it already is—why not just be alive and enjoy the fleeting white-trash moment—there’s nothing quite like it—some of my best boyfriends—are white-trash boyz—they’re lava-lamp trailer-trash boyz who never grew up—lazyboy deadbeat daddy boyz—divorced and numb—moody baby daddies everyday of their lives—living inside that great eternal sordid moment—that only white-trash boyz know—whole dynasties of deep south young phallocentric manhood—going down the drain every day and night—mute like child idiot ike snopes—there in the red barn of love…

in fact, faulkner was just as bad or even worse than all the other men down there in mississippi—he liked young things dontchaknow—he liked the young stuff like temple drake—he didn’t write sanctuary for the women’s lib movement—not with characters like popeye, alabama red and their skanky gang of bootlegging thugs—and what could be more oozing with misogyny—than that tacky awful notoriously criticized crummy soup de jour corn-cob scene in the hayloft—or that simply shameless blowjob temple gives popeye on the road to evil memphis?

naturally i was shocked—simply shocked the first time i read sanctuary—my ogling eyeballs glued to each page—it was pretty racy stuff—like that bedroom scene in miss reba’s memphis whorehouse—you know the scene don’t you?—like when red is buck-naked having intercourse all day and night with temple—poor innocent naïve young temple drake—with popeye holding onto the rock ‘n’ roll bedposts—howling like a hound dog until he got hoarse—enjoying red doing what he was good at—all for the benefit of gangster voyeur popeye—but red was too good at what he did—ending up dead in a memphis barroom coffin—dumped out on the dance floor like a sack of potatoes…

popeye was just another skanky double—doing what faulkner wanted to do himself—he’d been to memphis a lot—that’s where delta bourbons went to party—that’s where they built mansions—that’s where fortunes were made and lost—bootleg capitol of the deep south—where there was booze there were whorehouses—and dead bodies stacked to the city limits—with everybody on the take—and everybody on the make—just like las vegas now—the house always winning and winning again…

and then there’s the sound and the fury—that’s when faulkner really discovered his skanky miss sodom and g voice—that’s when he started writing for himself—not the new york city publishers—that’s when he starting writing—what he wanted to write—even tho he had no idea what it was he was writing—knowing only that he was a failed southern writer—with some novels behind him—but now something different was needed—simply living in the child-idiot immediate moment—his version of miss proust—remembering time the way he wanted to remember it—letting time itself remember him the way she wanted to remember him—even before it happened the way they said it did—even before time stopped and stopped again—the past never was past—it never even got there—it didn’t even have a chance—that’s how quick & streamlined it is—like skating on thin ice—reliving the moment again—like quentin and shreve did in their harvard dorm room—like charles bon and young sutpen in their ole miss quarters—disenthralling themselves even before lincoln said it—disenthralling themselves from the moment—from the still bloody  battleground all around them—still stinking with the night of the living dead…

faulkner said in his sound and fury introduction in the southern review—that he started off not writing a novel at all—he was just doing what writers like to do—doing what writers have to do—doing what comes natural—doing what their compulsions tell them to do—telling them what to say instinctively—faulkner having a nice tall cool one—and then another one—and then another one—writing a story he’d like to read himself—good juicy white-trash murder detective pulp fiction—sanctuaries where even angels fear to tread…

well, just shut my mouth!!! pop goes the weasel—and look what jumped out of pandora’s box?—what do most red-blooded southern men think about all the time—what do cheesy guys like popeye and the skanky snopes gang—do to pass the time?—let’s forget about ike snopes—that naïve charming mental retard boy—or benjy the compson throwback kid—sucked down by pluto--into more simple more primitive more savage antebellum times…

yes let’s forget about benjy the blithering child idiot—living in the hair-lipped plutonian moment—the moment when pluto grabs your persephone ass—and hauls you screaming down into hell—pulling down all the way—along with euboeleus the young shepherd—and all his squealing swine—pulling you down into the hellish raging moment—stream of consciousness turning into the river styx— forget that child-idiot benjy is cocteau’s heurtebise—forget that  faulkner is falling like orpheus—falling down thru liquid mirrors—falling down fast—down into the land of dis and disappointment…

let’s forget about raising cotton and sugar cane—let’s forget about  breeding horses—let’s forget about breeding mandingo boyfriends— like william rufus de vane king did—down there on his plantation in alabama—william rufus de vane king our vice president for awhile before the war—before he kicked the bucket down there in cuba— andrew jackson calling him miss nancy—because of queenly king’s entourage of young handsome black studs—teenage horsemen, surly footmen and pouty chicken valets—miss king living it high on the hog—down there on his alabama plantation—up there north with all the other proud southern senators—up there in the proud antebellum beltway usa…

sanctuary a good place to begin—to begin the descent into hell— temple drake and sanctuary taking some time and research—faulkner needing money as usual—reading a lot of white-trash murder mystery magazines—the kind of pulp fiction that makes your toes curl and your ass wiggle in your sleep—the kind of novel full of your typical morbid southern creepazoids—the kind you’d meet in some evil dark memphis back alley—but let’s skip that novel too—going straight to hell—the original ur-baby doll—that’s cute young caddy compson—all of the sound and the fury—revolving around her—caddy and her dirty drawers…

caddy’s dirty muddy drawers—they’re not just normal dirty muddy drawers—they’re dirty muddy drawers—way up there in the dirty muddy branches—of the gnarly old dirty muddy tree of knowledge—cute young caddy peering thru the window—thru the window over into the old dirty muddy bedroom—with her grandmother’s pale white corpse—lying there in the pale white bed—the boys standing far down below—waiting to hear what caddy saw up there—peering into the window of the dark house—the boys gawking up at caddy’s cute little bottom—her dirty panties stained with mud by the stream—twisted up there between her nice cute legs—that’s where faulkner eyeballs were ogling dontchaknow—his dirty old man’s white-trash eyeballs of love—his baby doll voyeur literary eyeballs—varicose veins popping out along his forehead—sitting at his desk with a jar of corn and a pile of paper—scribbling away into the humid dark night—when all you could hear for miles around—was the beating of his own heart—her heart and quentin’s heart—their hearts and dalton ames’ heart—fainting on the bridge…

writing his way into the pulp fiction moment—the pure and perfect incestuous moment—the old colonel’s mulatto shadow family moment—looming over him—the father of his mulatto slave emeline’s daughters—fannie forrest faulkner (1864-1866) and lena faulkner (b. 1867)—the old colonel’s great-grandson retelling the story—the story telling itself once again thru him—the incestuous miscegenation and adulterous love affair—ike mccaslin’s sullen discovery in the ledgers—the loneliness of quentin in new haven in 1918—his own grief over the loss of estelle—the morphing of old carother’s incest with his slave daughter—thinking “his own daughter his own daughter—no no not even him!”—

horace benbow’s guilty attraction to little belle—the bad karma of all that southern slavery—all that human ownership and antebellum blaxploitation—the apocryphal history of the faulkner family set forth first in flags in the dust—faulkner trying to explain himself to himself—thru philoprogenitive gardens of a thousand paths—full of blackness, mixed blood and sexual exploitation—

going down on moses—old carothers mccaslin making the three-hundred mile journey down to new orleans—to buy his slave thucydus a wife for awhile—then using her as his black mistress—to breed his own love-child daughter—to make a mistress out of that daughter too—the $1000 legacy to ike didn’t make up for it—

“did you love him?—did you love him like caddy did?—did you love dalton ames?”—obsessed young shreve—relentlessly delving deeper and deeper into the deep south—he had to know the awful truth—it was his compulsion to want to know why and how and how much—wanting to know all the juicy details—“did you love him quentin— did you love dalton ames?”—

faulkner sitting at his desk—listening to the night—feeling his own family history moving thru him—moving forward and backwards in time—but mostly up and down time—vertical moments—veridical moments—venusian moments—shreve excited by the moment—wanting to know more about it—about dalton ames’ lanky goodlooks and shrewd manliness—why did quentin think he was such a loser—with so little time left when he had all the time in the world—benjy and quentin and jason and caddy—all these seemingly seminal doomed denizens of the dark house—oozing with bad blood and bad seed—oozing out of faulkner’s own sordid decadent bad seed mississippi gone delta mind—

as if queer quentin really cared about caddy’s virginity—most gay guys probably encouraging their sisters to get laid—even maybe helping their sisters get laid—help their sisters with their troubled love-life—sloppy seconds soup de jour baby—with those sullen moody boyfriends moping around the house—isn’t that what happens when quentin falls for dalton ames—tracking down caddy’s boyfriend—the handsome suave sophisticated dalton ames—challenging him to a fight—outside of town by the bridge—call it sibling rivalry—call it penis envy—caddy getting it—quentin wanting it too—can you blame him—the poor kid obviously upset—but not about caddy’s maidenhead—it was dalton ames they wanted—every long lanky inch of him—

dalton knew quentin was in love with him—for the same reason caddy loved him too—dalton ames was a mature confident man—and a manly man knows dontchaknow—knows what he needs to know—knows what others want to know—they want to know him all the way—that’s the only way to go—both caddy and quentin want him bad—wanting him bad enough—wanting to know him all the way—all three of them—bad and beautiful children of the night…

there on the bridge—dalton ames looking into quentin’s eyes—he sees caddy’s big blue eyes looking back at him—there in quentin’s troubled face—seeing caddy’s pale soft beauty—quentin’s young face—dalton feeling caddy’s smooth skin—smooth as quentin’s skin—her petite boyish body—the same with quentin in his arms—because dalton ames is a man—he can feel the incestuous vibes—knowing what quentin wants—knowing what quentin wants even more than quentin does—knowing quentin is virgin—knowing he’s a closet-case—knowing quentin needs it just as bad as caddy—maybe even worse than caddy—because quentin’s green with jealousy—wanting what caddy wants—wanting it just as bad as she does—maybe even worse—

dalton ames handing quentin his pistol—telling him to go ahead and shoot—but quentin can’t do it—he can’t even touch it—it’s the wrong pistol—quentin’s the one who needs it—he needs to be pistol whipped and bitch-slapped—they struggle on the bridge—it’s more  a long extended lover’s embrace than a fight—dalton pinning quentin up against the railing—up against the cold iron girders—holding quentin tight in his arms—feeling sorry for the kid—but excited at the same time—brushing back the kid’s long hair—so he can see the curve of quentin’s long neck—reaching down and kissing quentin there—where he kisses his sister when they make love—smelling quentin like he smells his sister—his beautiful infrared nostrils—wide as zeus going for leda—biting quentin hard on the neck—where he bites caddy—right there on her neck—feeling her up in the orchard—bruising quentin’s skin with a huge hickie—wrapping his big lips around the kid’s bulging pouty lips—the vein of love wiggling down the side of the kid’s neck—down his flat hard stomach—down where quentin could feel himself losing it—quickly  slowly fainting at the same time—it’s what he secretly wants—even tho what he gets is unexpected—finding out he likes it—being manhandled by a goodlooking man—and wanting it some more—liking it like young sutpen liked it—making love with charles bon the beautiful—and liking it—and wanting some more—being manhandled and pulled down by big strong arms—down into darkness in the dark house of love—going down like leda—going down like Helen of troy—going down like persephone--down into the male darkness—going down like euboeleus along with all the swine—going down on the beauty of the moment—dalton’s big thick lips—doing what pluto does best—

“it’s what every closet case needs”—the nelly queen from new orleans said to me—sitting in a bar in the french quarter—was it lafitte’s or that mixed bar—where i picked up the awol sailor—during mardi gras that year—the year when hurricane betsy—the cute roustabout from the gulf—flown in just for me—one could smell the decadent city for miles off—the rotten smell of decaying old damp buildings ready to be torn down—the clinging humidity and clammy stickiness—the smell of attractive dirty-looking young lounge lizards in the french quarter—the claustrophobic feeling of being entombed by the big easy tragic past—living in the voodoo-hoodoo moment—the big easy moment—the wrought-iron balcony moment—oozing down onto st. charles—ending up with a sulky popeye hustler—who’d either rob me or slit my throat—if i’d turn my back on him…

faulkner skipping what happens next—it isn’t just quentin fainting in dalton’s arms—there’s more to it than that—give me a break—it’s more than just a fainting episode—more than quentin merely fainting and losing it—losing it bad in dalton’s strong arms—down under the bridge—lying in the grass by the river—quentin feeling dalton’s arms around him—dalton’s sharp teeth—sinking into his neck—isn’t that what he wants to feel—what caddy feels when they make love—down by the stream—the spanish moss hanging down from heaven—ancient cypress roots moaning and groaning—down deep in the muck and mud—the smell of bougainvillea and wisteria—suffocating in the afternoon heat—the iron girders overhead—there in the cool shade beneath the bridge—down there where the big old huge catfish swims silently in the deep dark pool—that’s where dalton does quentin—that’s where dalton makes love to caddy’s brother—quentin sinking faster than the titanic—taking everything with him—including the kitchen sink—down quentin goes—going down on dalton—until caddy rides up—galloping up afterwards—knowing quentin was doing dalton—knowing quentin was in love with  dalton—knowing dalton loved her but he’d do her brother too—knowing dalton had a lot of young manhood—plenty for both  quentin and her—

later on at harvard—shreve mccannon the young butch canadian—quentin’s next butch lover—goodlooking smart harvard freshman—later going on to be captain—royal army medical corps—canadian expeditionary forces—france 1914-1918—then practicing surgeon in edmonton alberta—

shreve playing quentin like a violin—a delicate mississippi stradivarius—in the teenage dark dorm room at night—young men’s dormitories notorious for exploring male libido—the first chance some men have to find out what they really like—all that ouija board hocus-pocus stuff—oozing out quentin’s pores like perfume—both of them channeling back to sutpen’s plantation—back to ole miss and the civil war—back into timeless time far beyond that harvard dormitory room—two boys huddled in some damp cold garret—it could just as well be Verlaine and Rimbaud—there in some dark cold winter parisian night—

quentin’s unhappy freshman year—his campus troubles with bad-boy bullies—his problem with the little girl from town—the boys fishing off the bridge—quentin pulling the hands off his watch—as if that would make time stand still—not wanting to grow up—not wanting to know himself and hating his family—not wanting to know his southern heritage—not because he hated the south—but because he hated himself—with the hate and self-loathing that only closet cases know—no one possibly can know—what really goes on inside a closet-case’s mind—unless you’ve ever been a closet case yourself—the labyrinth of lies and deceptions—the useless don’t ask don’t tell—the taboo feeling of being untouchable—being the portrait up there in the attic—the portrait of dorian black or white or gay—crammed and hidden in the closets—the ghostly closetry of the dark house—with every room locked—every room with its own portrait—each portrait doomed like henry sutpen—dying in the plantation mansion attic—

the labyrinth—not like cool sophisticated borges—not like calm studious library of babel—not like cerebral tlön, uqbar or orbis tertius—not the magic garden of forking paths—but rather a rundown rotting county in mississippi—somewhere out in the sticks—that’s where the carnival is—that’s where the geek show pitches its tent—not just for one generation—but for a whole genealogy of freaks and malcontents—and snopesian monsters on the make…

bad seed—cute baby dolls—mystery detective stories—pulp fiction paperback romance novels—and short stories—william faulkner’s life—not for everyone to read—not for everyone to see—thru the hole in the wall—baby doll sleeping in her baby bed...


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Eva on September 19, 2007, 08:45:49 PM
"Now, Mr. Faulkner," she said, "what were you thinking of when you wrote that?"

"Money", he replied.

And this one, regarding a particularly convoluted passage:

"What does that mean, Mr. Faulkner?"

"Damned if I know," Faulkner replied after a moment.  "I was readin' that the other day and wonderin'.  I remember I was pretty corned-up when I wrote that part."


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 19, 2007, 09:04:00 PM
(http://lean.bfi.org.uk/materials/fullsize/bfi-00m-lxd.jpg)

Shreve McCannon
(1890-1943)


“Listening, they
were allowed to see.”
     —Bernhard Radloff 
       


a séance, my dear, is the preferred way.

words flowing—from the loins of young african kings.

young nubian princes—rude sunsets by the nile.

octoroon studs—strutting down canal street.

sexy view carrè voices—teenage mulatto boyfriends.

eulalia bon—young daughter of a haitian sugar cane planter.

dark and beautiful—a voodoo goddess of love.

a séance is the preferred way—to channel these spirits.

spirits of the past—the tortured souls of the south.

matching the incidental details—all the unexplainable ones.

our frigid dorm room at harvard—two young men together.

the ideal modernist moment—immersing ourselves in it.

impulsive desires of youth—naïve freshman impulses.

seamless whole—a literary creation—a southern decadent one.

sodom by the gulf—queer rotting ancient seaport of desire.

guided by trance and luck—we descend into hell.

“who is henry sutpen—who is charles bon?”

both quentin and me—asking the question.

we are thinking as one—as lovers do.

speaking the unthinkable—knowing it by saying it.

southern past & present—fused together as one.

parody overcoming paradox—our queer confederacy.

neither one of us is here—we’re in new orleans.

the time is forty-six years ago—quentin is henry.

i’m charles bon—we’re looking at each other—we know.

we know what lovers know—we can smell it.

the rotting city—the smell of cosmopolitan decay.

we can smell the sugar cane—the cigar smoke.

we can smell the sweat of slaves on the docks.

bon takes me there to show me what real african men smell like.

at the black cat there’s a special room upstairs for gentlemen.

men who like poker, the best whiskey and good cigars.

men who like to gamble—for sleek black horses and men.

rufus de vane king sat next to me—the queer vice president.

they always let him win—he pays well for the young studs.

clean-cut, well-mannered, manicured—such a dinge queen.

he owns all of biloxi—he’ll die in cuba smoking a cigar.

buchanan’s lover—foreign minister to england.

the great state of alabama’s most knowing gay son.

i blush—they strut the young black studs by the tables.

i can smell them—their groins and dark damp armpits.

it’s intoxicating—it makes me want to taste all of it.

a look of sheer hatred in their eyes—that’s why they’re chained..

their skin shines like ebony in the moonlight—their huge lips.

how i want to kiss them—when young africa comes close.

a royal flush—rufus wins—the young men are sold.

the old de vane plantation will be their new home.

bon laughs at me—the shock on my country-boy face.

my young mississippi manhood—getting educated quick.

to the sophisticated ways of cosmopolitan faggots…

the smooth suave way it’s done—getting what you want.

the cruel caviler nonchalance—owning young men.

buying it—selling it—doing what you want with it….

suddenly slavery and southern decadence were one.

bon lounging around—waiting for me to wake up.

the new orleans night so humid—mardi gras is coming.

our minds aren’t creating this—the vision is creating it.

we become the lovers—the lovers become us.

listening to them—we are allowed to see.

seeing them—we are permitted to know.

shreve is canadian—calmer than quentin.

quentin is still distraught—the trauma of the docks.

the young kid at the black cat—how i wanted him so.

almost as much as i want bon—every inch of him.

our honeymoon in new orleans doesn’t last long.

the war between the states—sutpen’s downfall.

caught up by the curse—mulatto love.

henry sutpen—naïve adam in the garden of evil.

tempted to taste the dark forbidden fruit.

charles bon—dynastic root of the family tree.

exiled from the garden—obsessed now with return.

“maybe nothing ever happens—just once.”

“maybe it’s always happening—over & over again?”

“fractured moments in time—streams of flashbacks?”

“constantly overlapping—sutpen’s plantation in ruins?”

“bon’s story—inside me each time i shiver?”

“gone like the old south—all those lost dynasties?”

henry reaches over—touches quentin gently.

“your curse will always be—like the original one.”

“that’s why we have to do this—going back in time.”

the garden of evil opening up—two brothers being born.

one stained with the mark of cain—the other black & beautiful.

both ineradicably joined together—by the sutpen curse.

interracial fratricide—and other anguishing gay tragedies.

“but there’s more than that—there always is.”

i push henry even further—deeper into dinge romance.

the sutpen curse—forcing him to tell me more.

“it’s more than just murder and interracial fratricide isn’t it?”

“it’s more than just incest too—tell me henry…”

handsome charles bon—leaning nude on the balcony.

his puce silk robe—slipping down around his feet.

his fancy french quarter apartment at night.

smoking a sleek cuban cigar—enjoying himself.

leaning against the railing—legs spread apart.

i’m on my knees—groveling for it.

my mulatto half-brother’s gorgeous family jewels.

the dynasty of death—the death of a dynasty.

“shameless, shocking!” cries rosa coldfield.

“oh my god! too horrible to contemplate!”

“the sutpen dynasty in ruins—dragging us all down into hell!”

i’m young henry compson—faggot heir apparent.

the one bred to succeed—the one bred to fail.

falling to his knees—before charles bon the beautiful.

proud, huge—veiny and thick—like the mississippi.

his dark kinky pubes—fanning out over the delta.

ancient mulatto city—sodom seaport of the black gods.

up against his flat stomach—dark snakes of the evil garden.

from his loins—charles etienne de saint valery bon is born.

out of him—joe bond, joe christmas, milton moore…

his young negro manhood—bred by a proud planter.

bred to be master of a southern plantation.

the true dynastic dream—the future sutpen universe.

the love between two brothers—both obsessed with it…

his lust for the family root—the family tree—the family dynasty.

my lust for him—his black male beauty—his big lips.

the garden of evil always breeding—forbidden & seminal love.

especially in new orleans—down by the mississippi.

i can smell the sickening sweet smell of wisteria and honeysuckle.

coming in through the sultry window as we sleep tonight.

i can feel the spanish moss—swaying beneath old voodoo moon.

opulent oozing magnolia trees—bending down out of time.

and the young man in bed with me—he’s all i want—all i need.

how long will this love last—how long will he be mine?

staining my lips—forever and a day?

c’mon let’s go to bed now—shreve says…


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: johnr60 on September 19, 2007, 09:10:45 PM
"The premise of the book is that Quentin is explaining the South to Shreve, who is always bothering him to tell him about the South.  And so....why does Quentin choose this particular story?"

I dont accept that premise at all and Quentin doesnt choose:
"She wants it told" (probably page 1 or 2).   


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 20, 2007, 12:16:23 AM

I dont accept that premise at all and Quentin doesnt choose:


My dear John, you keep posting these one-liner pronunciamentos
about not accepting this premise and that premise...but you never
seem to explain, explicate or elaborate on anything.

On the other hand, you'll probably come back and say I elaborate
and meander too much in my naive Southern way about Faulkner
and this book we're discussing. Which is okay if all you want to
do is argue about this and that...

In my opinion, Absalom, Absalom is a very complex novel...
and there are no heavy-handed rules, premises or black & white
steadfast propositions to guide the reader into this labyrinthine
work other than as you said...growing up and living in the South
trumps most premises you keep coming up with.

Perhaps if you'd elaborate a little more on your various objections
like about just what Quentin and Shreve are doing there
in that Harvard dormitory room, then maybe you can convince me
and the others about what you're talking about.

Have you ever visited or lived in the South? Are you acquainted
with what Faulkner says about the Southern storytelling tradition?
His introduction to TSATF in the Nortion edition makes it very clear
how important storytelling is and always has been to Southern
culture. Yet you seem to know all the rules about storytelling...

I don't understand how you can come out with these rules about
Faulkner's storytelling in Absalom, Absalom or how you seem to
know what Shreve and Quentin are talking about? Or why they're
talking or who they're talking about.

Premises? Rules? If Faulkner listened to you...he'd never get a book
written at all!!!

Just because somebody says something in a novel doesn't mean
it's true or it's something steadfast out of a physics textbook or
something that can be only one way or another.

Is that how you think Fiction works?

How do you think Fiction works?

For example, what do you think Shreve and Quentin are doing?

Just whistling Dixie?  :)


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 20, 2007, 01:55:30 AM
(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/51Q64Q3VZRL._AA240_.jpg)

Premises, premises I'm all through
with premises premises now...

(http://libraries.mit.edu/music/img/musicnotes223.gif)

Maybe all through with Absalom, Absalom, too.  Tapped out. 


(Pugetopolis:  Your poem beginning "a seance my dear..." is beautiful.  Thank you for posting it.)


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 20, 2007, 03:14:22 AM
Hoffman,

My own approach to Absalom may not be the
right approach to discussing it. Other books
like Beowulf and The Waning of the Middle
Ages
weren't so ambiguous and labyrinthine as
Faulkner...

Using fabulation, satire and poetry to explore the
interstices within Faulkner like I do is sort of a
one way ticket...it's something readers can do
individually but most people don't have the time
to set down and imitate or use their imagination
to explore the nuance of a text like Absalom.

For example, my own homoerotic hermeneutics
of the Quentin/Caddy/Ames menage-a-trois or
the storytelling paradigm used by Faulkner to
retell the Sutpen scenes from Sound and Fury,
well, not everybody sees that as kosher book
discussion protocol.

Like the seance piece. What can anybody really
say when something like that's posted? Or what
can anybody say when I use my Louisiana
experiences to illustrate the novel?

It's not just a matter of sophisitcation...but
who wants to wade thru all that Southern
fabulation of mine when it's hard enough
just reading the book itself.

It's just the way I approach Fiction that's
all; to me writing rather than just reportage
is a kind of love-affair with literature...and
from that love flows other literature.

It's just a phase I go thru like writing about
Eraserhead; these forums are good for
developing a conversational style to writing
that goes beyond simple one-line prose
which is discursively politically correct for
some people I suppose, but in terms of
developing writing or reading skills, well,
I find that approach somewhat lacking if
you know what I mean.

I'm very pleased with our Fiction book
discussion this time; I hope what I've
shared with the group has been somewhat
interesting about the South and how I
view Faulkner's writing strategies...

Thank you.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: johnr60 on September 20, 2007, 11:14:11 AM
Dearest puge:

So many questions, so little time, but I'll try to answer a few.

   "but you never seem to explain, explicate or elaborate on        anything."

It was a simple question, I thought a simple declarative sentence enough to answer it; I still do.  There's a lot to be said for making points quickly and clearly in this format but I'm not the one to say it.

   "you'll probably come back and say I elaborate
   and meander too much"

I lack couth in many ways but I would never be as pretentious as that.

   "other than as you said...growing up and living in the        South"

Not quite; what I said was "The stereotype notion is important--Faulkner and others build reader's and mine, the earth has built pontalba's."

   "Perhaps if you'd elaborate a little more on your various     objections... then maybe you can convince me..."

I have no objections and I am not here to convince anyone.  I come here to enjoy, not contend.



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: johnr60 on September 20, 2007, 04:31:24 PM
stereotypes and charicature:

I dont think we're on the same page here and maybe stereotype isn't the proper word but it's the one I use.

The brain sees what it wants to see--images, events, whatever you might call them are stored and recalled automatically without reflection.  The unconscious concepts thus formed are stereotypes and we use them, for example, in flight or fight situations. It's impossible to control these concepts, we can only add to the stored images and events.  We live and make most day to day decisions entirely with stereotypical information--pure fiction.  This is the area of Goethe's "becoming". 

In context, we have pontalba's: "I grew up with these people"
agreeing that Faulkner paints true characters based on her earthy stereotype and reader "these characters do not think or speak like people, none I know", saying his stereotype of people does not agree.  Faulkner's job is to build a believeable stereotype for his readers, with his characters words and actions that will compete (and agree with) pontalba's earthy one and allow the reader to operate in that magic Goethean area.


As an aside:


Former forumite ND philosopher Gene Halton following Peirce says that the stereotype IS reality: 

"John60, the true is the representation of the real, and the real is that which is represented in the final opinion of the unlimited community of inquirers, the opinion fated to never be overturned by further inquiry, the true opinion which is indeed true belief."


I hope this post satisfies for length, the blue pills do help.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 20, 2007, 06:31:28 PM
(http://lean.bfi.org.uk/materials/fullsize/bfi-00m-lxd.jpg)

The Séance

Well, Reader—so many questions…

You remind me of Shreve—my Harvard roommate…

He was that way too—dontchaknow…

Use your imagination—it’s the only way to go…

A séance that is, my dear, dialoging with the dead…

The Night of the Living Dead—that’s the South…

Use your imagination—let’s do a séance…

Séances aren’t easy—even at Harvard…

Especially literary séances—with guys like me...

Southern writers…especially Southern decadent ones…

They’re hard to understand—difficult to fathom…

Like Faulkner—one must use one’s imagination…

To commune with the dead…

Isn’t that what Quentin and Shreve are doing?

Communing with the dead?

The Sutpen dead…the Compson dead?

The dead are never dead…they’re here now…

Use your imagination—isn’t that how a séance works?

A literary séance, that is—down into the labyrinth?

The labyrinth of Deep South decadence?

Are you ready for it—are you ready to know, baby?

It gets pretty risque—dontchaknow?

You Canadians from up North…

You're pretty naive when it comes to decadent love...

Use your imagination…

Pretend you’re Temple Drake in the hayloft…

And I’m Popeye—with a corncob, baby.

Pretend you’re Temple Drake there in Memphis…

There in Miss Reba’s big skanky whorehouse…

With handsome Alabama Red and cross-eyed Popeye…

Use your imagination—then use it some more…

Ever read Sanctuary—well, have you?

It's a book where even Angels fear to tread...

“C’mon, now—let’s go to bed,” Shreve says…

Use your imagination…

Love is a labyrinth…there’s no escape…

Every family is a dysfunctional labyrinthine grave.

Full of skanky skeletons in the closet...

The labyrinth of the Faulkner family?

The labyrinth of the Sutpen dynasty…

The labyrinth of the Compson clan…

It’s all there—told again and again…

How many ways to look at a blackbird?

How many ways to love your mulatto brother?

How many ways to love your mulatto mistress?

How many ways to enslave a whole race?

Just ask the Old Colonel…

Just ask William Clark Falkner…

Just ask Fannie Forrest Falkner…

Just ask Lena Falkner…

Just ask the Old Colonel’s great-grandson…

Just ask Billy Faulkner…

Why did he change his name?

From Falkner to Faulkner?

Was he ashamed of his past?

Was he full of disgust and self-loathing?

Use your imagination…

It’s a Pandora’s Box…dontchaknow…

Faulkner’s family—full of skeletons in the closet…

Every family's got skeletons in the closet…

Portraits in the attic...

Adulterous love affairs…

Things that go bump in the night...

Some got it worse than others...

Faulkner gets into it...

His oeuvre a vast cesspool of desire and decadence...

Incestuous hot mulatto love and romance…

Henry Sutpen and handsome Charles Bon...

Making love down there in Ole Miss...

Quentin Compson and Shreve McCannon...

In bed there in that cold Harvard dormatory room...

Use your imagination…

Use your imagination...that's what it's for...

Old Carother’s incest with his slave daughter…

Did you know he had a love-child son too?

Charles Etienne St. Valerie Bon…

The Colonel was in love with him too...

Use your imagination…

“No, surely not that,” Shreve says…

Use your imagination…

“His own daughter his own daughter…"

"No!!! No!!! Not even him!!!” says Ike McCaslin…

Use your imagination…

“I’m the black stud…I'm the one..."

"That’s going to sleep with your sister,” Bon says…

“Not that!!!” says Henry Sutpen…

“Please not Judith!!! Take me instead…”

Use your imagination…

“Did you love them Caddy—did you love them?”

“Did you love Dalton Ames—did you Quentin?”

Oh Lordy, Lordy—down into the Labyrinth we go…

That decadent Southern imagination..

Talk about apocryphal Pulp Fiction, baby…

Talk about philoprogentitive magic realism, my dear...

Miss Borges would blush—use your imagination.

There’s nothing more decadent—and sleazy…

More down-to-earth and full of Baby Doll love...

Than the Southern imagination…

I should know—just look at me…

Use your imagination...

Shreve, you're such a naïve Canadian boy…

You don't know what you're getting into…

Climbing into bed with Quentin that little whore…

Ever been to Mardi Gras—ever been down South?

Ever been to New Orleans—ever been to Carnivàle?

Ever been in the French Quarter—there in the Big Easy?

Ancient Sodom and Miss G seaport...down by the Gulf.

You can smell the city rotting from miles away...

Down there where they got cockroaches big as alligators...

And dead bodies in the hurricane attics stinkin' bad...

Where the Swamp Women...love cute guys like you...

Ever been in bed with a cute young black Cajun girl?

Ever made love to a dark handsome moody Creole boy?

I have...it's lucky I got outta there alive, man...

Use your imagination, baby—use it now…

You don’t need Ishmael Reed's hoodoo-voodoo…

You don’t need Tennessee William's skanky ouija board…

You don't need Harper Lee's dead mockingbird...

You don't need Truman Capote's killer boyfriend...

You don't need Katherine Dunn's Geek Love...

You don't need Van Vechten's Harlem Renaissance...

You don't need Miss Borges' Library of Babel...

You don't need Andrei Codrescu's naked muse...

You don't need Toni Morrison's playin' in the dark...

You don't need Bruce Nugent's "Smoke, Lilies and Jade"...

You don't need David Lynch's Eraserhead...

All you need is your imagination…

And a beat-up dog-eared paperback novel…

Absalom, Absalom






Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 20, 2007, 06:44:42 PM
Reader....In The Sound and the Fury, Quentin is obsessed with his sister Caddie.  In the end, he commits suicide.  Interesting you should ask "when" in relation to Quentin's suicide.  Where Absalom, Absalom, is about memory, TSATF is about time.   Well worth reading. 


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 20, 2007, 06:49:48 PM
Quote
My own approach to Absalom may not be the
right approach to discussing it. Other books
like Beowulf and The Waning of the Middle
Ages weren't so ambiguous and labyrinthine as
Faulkner...

Works for me.

Quote
Using fabulation, satire and poetry to explore the
interstices within Faulkner like I do is sort of a
one way ticket...it's something readers can do
individually but most people don't have the time
to set down and imitate or use their imagination
to explore the nuance of a text like Absalom.

I think you are being overly modest here....I really don't think it's a matter having enough time.  For some of us, all the time in the world wouldn't be enough.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 20, 2007, 06:56:31 PM
Oh...when and where....AA takes place about three months before Quentins suicide.  He kills himself by jumping off a bridge into a river near Harvard.

The perplexing thing about Quentin from TSATF into AA, is that in his conversation with Shreve, we get no hint of the force that drives him to his suicide, his obsession with his sister and with time.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 20, 2007, 07:29:07 PM
Did Quentin kill himself in September? 
If so, it could have something to do
with the Red Sox.

Well, that may get some jocks in here...

That's okay with me, baby!!!

They sure enough have lots of energy
in those sports forums dontchaknow...

I could use a little of that about now...
Use your imagination...






Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 20, 2007, 08:28:19 PM

The perplexing thing about Quentin from TSATF into AA,
is that in his conversation with Shreve, we get no hint
of the force that drives him to his suicide, his obsession
with his sister and with time.


Well, I dunno.

Like I've been saying...use your imagination.

Your gay imagination...that is...

Which is kinda hard for straights to do...
but if I can think like straights than surely
straights can think like me...kinda...

I don't think Quentin really was that
concerned with Caddy's maidenhead...
and virginity. Caddy wasn't...doing what
she did so well with Dalton Ames.

Call it jealousy...call it sibling rivalry...
I think Quentin wanted it too...Dalton
Ames in his arms. I can't really blame
him either...Dalton's a real stud. He's
got Quentin's number pretty well...so
does a lot of people. Caddy's first
husband...the guys at Harvard.

Most gay guys would help their sisters...
lose their virginity and have a good time.
After all, there's always the possibilty
of sloppy seconds dontchaknow. At least
that's the way it was with my sister...

Quentin has the hots for Dalton Ames...
that's the real story. He keeps asking
Caddy about it...her lovers and all that.

He's worse than Shreve in Harvard...
what's it like? Did you love Dalton Ames?
There on the bridge...why'd ya faint in
his arms that way?

Use your imagination. Reread Absalom.
Reread TSATF. What's Quentin bothered
by so much of the time? Time? History?
Caddy's virginity? Not.

Quentin's worried about one thing...and
one thing only. Himself. Himself and his
unrequited love for the men in his life.
That's why he faints in Dalton's arms
there on that bridge. That's why his
Harvard classmates bully and pick on
him.

That's why they say guys like him
jump off bridges...or jump in front of
trains like Paul in Willa Cather's short
story "Paul's Case."

Suicide be soup du jour for queers,
dontchaknow...that's what they say...

But it's a little more complicated than
that...you don't have to go down to Ole
Miss for the Yoknapatawpha Conference
to find out that homosexuality and race
run thick and slow like the Mississippi
thru Faulkner's novels...

Nor do you have to be a MLA hotshot
or a postmodern queen bee to know
that Faulkner was one of the most
subversive writers we've ever had.
Many of his friends in New Orleans,
New York and Mississippi were gay
men who helped him become the
writer he was... Go figure on that
one a little bit and then I'll tell
you who they were...many of them
great writers themselves...

Faulkner was ahead of his time not
only dealing with race issues back
then from the '20s and '30s on...
but he wrote about identity crisis,
closet cases and the homoerotic
South long before Miss Capote and
Queen Bee Tennesse Williams got
around to writing about the love
that dare not speak its name...

Before gay lib and Stonewall, what
could a gay kid like Quentin Compson
do with his same-sex urges and need
for male love? It fucks a guy up...

Look at what Henry Sutpen goes thru
with his mulatto half-brother Charles
Bon. Not only incest...but incestuous
miscegenation as well. A double-header
dontchaknow...two taboos in one. Talk
about mind-fuck, sweetheart.

Use your gay imagination...think about
it... I know I do and I've reread Absalom
and TSATF along those lines many times.
Not just as hidden subtext...but as the
Text itself clear as day...

You see, I'm writing this gay Cliff's Notes
on Absalom, Absalom...but it's different
than the other black and yellow version
high school and college students use
today. I don't do Faulkner chapter by
chapter...I do him blow by blow, baby.

I gots da disease...I blame the lovely
Meandering Forum for it. I've learned to
meander as you will...I've learned to
meander as you won't. I'm in no hurry...
and neither is Faulkner.

Labyrinths can be luxurious...mazes
can be amazingly louche and lazy. You
see I've been Quentin for a long time...
and I know how Quentin thinks and acts
and feels and loves. I've been there and
done that dontchaknow.

That's why Faulkner rules...his novels
are existentially real for me. As real as
pecan pie and pretty bayou boys. As real
as pralines and the Bordreaux boys...

Down there in the swamps at night.
Smoking, drinking, playing poker...
Diving off the dock naked. Scared
to death of their big black water
mocassins...kinda...




Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 21, 2007, 01:55:53 AM
Doesn't take too much imagination.  There is the idea that Henry would like to change places with Judith, become the bride himself, and this is mirrored in the scene on the bridge in TSATF where Quentin confronts Dalton.

Chapter Eight:  Henry takes stock of the situation. "All right.  I am trying to make myself into what I think he wants me to be; he can do anything he wants to with me; he has only to tell me what to do and I will do it; even though what he asked me to to do looked to me like dishonor, I would still do it."  Goes on to compare his feelings on the matter to Judith's, contemplates whether Bon did her the dishonour of kissing her...Then, as the chapter goes on Quentin/Shreve are tied to Henry/Bon: "Shreve ceased.  That is, for all the two of them, Shreve and Quentin, knew, he had stopped, since for all the two of them knew he had never begun, since it did not matter (and possibly neither of them conscious of the distinction_ which one had been doing the talking.  So that now it was not two but four of them riding the two horses throught the dark....four of them and then just two---Charles-Shreve and Quentin-Henry..." and "........both of them were Henry Sutpen and both of them were Bon...."
 


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 21, 2007, 02:04:37 AM

"So that now it was not two but four of them riding
the two horses throught the dark....four of them and
then just two---Charles-Shreve and Quentin-Henry..."

 

 :)


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 21, 2007, 02:09:52 AM
Quote
Does that work in with Shreve's comment about how the Jim Bonds are going to conquer the western hemisphere?

The idea of Jim Bond conquering the world may be related to The Sound and the Fury.  Here is the quote that Faulkner based his title on:

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.


There is the idea to be found in AA and in TSATF that life is without meaning.  All the care we put into it, all the monuments we build to our own greatness, in the end all come to nothing.  Sutpen's great designs, his plans for a huge estate and a dynasty, all come down in the end to a fire and an idiot who can only howl.  

  


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 21, 2007, 06:17:30 AM

...a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.
 

Benjy the retarded Compson boy. I wonder sometimes
why Faulkner began TSATF with him? Why would he start
the novel that way? Was he feeling down after his
publishers rejected his next novel? In his Introduction
he says that's when he started writing for himself...

That and what do you think about doubles in Faulkner?
The Quentin/Henry Shreve/Bon thing he does in AA?
Compared to all that Twin Lit we read...Geek Love,
Jackson's Half
Lite, etc.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 21, 2007, 06:33:46 AM

Doesn't take too much imagination.   


Literary séance and reliable narrators

The séance scene at Harvard...

it seems to work with Quentin and Shreve, right?

A literary séance, that is...

Isn't that the model Faulkner is using?

The dialog between Quentin and Shreve?

What's the dialog about?

Unanswered questions from the past?

Reliving the Southern past?

The Sutpen past, the Compson past?

The Faulkner past?

If the past isn't past, where is it?

Is it in the Now? The dialogic Now?

But where's that—this dialogic Now?

Could the Now exist in the storytelling moment?

The dialog of two boys in a Harvard dorm room?

One boy wanting to know more about the South

The other boy knowing too much?

Or rather not wanting to know anymore?

Is this dialog a good way to explore a...

Labyrinth of lies, secrets, skeletons in the closet?

Whose closet? Quentin's closet...?

Is Quentin telling the truth?

Are closet-cases reliable narrators?

The Faulkner family closet?

"I don't hate it!!!"—is that denial?

Is Absalom, Absalom a model...

For the dialogic imagination?

Is that what storytelling does?

Faulkner as Pluto / Persephone descending hell?

Like Orpheus a la Cocteau etc?

Is that how he's channeling down into the Labyrinth?

The Labyrinth of the Deep South?

Remodeling the Now—thru storytelling?

All that antebellum bad karma from slavery?

Human bondage, incestuous miscegenation, love?

Is Quentin a reliable Narrator?

Is Faulkner a reliable Narrator?





Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: johnr60 on September 21, 2007, 12:20:09 PM
"both of them were Henry Sutpen and both of them were Bon...."

saramago: "...what one narrates often becomes more real than the actual events narrated..."

Why that quoted has to be more than that is beyond me.  Didn't anyone else have a platonic relationship in teenage years with an older idol?  Part of growing up in my day, especially when the idol falls.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 21, 2007, 03:38:51 PM
(http://images.tribe.net/tribe/upload/photo/dca/840/dca840fc-effd-45f1-8d39-17c4fe46ae96)



Didn't anyone else have a platonic relationship in teenage
years with an older idol?  especially when the idol falls.


This quote you keep quoting:

"what one narrates often becomes
more real than the actual events narrated..."


Are you saying the shreve/quentin
and henry sutpen/charles bon
"affairs" are purely platonic?

And therefore sex between them
is, well, some kind of Fiction...
some sort of Fabluation?

Sounds like heads or tails...  :)


"especially when the idol falls"

Like do you mean when the idol...
goes down?








Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: johnr60 on September 21, 2007, 08:40:10 PM
"Are you saying the shreve/quentin
and henry sutpen/charles bon
"affairs" are purely platonic?"

Not quite.  I am saying that there is nothing I have found in the text that establishes otherwise.

"Like do you mean when the idol...
goes down?"

I think you know that I mean.  Why do we have to get into this kind of bullshit?


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 21, 2007, 09:11:29 PM
"Are you saying the shreve/quentin
and henry sutpen/charles bon
"affairs" are purely platonic?"

Not quite.  I am saying that there is nothing I have found in the text that establishes otherwise.


The interesting thing about this point is that there is also nothing in the text that establishes that the relationships are platonic.  It is a bit ambiguous, especially when you factor in that Quentin commits suicide because of his obsession with his sister, but then, in the AA narrative, we hear nothing of her.

I think there is room for multiple readings here. 


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: johnr60 on September 21, 2007, 09:42:48 PM
"there is also nothing in the text that establishes that the relationships are platonic."

Do you really think that an author writing in 1930 would have to establish that as opposed to a homosexual bent?

"especially when you factor in that Quentin commits suicide"

Not in the text I just read.  Even if we allowed that event, I dont know the time frame involved in the writing of the stories.

"I think there is room for multiple readings here. "

I dont think it's me that disallows multiple readings.  I haven't written 10 lines on the gay issue.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on September 21, 2007, 10:06:38 PM
This discussion has certainly taken an interesting turn. It may not be homosexual liaisons being described? It was all in the mind and POV of the reader? Hmmmmm.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 21, 2007, 10:21:53 PM

"especially when you factor in that Quentin commits suicide"

Not in the text I just read.  Even if we allowed that event, I dont know the time frame involved in the writing of the stories.


The time frame for Faulkner's writing of the novels? or regarding Quentin?


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 21, 2007, 10:49:46 PM
Absalom, Absalom


Why do we have to get into this kind of bullshit?


This is the kind of attitude I'm challenging with our reading discussion.

I'm somewhat amazed and flummoxed by it when it rears its ugly head...

Calling our discussion "bullshit" denigrates the whole proposition of adults discussing a Novel.

The Yoknapatawpha Conference at Ole Miss doesn't think Faulkner and Sexualty is "bullshit."

In fact the recent conference Topic is just that...I've posted the conference agenda several times.

When major American writers and well-known university Ph.D.'s agree to discuss this topic...

I don't think they consider the subject to be mere mediocre embarrassing "bullshit."

Therefore in my next post to the Fiction Forum -- I'm outlining more questions germane to this Topic.

Beginning with three Faulkner quotes which I consider to be keys to this complex issue...

These quotes are from Absalom, Absalom...

William Faulkner and sexuality in the Deep South...

It's something I've lived thru and know fairly well.

Something I've been open about with my fellow readers...

And something I've shared with my friends here in Elba...

Thank you.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 21, 2007, 10:56:46 PM
(http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americannovel/timeline/images/faulkner_pic.jpg)

Was Henry Sutpen—Queer for Charles Bon?

“There must have been nights and nights
while Henry was learning from him how
to lounge about a bedroom in a gown
and slippers such as women wore, in
a faint though unmistakable effluvium
of scent such as women used, smoking
a cigar almost as a woman might smoke
it, yet withal such an air of indolent and
lethal assurance that only the most
reckless man would have gratuitously
drawn the comparison…”—William
Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom, New
York: Vintage: 1990, 253-254

“four of them and then just two:
Charles-Shreve and Quentin-Henry…”
—William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom,
New York: Vintage: 1990, 267

“two young embattle spirits and the
incontrovertible fact which embattled
them, since neither Henry and Bon,
anymore than Quentin and Shreve,
were the first young men to believe
that wars were sometimes created
for the sole aim of settling youth’s
private difficulties and discontents.”
—William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom,
New York: Vintage: 1990, 269


Was Henry Sutpen queer—for Charles Bon?

Was Henry queer—for his handsome mulatto half-brother?

Was Henry in love with Charles—at Ole Miss?

Was Henry in love with Charles—in New Orleans?

Was Henry in love with Charles—during the War?

Did Eulalia Bon—set Henry Sutpen up?

Did Eulalia Bon send Charles—from New Orleans to Ole Miss?

Did Eulalia send Bon to Ole Miss—to seduce Henry?

Did Eulalia do this knowingly—to get even with Colonel Sutpen?

Did Eulalia send Bon to Mississippi—to seduce Judith Sutpen too?

Did Eulalia do this—to queer the Sutpen Dynasty?

Did Eulalia know exactly—where Sutpen’s Achilles heel was?

Did Colonel Sutpen—know he was being had?

Did Henry kill Charles Bon—because of his sister Judith?

Did Henry kill Bon–because Bon was mulatto?

Did Henry kill Bon—because Bon was Judith’s half-brother?

Did Henry kill Bon—because of race and incest…or something else?

Did Henry kill Bon—because Bon rejected Henry’s love?

After the War—did Charles Bon want to dump Henry?

After the War—did Charles want to go back home?

Back home to New Orleans—his mulatto wife in the Big Easy?

Back to his wife and son—Charles Etienne De Saint Valery Bon?

Did Henry feel betrayed by Bon—like a rejected lover?

Did Charles Bon—really care anymore about the Sutpens?

Did Charles Bon—feel the hatred of his mother Eulalia anymore?

Did Charles Bon—give a damn about the Sutpen Dynasty?

Did Quentin know all this—thru his father and Miss Coldfield?

Did Quentin identify with Henry—locked up in the attic?

Did Quentin see Henry—as the Portrait of Dorian Gray?

Did Quentin feel the same queer feelings—that Henry did?

Did Quentin fight it—like a closet case always does?

Did Quentin hate the South—did he hate himself?

Did Quentin get too much into Southern queerdom?

Did Shreve McCannon push Quentin over the Edge?

Was Quentin queer for Shreve—like Henry for Bon?

Did Quentin fall into a state—of homosexual panic?

Is that why he jumped off the bridge—into the Charles River?

Is this twisted tale of thwarted love—just pulp fiction?

Just a tale of sound and fury—told by an idiot?

Just a Southern Decadent story—signifying nothing?

Just another novel—about tragic Mississippi boylove?

Just a strange fabulation—on incestuous miscegenation?

Just an unreliable narrative—for gullible naïve readers?



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: johnr60 on September 21, 2007, 11:11:23 PM
Of course you and I and anyone paying attention knows that the bullshit refers to your conversion of my line "fallen idol" to "going down".

You've been a challenge for a long time puge and I think I've weathered it well.  I will no longer.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 21, 2007, 11:30:20 PM

This discussion has certainly taken an interesting turn.
It may not be homosexual liaisons being described?
It was all in the mind and POV of the reader? Hmmmmm.



Yes, interesting isn't it?

John has raised an intriguing point...

And that is the reader...as unreliable narrator...

The last time a readers group got into this literary topic
was during the Pale Fire Nabokov discussion with the
NYTimes Readers Group...

1. Vladimir Nabokov's Pale Fire is like Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom.

2. The reader plays an important role as reliable/unreliable narrator.

3. Pale Fire is like a game-text, a jack-in-the-box...depending on where the reader begins.

4. The Poem, the Commentary, the Index and the Preface -- all of it adds ambiguity to both reader and text.

5. The reader reading the text from beginning to end has one interpretation.

6. The reader beginning with the poem and moving back and forth from lines to commentary has another view.

7. I've noticed the same thing with Absalom, Absalom as well as its companion novel TSATF.

8. Both Faulkner novels and Nabokov's Pale Fire have multiple reliable/unreliable narrators.

9. Plus the reader himself/herself must be considered in the narrative strategy of these two masters...

10. To me this is the richness of Literature that makes life worth living...


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 21, 2007, 11:50:59 PM
Two other interesting passages:

Page 77 (Vintage)  "In fact, perhaps this is the pure and perfect incest:  the brother realising that the sister's virginity must be destroyed in order to have existed at all, taking that virginity in the person of the brother-in-law, the man whom he would be if he could become, metamorphose into, the lover, the husband; by whom he would be despoiled, choose for despoiler, if he could become, metamorphose into the sister, the mistress, the bride."

Page 95 (Vintage)  (Bon)"could not have wanted Judith without Henry since he must never have doubted but what he could marry Judith when he wished, in spite of brother and father both, because as I said before, it was not Judith who was the object of Bon's love or of Henry's solicitude.  She was just the blank shape, the empty vessel in which each of them strove to preserve, not the illusion of himself nor his illusion of the other but what each conceived the other to believer him to be--the man and the youth, seducer and seduced, who had known one another, seduced and been seduced, victimised in turn each by the other, conqueror vanquished by his own strength, vanquished conquering by his own weakness, before Judith came into their joint lives even by so much as girlname."


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 22, 2007, 12:27:49 AM

"...the man and the youth, seducer and seduced,
who had known one another, seduced and been
seduced, victimised in turn each by the other,
conqueror vanquished by his own strength,
vanquished conquering by his own weakness..."



Love and betrayal...

The love of two young men for each other...

Ole Miss college roommates...

Both exiled from a family dynasty...

Then the doppelganger dialog...

Quentin/Shreve reenacting at Harvard...

What Henry/Charles went thru earlier...

Ending at the gates of Sutpen's Hundred...

A doomed Mississippi plantation...

Ending at that bridge over the Charles River...

A doomed Harvard freshman...

Absalom, Absalom taking up...

Where The Sound and Fury ends...

Revisiting the troubled Southern heart...

Family, love and human bondage...


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: rmdig on September 22, 2007, 10:22:38 AM
While I share johnr's impatience with puget's homosexual hobbyhorse, Absalom, Absalom! does seem to have a lot to do with puberty and adolescence, particularly the stunted varieties.  Notice for instance that Rosa Coldfield is described early on as sitting in a chair and that her legs don't reach the floor -- a childhood image if there ever was one, and yet this is an old woman.  Add to this the fact that so many young people figure prominently in the story -- more it seems to me than in any other Faulkner novel I can think of with the exception perhaps of The Sound and the Fury, which is surely a companion piece.  As a result it might not be a stretch to argue that stunted sexuality is part of Faulkner's allegory of the ruined south, that in fact it is a key element in his historical equation.  An allegorical reading might be that the south of Absalom, Absalom! is a kind of runied arcadia where virtue has been replaced by . . . what exactly, depravity?


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: johnr60 on September 22, 2007, 11:45:20 AM


"The time frame for Faulkner's writing of the novels? or regarding Quentin?"

My often faulty memory says that Faulkner wrote AA, was unsatisfied with it and put it aside fpr a few years before completing it

How do you make that quote thing work for only a portion of the post?


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 22, 2007, 11:55:39 AM
John...I didn't know that AA was written first, published later.  I wonder why Faulkner didn't edit to carry through the emotions Quentin had for his sister in Quentin's narration of Henry's story.  There are parallels between Henry and Quentin and their feelings for their sisters.  Interesting, too, that Henry and Quentin both have weak mothers and strong sisters. 

The quote thing....I copy the part I want to quote, then press "insert quote" (second from left on the bottom of the doodads above), then paste.  You can also press "quote" over the post you want to reply to and then just delete the stuff you don't want to quote in your reply.

Have to go out to a family wedding, so won't be looking in here until sometime tomorrow.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 22, 2007, 04:56:45 PM
(http://images.tribe.net/tribe/upload/photo/ea3/057/ea3057a6-f0f6-4b8d-931d-4e658c685951)

Notes on Absalom, Absalom


While I share johnr's impatience with puget's homosexual hobbyhorse,
Absalom, Absalom! does seem to have a lot to do with puberty
and adolescence, particularly the stunted varieties.  An allegorical
reading might be that the south of Absalom, Absalom! is a kind
of runied arcadia where virtue has been replaced by . . .
what exactly, depravity?


Please forgive me—thank you both for your patience.

The thing is this—I live in a ruined Arcadia.

My life has an apocryphal spin to it—parallel with Absalom, Absalom. Adolescence, feelings of shame and guilt, growing-up gay in the Deep South, struggles with who I was, doubts about who I am, feelings of disgust and self-loathing plus that portrait in the attic—all these things that go into my depraved homosexual Other existence—scuttling like a rat in the wainscoting or up there going bump in the Night…

My adolescence at LSU—back then in the Sixties. Everything I was then—and everything I am now. All of it connected with Quentin—and the struggles he was going thru in Absalom, Absalom…as well as The Sound and the Fury…

Let’s see if I can wrap my storytelling “word-hoard” around it again—what it means to be an Adolescent? To tell the story again—not as hoity-toity Euro-trash bildungsroman. But as an American boy would tell it…a boy who never grew up. A boy tortured by all the self-doubts and self-loathing that Quentin went thru—both Quentin Compson and his antebellum double Henry Sutpen…

Once upon a time—isn’t that how it goes? There’s this Fiction thing—this before/after thing that happens—whenever you’re a member of the side that Lost. History is a story told by the Winners dontchaknow—and Winners never lie. The New South and the Old South. The South we have today—the antebellum South with its weirding ways. As well as the South in-between—the South of the Great Depression. As well as the Huey P. South—the South I knew.

Speaking of Depression—well, it’s nothing new to me. The antebellum South, the War Between the States, the Depression, the New South—it’s still the South. And the South is like a boy lost in the ruins of Arcadia—a boy who never grew up—a boy who didn’t have the chance to grow up—a boy still consumed with delayed Adolescence…

It’s like JFK—and the dream of Camelot. The breaking of the back of the American Century—way back then in the mid-century of my baby-boomer days. The nationhood—the lost Arcadia of Camelot… It’s like the ghost of Huey P. Long—still haunting the LSU campus. There in the Greek Ampitheater—Spanish moss hanging down from gnarled old magnolias. The young Huey P. Long—sitting there next to me. Telling me his plans—while the football crowds cheered in the stadium. And I marched in my ROTC uniform—fearing death in the jungles of Asia.

It’s like MLK—and the Harlem Renaissance. How many dreams deferred—they’re a dime a dozen.

Lost Arcadias of the Imagination—what does one do with such dreams? What does one do with one’s troubled heart—when the last ding-dong happens and that’s the End? Isn’t that the question William Faulkner asked himself—and the distinguished audience at the Nobel Prize ceremony? His speech then—this little Count ‘No’ Count man standing there uncomfortably all duded up in a suit. Standing there at a podium—the last place in the world he wanted to be. His speech about courage—and struggling with the human heart in conflict with itself. Surely not the thing for a little fag freshman like me to ask of myself—either back then or now? One never graduates from such questions—no graduate school can tell you why. I wake in the morning each day—and I’m back in Kindergarten….

Have you heard it?  Faulkner’s Nobel speech? It’s just as stunning as Sylvia Plath—reading “Daddy” that cold winter night on the BBC. When writers speak this way—it chokes a guy up—makes a guy stop and think. Just like Absalom, Absalom did to me—back in 1963. Back before the civil right movement stormed the Southern universities. Back before Stonewall—stormed the straight citadels of what was then politically correct Academe. Before the anti-war movement stormed the gates of power—just like what happened at the gates of Sutpen’s Hundred…

There are these invisible points of no-return in our lives. They come to us out of the blue—we’re there without even knowing how we got there. We don’t see it coming—because we’re so caught up with things. Wars, raising cotton, breeding horses—being men like Sutpen. Men who had dreams—big dreams, little dreams. Dreams deferred—dynasties done in by their sons and daughters…

Into this milieu, my dears—yours truly meandered his bumbling way. Into Allen Hall on the LSU campus—where books were discussed and English professors opined. It was there 40 years ago—that I was required to read Faulkner in my English class. It was a dark and stormy night—a long tortuous fall semester with that troublesome moody man from Mississippi. No Cliff Notes could spare me—because I was Quentin reading about Quentin dontchaknow…

Yes, I was Quentin Compson—down to the last little jump. Except the Mississippi Bridge was much too high for me to jump off—much higher than that one over the Charles River. Besides…I wasn’t a Harvard man. I really wasn’t college-material. My father didn’t sell the south forty to get me thru school—I slowly meandered and worked my way thru it. I was in no hurry—I liked dorm life. Like Henry and Bon at Ole Miss—like Quentin and Shreve. Dorm life has its ups and downs—it’s an Education all in itself as many of you know…

There I was—in the heart of the Deep South with all that bad karma of human ownership and skanky blaxploitation. There in humid clammy Louisiana—pretending I was Norma Desmond by the Huey P. Long Fieldhouse decaying old art deco pool. The potted palms rotting on the balcony—the Spanish Revival stucco and red-tiles decaying away as surely as I was. I might as well have been Charles Bon or his son Charles Etienne De Saint Valery. Because surely no kid on campus was as much enslaved as I was—to my own decadent desires and adolescent enslaved heart. Worse than Henry Sutpen—worse than Quentin Compson. I was there—as surely as I am now.

Shreve had it all wrong—I didn’t hate the South. The South hated me—at least as far as my lifestyle was concerned. That I fell in love with a young handsome black editor of The Delta—only made it worse like it did for Henry Sutpen. Poor Henry—falling in love with his goodlooking mulatto half-brother Bon. Terrorized by his fascist-prick father—poor doomed Colonel Sutpen. Caught up in an incestuous ménage-a-trois—with his sister Judith and the whole Dynasty thing. Poor Shreve—with his Dynasty thing too. What a Canadian dummy—with his dynasty of young African kings. Yet maybe he was right—look around at all the hip-hop ghetto princes and LA bad daddy-boys. Ice Cube, Cuba Gooding, Tyrese Gibson, Snoop Dog—aren’t these the young African kings and princes that Shreve / Faulkner was predicting?

So here somewhat flummoxed and dumbfounded like Reader and other readers—like Hoffman lost in a new Pan’s Labyrinth? Lost in this labyrinth of long stream of consciousness Faulknerian sentences—that seem to go on forever and ever—hinting here and there about this and that—like what I was going thru back then—what I’m going thru now—what antebellum Southern youth went thru—those postwar lost Arcadian dreams still haunting how many generations—and there I was like Quentin—with my own series of dormitory boyfriends and lovers—all of us just as insistent as Quentin and Shreve—wanting to know and yet not wanting to know—who we were and where they were going—as we descended down into hell as surely as Euboeleus with his swine—along with Pluto and Persephone—the beast with two backs—blurring in the waves and winking oars going down—did I love Dalton Ames—did I love Charles Bon—


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on September 22, 2007, 07:03:05 PM
Puget,

If you don't mind my asking, if you went through such angst at the end of adolescence, why did you subsequently marry - more than once, and have a child? What did you expect out of a wife and marriage? What plans did you have for raising a daughter?



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 22, 2007, 08:22:19 PM
(http://images.tribe.net/tribe/upload/photo/e57/5d7/e575d795-5896-463e-820d-0e5d444e5c93)

Puget,

If you don't mind my asking...



My dearest Weezo,

Any fool can have kids...and get married.

Even me... the lowliest of the low...

But being in love...and staying love, well,

that my dear is another story as I'm sure

you already know...
    :)








Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 22, 2007, 08:25:15 PM
(http://images.tribe.net/tribe/upload/photo/ea3/057/ea3057a6-f0f6-4b8d-931d-4e658c685951)

Notes on Faulkner’s Muse

“And that Benjy must never
grow beyond this moment…”
—William Faulkner, Introduction
to TSATF, ed. David Minter,
New York: Norton Critical Edition,
1994, 230


What is storytelling?
What do storytellers do—when they tell stories?

Do even they know—when storytelling begins?
Did Faulkner know—when he started TSATF?

What did he know—he says he didn’t know nothin’?
Other than Caddy—and Caddy’s dirty drawers…

He says he was depressed—his fourth novel rejected.
He says he just gave up—and just sat there.

Just sat there—and wrote for himself.
Not the New York publishers anymore—not for them.

He says it was freedom—freedom is what he wanted.
Freedom to write what he wanted to write…

What did he want to write—what did he want to write?
There was all that backlog of Literature—going to waste.

Then it all came back to him—as if all he’d read was new again.
Everything became lucid to him—page by page by page…

Knowing while he wrote—that I was doing the writing…
Knowing that it would never happen again…

Even tho he’d try to revisit the storytelling again…
This lucidity of the moment—that was his muse…

He didn’t know what he was doing—that’s what he says…
Sitting there in the Mississippi night…

Yoknapatawpha looming down over him…
Writing the old fashioned way—longhand in the heat…

The wisteria and bougainvillea moment…
The stifling honeysuckle memories and defeats…

Sipping a jar of corn—feeling the buzz…
Feeling his way back—back into apocryphal time…

The storyteller’s cloak and mantle…
The laurel-leaved wreath of ancient Rome again…

Descending onto a great-grandson’s head…
The way it’s always been done…

The need to talk and tell the story…
Since oratory is our heritage…

Art having no place in Southern life…
Only storytelling exists…

Telling the story on the verandah at night…
The savage indictment of the contemporary scene…

Telling the story perhaps to escape the now…
To lose ourselves in some make-believe story…

Stories of swords and magnolias and mockingbirds…
Savage stories of bitter incest and betrayed love…

Violent partisanships—and what could have been…
Violent rages and fears and frustrations….

Calm cool Northern intellects don’t understand…
Southern writers don’t write for fun and pleasure…

They write for sound and useless fury and the moment…
Writing is something you do—when there’s nothing else to lose…

That’s what Faulkner said—after his first three novels…
It was a time of progressively decreasing ease and pleasure…

It wasn’t rewarding anymore—no longer an emolument…
When he began TSATF—he had no plan at all…

He said he wasn’t even writing a book…
After three years of rejection slips and fading hope…

He simply stopped writing…for everybody else…
“Now I can write—now I can just write.”

That’s where I came in—I am Benjy…
I was Benjy—the child-idiot…

I lived in the Moment—it was all I knew…
I was crying—thinking Caddy had been hurt…

Caddy and my two brothers—down by the creek…
Water-fighting like kids do—Caddy, Quentin, Jason and me…

I thought she was hurt—splashing in the creek…
Wrestling with the boys—her muddy drawers…

Caddy reaching down and comforting me…
I who lived alone in the Moment—never to know Time…

I would never grow beyond that Moment…
I’d never be swept up in dishonor or shame…

All I knew or would ever know—was my love for Caddy…
I would never grow up—to know what my brothers knew…

The bereavements smoothed over and covered with age…
The alleviation of rage by hate and money like Jason…

The oblivion that would be Quentin’s way…
All I knew or would ever know was the Now…

The fierce panting Now whose only relief was…
Caddy my sister pausing and stooping over me…

Smelling like the wisteria honeysuckle magnolia night…
Caddy was my Angel—up in that ancient pear tree…

Gazing into that bedroom of death and family despair…
With her mud-stained drawers—symbolizing shame…

The doomed little girl—seeing into our crumbling future…
That’s how it began—four kids and a water-fight…

That’s the first chapter—of the book that was…
“Then the story was complete, finished…”

Dark House—ruined chimney, gaunt, patient, gone…
I am Benjy—eyeless and voiceless in the night…

I’m already in Dis—incognito disenchanted helpless…
All I know is how to grope and suffer…

I’m nothing but mindless agony—under the Midnight Sun…
All I know is Caddy—who smells like trees…

And the sound of the golf links---in the hot afternoon…
The story’s all there—Faulkner created me…

But he wasn’t satisfied—he never was…
He wrote three more chapters—retelling it again…

After all I was his Muse—I was the Boy of the lost moment…
I taught Faulkner how to write and read again…

I taught him what he’d already read—like a summer storm…
The rolling thunder—that was Flaubert, Conrad, Turgeniev…

The fatal repercussions—of finally understanding them…
Then the joy, surprise and eager anticipation…

That my Moment gave him…
The writing of me—I was the Benjy section…

 I gave him the power—to flow within that Moment…
I should know—the Moment is my home…

That was my gift to him—
My gift of the Moment—me his child-idiot Muse…

The Unreluctance to begin once again—writing his socks off…
The Unvanquished moment—the point of no return…

Fast enough to turn—and stop on a dime…
Sad and sleek—as the light of August…

I held his pen—as he scribbled on the blank paper…
I held it tight—inviolate and unfailing…

Leaving Faulkner with the cold satisfaction…
A new novel—Fata viam invenient…

And like the old Roman—with his Tyrrhenian vase…
Faulkner would go back again and again…

To that moment—wearing the rim down to nothing…
Writing other novels—trying to recapture that Moment…

Revisiting tragic Quentin again—there at Harvard…
Revisiting the moment—with Popeye and Temple Drake…

Even there in Hollywood—hog-hunting on Catalina Island…
With Nathanael West—Miss Lonely Heart herself…

As the day of locusts—descended over America…
Faulkner living there in his faux-plantation mansion…

Letting Yoknapatawpha—become the Moment…
But he knew and I knew—it was useless…

I’d never return—the Moment was gone…
Benjy was bye-bye—avant la letter…

The boy muse was gone…
back into the moment again...


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 22, 2007, 09:11:15 PM

I wonder why Faulkner didn't edit to carry through
the emotions Quentin had for his sister in Quentin's
narration of Henry's story. 



Question: "As you read Absalom, Absalom, how much
can a reader feel that this is the Quentin, the same
Quentin, who appeard in The Sound and the Fury...
that is, a man thinking about his own Compson family,
his own sister?"

Answer: "To me he's consistent. That he approadched
the Sutpen family with the same ophthalmia that he
approached his own troubles, that he probably never
saw anything very clearly, that his was just one of
the thirteen ways to look at Sutpen, and his may
have been the...one most erroneous. Probably his
friend McCannon had a much truer picture of Sutpen
from what Quentin told him than Quentin himself did."

-- William Faulkner, Faulkner in the University,
ed. Frederick Gwynn and Joseph Blotner,
Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia,
1995, pages 293-274




Both Quentin and Henry, as you say, had strong
sisters and weak mothers. Which makes them both
vulnerable and at the same time strong.

As you may recall, it's Henry's other sister,
Clytemnestra or "Clytie" who anchors the doomed
dysfunctional family by keeping Sutpen's Hundred
going during the War, who goes down to New Orleans
with Judith to fetch Charles Etienne back home from
the streets of the Big Easy. It's Clytie who nurses
both Judith and Etienne during a yellow fever outbreak
and it's Clytie who raises Jim Bond, Etienne's
retarded son. It's also Clytie who takes in Henry after
40 years and takes care of him in the attic of the
family mansion. Where, of course, Quentin with the
help of Miss Coldfied discovers what's hiding in the
attic...

So, yes, Henry had two strong sisters; too bad
Quentin didn't. Caddy wasn't there to help him; and
Quentin's father had already pretty much given up.
Personally I think all families are dysfunction in one
way or another. But usually there's a mainstay in
all families...somebody that keeps things going.
My parents were divorced and my two grandmothers
took over. One a GAR queen bee with a father in
the union army; the other a single-room country
schoolhouse teacher who went on to be a county
commissioner of schools; that position is gone
now, since the demographics have changed and
schools are in towns and cities now. Both ladies
tho were like Eleanor Roosevelt...which was good
for me growing up back then...  :)



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on September 22, 2007, 11:52:24 PM
Puget,

I know that making a marriage last takes work. Love is something you need to keep fresh and renewed all the time, through good times and bad, in sickness and in health.

Having a child is the easy part. Raising them well is what takes skill and application.

But, you didn't answer my question about what you expected of your wife and yourself in a marriage? It is, as you have learned the hard way, not a magic pill to maturity or responsibility.



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 23, 2007, 12:08:40 AM

But, you didn't answer my question about what you expected of your wife and yourself in a marriage?


Happiness.  :)  :-X


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 23, 2007, 09:11:49 AM
http://forums.escapefromelba.com/index.php/topic,112.msg33121.html#msg33121


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on September 23, 2007, 09:33:03 AM
Puget,

I apologize for probing. You fascinate me, in a strange way. Of course, you were seeking happiness, but happiness in marriage is never a given. Even successful marriages are not always eternally happy. As I said, it is something you have to work towards. It doesn't just happen.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 23, 2007, 12:18:01 PM
"Happiness" as a concept and as viewed in contemporary society, is overrated and misunderstood.  I've always thought that Tolstoy got it backwards in his famous: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 23, 2007, 07:42:08 PM
“I'm no good at being noble, but it doesn't
take much to see that the problems of three
little people don't amount to a hill of beans in
this crazy world. Someday you'll understand
that. Now, now... Here's looking at you kid.”
—Rick, Casablanca


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on September 23, 2007, 10:35:56 PM
Puget,

Ah, now that is a MOVIE!


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 24, 2007, 12:15:04 PM
(http://bp2.blogger.com/_dsy55WXIQhc/RtkY4aACPGI/AAAAAAAAAzI/ukoDJoPXYFQ/s1600/Get%2Bur%2Bpantz%2Bon%2B02.jpg)

Snapshot of Icarus Falling to Earth
—for Hoffman

As he fell downward—
Young Quentin finally stopped
The temporal flow…



hmmmmm...Now how did you know I would like this?   :)


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 24, 2007, 12:26:22 PM
(http://bp2.blogger.com/_dsy55WXIQhc/RtkY4aACPGI/AAAAAAAAAzI/ukoDJoPXYFQ/s1600/Get%2Bur%2Bpantz%2Bon%2B02.jpg)

Snapshot of Icarus Falling to Earth
—for Hoffman

As he fell downward—
Young Quentin finally stopped
The temporal flow…



hmmmmm...Now how did you know I would like this?   :)



Telepathy, my dear?

BTW is the Harvard pic up?

I'll repost it if it ain't...

Combining haiku with snapshots...

I thought you might like it...

...for a change from my Faulknerian mouth...  :)

Ready for Pan's Labyrinth over in Movie Club?

Let's have some fun...





Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 24, 2007, 12:49:48 PM
(http://www.usm.maine.edu/eng/bruegel%20icarus.JPG)

(Perhaps my favorite work of art)

Icarus Henry
sleeps soundly in the fire while
Quentin takes the fall.

Haunted by dreams and
the ghost of a secret self
Water answers all.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 24, 2007, 01:04:53 PM
(http://www.usm.maine.edu/eng/bruegel%20icarus.JPG)

Quentin takes the fall--
And so do I when I go...
Down on Dalton Ames

Caddy was jealous--
But Dalton said give Quentin
Some of the action...


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 24, 2007, 01:19:09 PM
(http://www.usm.maine.edu/eng/bruegel%20icarus.JPG)

I wake up each day—
In the city and bright lights
falling falling down...

I'm falling so fast—
Nobody seems to notice
That I'm Icarus...


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 24, 2007, 03:46:49 PM
What Brughel and Ovid (and maybe Faulkner) got:

The fisherman on
the pier wouldn’t have dared to
gaze into the sun

while the ploughman stopped
for lunch and hoped  for golden
days….no one looked up.

Pursuing life, none
Saw Icarus fall, none grasped
The true weight of death.

All approached life with
a base mundanity that
belied its meaning.



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 24, 2007, 04:04:00 PM
Very good, Hoffman.

That was my reaction to the painting...
nobody noticed Icarus at all...

Thanks for the haiku-time out. It's
good to get away from Faulknerian
endless sentences etc. Very rich
like pecan pie. A very good book
discussion I thought. I'll be reading
As I Lie Dying next probably
like you are.



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 24, 2007, 09:09:22 PM
Pugetopolis....still missing several photos, Harvard snapshot, shapshots of Benji, Virgil and Charles Etienne....maybe it's my computer.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 24, 2007, 10:11:38 PM
(http://images.tribe.net/tribe/upload/photo/e4d/7d9/e4d7d9e6-eef7-42fb-838d-c3982cd3a172)


A Harvard Snapshot

Shreve and Quentin back—
When they were young and foolish
Channeling Henry…


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 24, 2007, 10:13:59 PM
(http://images.tribe.net/tribe/upload/photo/c5d/ebd/c5debd0f-531d-4288-acc2-caacdf91539e)

A New Orleans Snapshot

In the French Quarter—
Bon thinking how he will do
Henry Sutpen in…


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 24, 2007, 10:17:04 PM
(http://images.tribe.net/tribe/upload/photo/6b8/3e6/6b83e699-f61e-471c-858f-414a338a35ad)

A Snapshot of Quentin Compson

After Dalton Ames—
Made Quentin faint in his arms
Down under the bridge…


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 24, 2007, 10:19:23 PM
(http://www.erasofelegance.com/arts/architecture/houmas.jpg)

A Snapshot of Sutpen’s Hundred

Henry and Judith—
Hid from Colonel Sutpen’s rage
In their mother’s room…


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 24, 2007, 10:22:28 PM
(http://images.tribe.net/tribe/upload/photo/188/509/1885092d-806f-4713-a52b-a663a29c45dd)

Snapshot of Icarus Falling to Earth
—for Hoffman

As he fell downward—
Young Quentin finally stopped
The temporal flow…


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 24, 2007, 10:24:59 PM
(http://images.tribe.net/tribe/upload/photo/ed1/e0f/ed1e0fab-de8d-43e6-949d-cabd2b85edac)

Snapshot of Charles Etienne St. Valery Bon

Looks like his father—
Goodlooking black Creole kid
No wonder Judith…


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 24, 2007, 10:27:04 PM
(http://images.tribe.net/tribe/upload/photo/041/aca/041aca9b-a36a-45a9-bbbd-ce6d87664b48)

Snapshot of Virgil Snopes

Miss Reba’s whorehouse—
Had lots going on besides
Temple and Popeye…


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 24, 2007, 10:33:46 PM
(http://images.tribe.net/tribe/upload/photo/929/ea5/929ea5af-481f-49f1-a7c2-4523fe5110d5)

Snapshot of Benjy Compson

Young Benjy wonders—
How the moments come & go
Lost arcadia…


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 24, 2007, 11:21:09 PM
(http://images.tribe.net/tribe/upload/photo/dca/840/dca840fc-effd-45f1-8d39-17c4fe46ae96)

Snapshot of Roth (Carothers) Edmonds

Mississippi kid—
Riding the bus to campus
Reading Delta Autumn…


“Reading the new Faulkner is like taking what carnival people call a "dark-ride": one of those slow Tunnels of Love which alternate blank darkness with suddenly illuminated views of dancing skeletons or Swiss lakes. Go Down, Moses is a dark-ride well worth taking. Stretches of it are blank enough; but some of the views beat those of any other U.S. writer. In Delta Autumn, Ike, in his late 70s, comes again, perhaps for the last time, 200 miles from Jefferson, down through the slowly peeling palimpsest of civilization and of his memory to what little is left of true wilderness, cramped in the deep inverted apex of the Delta…”

—Time, “Go Down Moses—Dark-Ride Through Dawn,” May 11, 1942


http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,790445,00.html?promoid=googlep



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 25, 2007, 12:19:03 AM
(http://images.tribe.net/tribe/upload/photo/dca/840/dca840fc-effd-45f1-8d39-17c4fe46ae96)

Snapshot of Roth (Carothers) Edmonds

Handsome and ruthless—
Saturnine staring ahead
Rain on the windshield…

“Poetically rather than rationally, Faulkner manages to bulldoze the reader into believing that the South is indeed accursed, but he is never very clear why or how. On mix-ups of money and genealogy he constructs passages as intricate but not as rewarding as a five-voiced fugue.”

—Time, “Go Down Moses—Dark-Ride Through Dawn,” May 11, 1942

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,790445,00.html?promoid=googlep




Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 25, 2007, 01:06:08 AM
(http://images.tribe.net/tribe/upload/photo/dca/840/dca840fc-effd-45f1-8d39-17c4fe46ae96)

Snapshot of Roth (Carothers) Edmonds

The sound of the rain—
He wanted to forget her
His delta girlfriend…

“The book is made up of seven stories. They are about the same set of people: Mississippi planters and Negroes and their descendants; and have a common theme: the land. A linked theme is that of blood and its heritage. Negro-white miscegenation pads through the pages like a housecat, and the presence of Indians makes a sort of bottomless pit into the past..”

—Time, “Go Down Moses—Dark-Ride Through Dawn,” May 11, 1942

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,790445,00.html?promoid=googlep




Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 25, 2007, 01:13:15 AM
(http://images.tribe.net/tribe/upload/photo/dca/840/dca840fc-effd-45f1-8d39-17c4fe46ae96)

Snapshot of Roth (Carothers) Edmonds

Roth rejected her—
Because she was mulatto
Pretty, almost white…

“Faulkner knows his own country as few men do. His details of farming, hunting and folkways are as tangible as rusty nails and as tough as legal writ. There are magnificent flashes of a dirt lane which runs "pale and dim beneath the moonless sky of corn-planting time"; of a rattlesnake's "thin sick smell of rotting cucumbers"; of some moving, semiliterate pages from an old plantation ledger.”

—Time, “Go Down Moses—Dark-Ride Through Dawn,” May 11, 1942

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,790445,00.html?promoid=googlep



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 25, 2007, 01:22:18 AM
(http://images.tribe.net/tribe/upload/photo/dca/840/dca840fc-effd-45f1-8d39-17c4fe46ae96)

Snapshot of Roth (Carothers) Edmonds

It was her brother—
Young handsome and almost white
Delta rain coming down…

“"Percavil Brownly 26yr Old. cleark @ Bookepper. bought from N. B. Forest at Cold Water 3 Mar 1856 $265. dolars "and beneath that, in the same hand "5 mar 1856 No bookepper any way Cant read. Can write his Name but I al ready put that down My self Says he can Plough but dont look like it to Me. sent to Feild to day Mar 5 1856".”

—Time, “Go Down Moses—Dark-Ride Through Dawn,” May 11, 1942

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,790445,00.html?promoid=googlep


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 25, 2007, 01:28:18 AM
(http://images.tribe.net/tribe/upload/photo/dca/840/dca840fc-effd-45f1-8d39-17c4fe46ae96)

Snapshot of Roth (Carothers) Edmonds

Marry a black man—
This Delta gonna queer me
He said to himself…

“"Faulkner is perhaps the most gifted of living U.S. writers. He can be as funny as Mark Twain, as exalted as Melville, as solid as Joyce and as dull as Dreiser; but he has never done a book which has the sure, sound permanence of any of these men…”

—Time, “Go Down Moses—Dark-Ride Through Dawn,” May 11, 1942

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,790445,00.html?promoid=googlep


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 25, 2007, 01:37:45 AM
(http://images.tribe.net/tribe/upload/photo/dca/840/dca840fc-effd-45f1-8d39-17c4fe46ae96)

Snapshot of Roth (Carothers) Edmonds

Roth couldn’t help it—
Being an Ole Miss freshman
Doing the down-low…

"Go Down, Moses, like most of Faulkner, is brilliant and uneven. Its special value is its evocative (though local) exploration of the U.S. national source and dawn. In it is a sometimes merely yeasty, sometimes 100-proof sense of those powers and mysteries of land and the people on it which make a nation.…”

—Time, “Go Down Moses—Dark-Ride Through Dawn,” May 11, 1942

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,790445,00.html?promoid=googlep




Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 25, 2007, 04:09:51 AM
(http://images.tribe.net/tribe/upload/photo/dca/840/dca840fc-effd-45f1-8d39-17c4fe46ae96)

Snapshot of Roth (Carothers) Edmonds

Delta Bourbon kid—
The great-great grandson of
The first McCaslin…

Lucius Quintius
Carothers McCaslin—
Yoknapatawpha USA…

Plantation baron—
Captivity narratives
Blaxploitation sex…

Old Man Carothers—
Mulatto shadow family
Pure perfect incest…

Three hundred miles down—
To slave capitol New Orleans
His Thucydus mistress…

Old Man Carothers—
Fathers a love-child daughter
Then makes love to her too…

That’s how bad it got—
Incestuous Negro romance
Running thru Roth’s blood…

Roth could feel it bad—
His badboy Carothers dick
His grandfather’s sins…

Mandingo boy blue—
All that miscegenation
All that love-child sex…

That’s why Roth did it—
Going down on his boyfriend
White boys turned him on…

The more white boy love—
The whiter inside he’d get
Erasing the dinge…

Roth Carothers tried—
But nothing could erase it
His black ten inches…

"Negro-white miscegenation pads through the pages like a housecat..…”

—Time, “Go Down Moses—Dark-Ride Through Dawn,” May 11, 1942

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,790445,00.html?promoid=googlep




Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 25, 2007, 07:14:36 PM
You left out the "Indians" whose presence "makes a sort of bottomless pit into the past."

Have you decided to read this next?  JohnR has commented that "The Bear" is Faulkner's best, and I believe Go Down Moses  is Reader's favorite, too.



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 25, 2007, 07:28:45 PM
I'd enjoy re-reading The Sound and the Fury now that I kinda sorta know what's going on.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: desdemona222b on September 25, 2007, 08:16:07 PM
Why is he so in tune with nature?  Or is it merely olfaction that activates his observations, his recognitions, his memory triggers?  He is especially interested in leaves and trees.  The dryness in what he tends to see mirrors the dryness in what Quentin observes in AA.  Why is that?  A comment on the draining of the lifeblood of the South?  More than that, I think.

Benjy is a hopeless retardate whose thought processes are so primitive that he relies primarily on sensations to rule his sense of things, although he is intelligent enough to know who people are.  Obviously he witnesses the deflowering of Miss Compson, if not directly, at the very least by noticing her passing and her peculiar smell...(like trees.)  A case can certainly be made for the idiot boy of a fine old southern family being a metaphor for the decaying South...even the women are losing  their chastity and refusing their pedestals.

For more information on the Compson family, refer to The Portable Faulkner, which features, among other things, The Bear and other delights.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: johnr60 on September 25, 2007, 08:19:54 PM
"Why is he so in tune with nature?" 

You're kidding, right?  After suffering those 700 Campbell pages? 

I dont know who said this:

"Holistic, simultaneous, non-separative perception is for us a very difficult proposition. It is involved in spiritual or religious perception. It is the opposite of the logical, sequential, objectified and difference-based mode of perception which we revere as the hallmark of civilized and scientific thought."

It's been a long time, but Ben is as not intellectual as you can get and still relate it in stream of consciousness.  As such he is more identified with nature, as the intellect, the principle of separateness, sees nature as other.



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: desdemona222b on September 25, 2007, 08:23:07 PM
There is a third novel relevant to the Compson chronicle, isn't there?  Anyone know the title?

The short story That Evening Sun features the Compson family when Quentin and his siblings were children.  If I recall correctly, that story is also in The Portable Faulkner.  (Why is it sometimes you can punctuate and sometimes you can't) and for what it's worth, it's my favorite Faulkner short story.  It is bizarre and shocking and pathetic - a must-read for Faulkner lovers.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 25, 2007, 09:40:55 PM
(http://images.tribe.net/tribe/upload/photo/929/ea5/929ea5af-481f-49f1-a7c2-4523fe5110d5)

Snapshot of Benjy

Benjy is Faulkner—
Living in the now-moment
With his Delta muse…

“After five years I look back at The Sound and The Fury and see that that was the turning point… When I began the book, I had no plan at all. I wasn’t even writing a book. Previous to it I had written three novels, with progressively decreasing ease and pleasure, and reward or emolument. The third one was shopped about for three years during which I sent it from publisher to publisher with a kind of stubborn and fading hope of at least justifying the paper I had used and the time I had spent writing it. This hope must have died at last, because one day it suddenly seemed as if a door had clapped silently and forever to between me and all the publishers’ addresses and booklists and I said to myself, Now I can write. Now I can just write. Whereupon I, who had three brothers and no sisters and was destined to lose my first daughter in infancy, began to write about a little girl…”—William Faulkner, “An Introduction to The Sound and the Fury,” TSATF, New York: Norton, 1994, page 230.



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 25, 2007, 09:50:58 PM
(http://images.tribe.net/tribe/upload/photo/929/ea5/929ea5af-481f-49f1-a7c2-4523fe5110d5)

Snapshot of Benjy

Benjy is the Now—
Living in the now-moment
He never grows up…

“And that Benjy must never grow beyond this moment; that for him all knowing must begin and end with that fierce, panting, paused and stooping wet figure which smelled like trees. That he must never grow up to where the grief of bereavement could be leavened with understanding and hence the alleviation of rage as in the case of Jason, and of oblivion as in the case of Quentin…”—William Faulkner, “An Introduction to The Sound and the Fury,” TSATF, New York: Norton, 1994, page 230.




Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 25, 2007, 10:09:07 PM
Not sure Quentin did such a good job of "alleviating" his rage, nor Jason for that matter.  The Compsons are one strange family.  You can't really blame Caddie for wanting to get out of there.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 25, 2007, 10:14:06 PM
(http://images.tribe.net/tribe/upload/photo/dca/840/dca840fc-effd-45f1-8d39-17c4fe46ae96)

Snapshot of Roth (Carothers) Edmonds

—for Hoffman

Delta dawn boyfriends—
They seem to come and go
The land speaking thru…

Delta autumn days—
Those long Delta autumn nights
Sitting here thinking…

Delta night twilights—
Sitting on the verandah
All my sad regrets…

Wisteria girlfriends—
Bougainvillea boyfriends too
Poor Quentin falling…

Wrickity old wreck—
Over the Tallahatchie
How that old bridge moaned…

Moaned & groaned all night—
Caddy’s horse galloping by
High up overhead…

Dalton pulling me down—
Downward we fell all the way
Thru the Brueghel sky…

I fainted so bad—
Dalton Ames holding me tight
But still I fell down…

Nobody caught me—
Moody Mississippi boy
As I fell homeward…

Down into dark night—
Gone delta autumn boyfriends
Gone delta girls too…


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 25, 2007, 11:03:20 PM
(http://images.tribe.net/tribe/upload/photo/929/ea5/929ea5af-481f-49f1-a7c2-4523fe5110d5)

Snapshot of Benjy
—for Reader

Benjy and the night—
Sitting on the verandah
Icarus boyfriend…

“The story is all there, in the first section as Benjy told it. I did not try deliberately to make it obscure; when I realized that the story might be printed, I took three more sections, all longer than Benjy’s, to try to clarify it. But when I wrote Benjy’s section, I was not writing it to be printed. If I were to do it over now I would do it differently, because the writing of it as it now stands taught me both how to write and how to read, and even more: it taught me what I had already read, because on completing it I discovered, in a series of repercussions like summer thunder, the Flauberts and Conrads and Turgenievs which as much as ten years before I had consumed whole and without assimilating at all, as a moth or a goat might. I have read nothing since; I have not had to. All I have learned but one thing since about writing. That is, that the writing of Benjy’s section of The Sound and the Fury gave me—that ecstasy, that eager and joyous faith and anticipation of surprise which the yet unmarred sheets beneath my hand held inviolate and unfailing—will not return. The Unreluctance to begin, the cold satisfaction in work well and arduously done, is there and will continue to be there as long as I can do it well. But that other will not return. I shall never know it again…”—William Faulkner, “An Introduction to The Sound and the Fury,” TSATF, New York: Norton, 1994, page 230.





Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 25, 2007, 11:29:41 PM
(http://images.tribe.net/tribe/upload/photo/929/ea5/929ea5af-481f-49f1-a7c2-4523fe5110d5)

Snapshot of Benjy
—for Reader and Hoffman

Benjy knows the dark—
Darkness is where it lives
Sash shadow curtain…

“The room went black, except the door. The door went black. Caddy said, “Hush, Maury” putting her hand on me. So I stayed hushed. We could hear us. We could hear the dark.”—William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury,” New York: Norton, 1994, page 48




Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 25, 2007, 11:38:54 PM
(http://images.tribe.net/tribe/upload/photo/929/ea5/929ea5af-481f-49f1-a7c2-4523fe5110d5)

Snapshot of Benjy
—for Reader and Hoffman

Benjy knew nothing—
Benjy knew everything too
Idiot-savant boy…

“Father went to the door and looked at us again. Then the dark came back, and he stood black in the door, and then the door turned black again. Caddy held me and I could hear us all, and the darkness, and something I could smell. And the I could see the windows, where the trees were buzzing. Then the dark began to go in smooth, bright shapes, like it always does, even when Caddy says that I have been asleep…”—William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury,” New York: Norton, 1994, page 48






Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 26, 2007, 12:00:30 AM
(http://images.tribe.net/tribe/upload/photo/6b8/3e6/6b83e699-f61e-471c-858f-414a338a35ad)

A Snapshot of Quentin

Benjy was lucky—
He loved Caddy bad
But not like I did…

“When the shadow of the sash appeared in the curtains it was between seven and eight oclock and then I was in time again…”—William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury,” New York: Norton, 1994, page 48





Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 26, 2007, 12:13:03 AM
(http://images.tribe.net/tribe/upload/photo/6b8/3e6/6b83e699-f61e-471c-858f-414a338a35ad)

A Snapshot of Quentin

Harvard man I ain’t—
New England ain’t Mississippi
I don’t wanna go…

“…I was back in time again, hearing the watch. It was Grandfather’s and when Father gave it to me he said I give you the mausoleum of all hope and desire; it’s rather excruciatingly apt that you will use it to gain the reducto absurdum of all human experience which can fit your individual needs no better than it fitted his or his father’s. I give it to you not that you may remember time, but that you might forget it now and then for a moment and not spend all your breath trying to conquer it. Because no battle is ever won he said. They are not even fought. The field only reveals to man his own folly and despair, and victory is an illusion of philosophers and fools…”—William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury,” New York: Norton, 1994, page 48


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 26, 2007, 05:25:21 AM
Hoffman Reader

I’ve been rereading TSATF again—each time I see something a little different. Like this time Benjy’s now-moment or stream of consciousness or whatever you want to call it. After reading Faulkner’s Introduction in the Norton version—I can see Faulkner becoming Benjy with that first section. The “April Seventh 1928” section written from Benjy’s immediate spontaneous ad lib POV.

I guess that’s what I was doing with the Faulkner haikus—trying to get into that Benjy moment that Faulkner was in. That plus I needed to put some distance between me and Faulkner’s long-sentence style that can seduce you into a labyrinth of illiterate opining that I get into trying to discuss Faulkner discursively. It’s easier and better to stick with my own tight haiku style—and footnoting it like I did with the Times article. Why reinvent the wheel—when the critics have obviously said everything there is to say.   :)

Other than haiku—I’ve posted a couple of hyphenated-Bruce Nugent stream-of-consciousness pieces along Faulkner topic lines. Tonight I did one based on the “Harvard Snapshot” one—letting it expand in the moment slowly and leisurely getting into the Quentin-Shreve thing. I hate hogging the Thread—so I’ll wait and post it later on this week sometime.

If you and the other readers would like to do TSATF—I’d like to do it too. As Reader says—AA was a good warm-up for TSATF.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: desdemona222b on September 26, 2007, 10:44:39 AM
"Why is he so in tune with nature?" 

Look at what Benjy sees.  He hears all the voices of all the characters, but rarely 'comments' on what they look like (except a bit about Caddy) and rarely comments about structures, devices etc.

He focuses on natural observations; leaves, trees, frogs, the ground, shapes.  He identifies and comments on people with natural terms.  "Caddy smelled like trees."  He notices vapors; steam and smoke which while not necessarily natural creations do serve to define nature to an extent.

Ever see a bird blast down the center of a canyon?  The bird helps to define the volume.  The same goes for a trout that sets in the middle depths of a mountain lake, or smoke that rises through the branches of trees, or the smell of something burning as it comes across a field.

[This post, of course, answers not the quoted question, but the question "Why do you think he is so in tune with nature?"  As for the actual question, I don't know -- yet.]


The impression I got was that Benjy's perspective is from the ground, that he is seated much of the time because of his deformity.  Also, consider the possibility that he does not see well or his field of vision is limited, again possibly because of a deformed spine.  I recall a retarded child from my childhood whose mother brought him to church every Sunday....he rocked back and forth constantly and he was blind.  He sat in a hunched position and never raised his head.  I picture something like that when I think of Benjy.

The Compson children, Quentin, Caddy, and Benjy, represent the quintessential decay of the fine old southern family.  Once affluent, and socially prominent, the family has sold off the last parcel of land, Benjy's land, to raise the money for Quentin's fine education at Harvard.  Quentin, the great hope of the Compson family, destroys himself (is this what the old South did as well?) and dashes the family's last hope of revival to its former status and wealth.  Caddy, who should have been the belle of the ball, refuses to conform to southern standards of behavior and gives in to her urge to have sex, then gets pregnant which forces her to escape the South altogether.  (No decent southern woman had  children out of wedlock in those days.)  Benjy, meanwhile, stares out of the fence at the golf course that used to be his land without understanding what has happened. 


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: desdemona222b on September 26, 2007, 10:54:17 AM
And then there is Jason, the antithesis of southern nobility.  He is everything a southern gentleman is not - greedy, rapacious, and brutal.  He has no conscience, no loyalty, no filial affection - he is, above all, vulgar.  Vulgarity is more than just an unpleasant trait among good southern families - it is the single word that determines whether or not a person has any class or social acceptability.  Children in the south are raised from the cradle to abhor vulgarity and to strive in every way to avoid it.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: desdemona222b on September 26, 2007, 12:46:39 PM
desdemona22b,

I agree regarding the ground.  Despite his intellectualism, his unspoken vocabulary, his near genius ability to juxtapose observation with something that isn't judgment but which leads the reader in that direction, despite all these things, he is a kind of, if not kindred with and kin to, Caliban.

Yes!  Great comparison!


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: desdemona222b on September 26, 2007, 12:56:13 PM
And the I could see the windows, where the trees were buzzing.

The forest buzzes too.  In some of them, at certain times of the year, you can't escape it.  The place is full of sound, if not fury.

Cicadas in full summer anywhere in the South.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: desdemona222b on September 26, 2007, 01:00:50 PM
The pace of the text in TSATF is also interesting - it seems to run more rapidly the closer it gets to a milestone event.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 26, 2007, 01:01:24 PM
Benji and the golf course....I believe he spends so much time looking at the golf course because he thinks he will find Caddy there.....and the golfers express his longing for his sister,  "Caddy....."

Sutpen...I think I like Sutpen, too.  There is the image of an ant caught in a maelstrom and he can't figure out where it all went wrong.  All of his morals, values, ethics were formed on the day he was turned away from the big house....he really believed that if he followed the code, he would be successful.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 26, 2007, 01:13:23 PM
I didn't have the sense that Benji was physically deformed from birth....only mentally retarded. 


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 26, 2007, 01:26:12 PM
I saw AA as a meditation on memory and TSATF on time.  Quentin is obsessed with time and clocks, Mr. Compson tells him that time begins only when the clock stops, and for Benji, the only time is now.  Jason is obsessed with a past that fills him with bitterness, his mother lives in the past and what she saw as her glory days.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 26, 2007, 01:29:48 PM
I think Versh carries him everywhere because that way he will go where Versh wants him to.  If he is deformed, it is probably related to his castration.

Greeks on vulgarity....Was this the purpose of the yearly dramatic festivals?  To celebrate and enjoy the vulgarity that is a part of the natural life?


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 26, 2007, 02:26:14 PM
Looking down the line, I think we'll see that

Jason = New South = the Snopes...


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 26, 2007, 02:46:24 PM
Well, my dear Reader,

some of my best friends are...

cute white-trash vulgaris redneck types...

dontchaknow  :)


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: desdemona222b on September 26, 2007, 03:21:46 PM
Now you're bringing to mind vague memories of unanswered questions I had about TSATF, Reader.  My Faulkner books are packed away in a box somewhere - arrggghh.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 26, 2007, 10:06:46 PM
(http://images.tribe.net/tribe/upload/photo/d1a/8e0/d1a8e0c4-6a9a-4eb5-8761-f9124c8db0f3)

Dearest Desdemona—when you’re rummaging around down there in that Atlanta storage unit for your books (sounds kinda like Whiskeypriest doesn’t it?)—do me a little favor won’t you?

If you find a first edition TSATF can I have it? I’ll give you $100 for it. Don’t pay any attention to the ABAA booklists. Hey, why would a TSATF be worth $15,000? Like I’ll even pay the postage!!!


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 27, 2007, 12:09:59 AM
(http://images.tribe.net/tribe/upload/photo/077/cf5/077cf5c8-11cf-4b7f-ad62-a7ab43893085)

Snapshot of Jason

Jason the bad boy—
Like Midnight in the Garden
Of Good and Evil?



______________________


Yul Brynner in TSATF (1959)—give me a break. Anybody would be better than Yul Brynner with his petite wig trying to be Jason the bad boy in Faulkner’s novel. Along with the rest of that tired old cast like Stuart Whitman, Albert Dekker and Ethel Waters. Give me a break—no wonder that movie discouraged any interest I might have had in TSATF back then…

And that crummy Jack Warden—what a lousy two-bit bumbling disappointment. He plays Benjy in this stupid movie version of The Sound and the Fury (1959)—directed by Martin Ritt who also did The Long Hot Summer and some other “Southern” flicks…

Plus all those tacky fake Southern accents—it was just the pits!

Books vs. movies. It’s a real problem for me—in this POMO culture of ours. I read MLA essays—and it’s like all they’re talking about is deconstructing movies. Movies being the postmodern model—for our fragmented tortured lives dontchaknow?

Books are mine—but movie images aren’t. It’s like crummy movie images stick in my impressionable little pea-brain much too long—all those bad Hollywood movies based on good books. It really queered my imagination bad—Jack Warden playing Benjy Compson. How depressing…

IMDB says there’s a new TSATF (2008) coming out—but I don’t have my hopes up. Unless David Duchovny plays Quentin, Brad Pitt plays Benjy, Jude Law plays Jason and Juliette Lewis plays Caddy… Now that would be a movie / filmscript I could really get into...and if I were a young person today that kind of movie might even get me to read the actual book!!!!

Personally, It seems crummy and stereotypical to me—casting lovely and perhaps even goodlooking idiot savants, child idiots and those mentally challenged in such a tacky way. Call me a beauty queen—but surely Hollywood can come up with a better cast than TSATF (1959). All tired and used up—excuse me while I…

Young male beauty does wonders for the complexion—plus it seems to give cineastes like me deep insights into American cinematic literature. I don’t distinguish between film and book / filmscripts anymore. They’re both seamlessly one for me—here inside our POMO culture. That’s my POV anyways…

We’re a youth-consumed culture—they’re the big consumers now. Maybe it’s always been that way—I dunno. But I’ll be the first to admit that I’m into it too. Not only into it—but also it’s the way I now think and read and post stuff on this magic screen. I guess you could call me—a nice little You-Tube Baby Boy…

For example, that “Harvard Snapshot” post awhile back. And the “Jason Snapshot” thingy above. I wanted to do something new. Like revisit the plot—re-think the characters.

“Something that would turn him on”—I’m sure reader is saying to himself. Really though—making Faulkner new. Seeing Shreve and Quentin in a new light—that’s all I want to do. I feel so jaded reading TSATF—for the umteenth time…

So I tweaked the narrative a little bit—looking a little deeper into the dark moody subtext—the pouty young Southern male aesthetic—the gothic decadent world of Benjy, Roth, Jason, Henry, Charles Bon, Eulalia, Colonel Sutpen, Miss Rosa and those other moody troubled denizens of the Deep South Faulkner keeps opining about so much…

Like Roth (Carothers) Edmunds—sitting on that bus. The great-grandson of the first McCaslin—Lucius Quintius Carothers McCaslin. Well, needless to say—he got me going a little bit. Funny how a pic can open up a personality…

I’m certainly no hoity-toity literary critic—but sometimes reading Faulkner things open up like fissures in the Earth—just a little in-between interstices-thing—like during Quentin’s stream of consciousness on page 93 of the “June Second, 1910” section—when Pluto pulls Persephone and all the pigs straight down into hell—a little keyhole opens up in the middle of the narrative with Quentin, Miss Daingerfield and Spoade—suddenly italicized versions of Iago, Othello, Greek mythology and the kitchen sink fall out of the book right into your lap—did I say that?

Sometimes these little in-between interstices in Faulkner’s long rambling writing style are footnoted and commented on—opening up that interstice even more like the Norton edition does—loosening up those almost constipated Faulknerian preoccupations—like “bad blood” and genealogical guilt—like incestuous miscegenation and dynastic doom? Yawn…

I suppose that was okay back in the Thirties—but today like in New Orleans and Seattle there’s a multi-racial milieu that’s very Creole-esque in terms of music, culture and youth. Just the other day I saw this handsome Black Samoan kid at the bus stop—beautiful mocha-chocolate skin, jet-black long hair and cat-like green eyes. I nearly died…

Of course, the history of New Orleans is much older than Mudville—with a rich history of French, Spanish, Creole, black Creole, West Indies, Cajun, Black Cajun cultures intermixed by endless exiles, wars, pirates, hurricanes and everything that goes into the Big Easy…

So I’ve been trying to get back into Faulkner’s now-moment—his modernist experiment beginning with Benjy. I ask myself—is there such a thing as the Southern young male-moment? Can I get into it with MLA homo-hermeneutics? Is there such a thing as POMO male beauty? Is the New South—like the Old South? Was Quentin homesick—for a lost Eden? Was Caddy really Eve—his Fallen Earth Angel?


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 27, 2007, 02:34:30 AM

The predicate myth seems to strike
a chord of sympathy with some. 



Reader

Your perplexing post
Posing quite the predicament—
Panic in Elba!!!
   :)



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 27, 2007, 08:24:25 AM
(http://images.tribe.net/tribe/upload/photo/e4d/7d9/e4d7d9e6-eef7-42fb-838d-c3982cd3a172)

Harvard Snapshot

I loved Caddy so—
She was My Little Sister Death
Like Saint Francis said…

“Through the wall I heard Shreve’s bed-springs and then his slippers on the floor hishing. I got up and went to the dresser and slid my hand along it and touched the watch and turned it face-down and went back to bed. But the shadow of the sash was still there…”—William Faulkner, “June Second, 1910,” TSATF, New York, Norton, 1994, page 49


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 27, 2007, 08:53:23 AM
(http://images.tribe.net/tribe/upload/photo/918/d75/918d7575-3653-4f1a-a2aa-5df239999f1d)

Snapshot of Dalton Ames

I couldn’t help it—
Thinking about Dalton Ames
Standing by my door…

“Dalton Ames. Dalton Ames. When he put the pistol in my hand I didn’t. That’s why I didn’t. He would be there and she would and I would. Dalton Ames. Dalton Ames. Dalton Ames. And I will look down and see my murmuring bones and the deep water like wind, like a roof of wind. It’s not when you realize that nothing can help you—religion, pride, anything—it’s when you realize that you don’t need any aid. Dalton Ames, Dalton Ames. Dalton Ames. If I could have been his mother lying with open body lifted laughing, holding his father with my hand refraining, seeing, watching him die before he lived. One minute [he] was standing in the door.”—William Faulkner, “June Second, 1910,” TSATF, New York, Norton, 1994, page 51




Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 27, 2007, 10:03:27 AM
(http://www.usask.ca/english/faulkner/images/cover3.jpg)

Complete Hypertext TSATF

http://www.usask.ca/english/faulkner/


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 27, 2007, 05:00:34 PM
I like this reading.  And there is something to the idea of Sutpen being godlike, powerful with his grand design and the creation of Sutpen's Hundred..."tore violently a plantation..." 


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 27, 2007, 07:00:48 PM
(http://www.randomhouse.com/images/dyn/cover/?source=9780679732181&width=100)

The Niobe Moment

“It's because she wants it told…”
—William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom,
New York: Vintage, 1991, page 6

Miss Coldfield is the county poetess laureate—and you know poets—how they love to tell stories—echoing sonorous defeated names—issuing odes, eulogies and epitaphs to a past that never was or would be or could be—except in her own attic-imagination—up there where her Confederate anti-war father hid during the war—and where Henry the progenitor of all her Miss Havisham shame and woes lived too—up in the attic of the Southern mind where time had stopped for everybody—including Sutpen, Ellen, their son and daughter—and Bon as well—along with his son Charles Etienne St. Valery Bon—and his son Jim Bond too—all those Southern portraits up there in the attic—all those aging Dorian Gray avatars of the Deep South…

The Niobe moment—the dead sister Ellen moment—the Miss Havisham moment—the dead Miss Coldfield moment—everybody living in their own “dead” now-moment—some trapped in that moment their whole life—as surely as Henry up there in the crumbling decaying old attic of the Sutpen plantation mansion was trapped—full of fratricidal guilt for killing his own lover and blood-brother—as surely as Cain killed Able—the attic up there as the final destination of Miss Coldfield—dragging Quentin Compson up there with her—so that he too could see face-to-face the dying Absalom South himself—coming home to die—that Niobe branch of the dynastic Family Tree dead—deader than a doornail—while the living roots and branches—the Charles Bon part—kept living and growing into the future—the heritage of Bon’s handsome mulatto manhood—the cursed doomed mixed-blood progeny of Sutpen’s dreams—moving forward not exactly like Sutpen planned—but nevertheless moving forward—the now-moment that was—becoming the new moment that would-be—that would-be moment waiting in the loins of the New South—the cheesy no-good Snopes moment—the American moment we see around us today—testing us like it tested Quentin—there at Harvard in the tragic attic of his own mind—testing me even as I write this now…








Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 27, 2007, 07:53:23 PM
(http://images.tribe.net/tribe/upload/photo/918/d75/918d7575-3653-4f1a-a2aa-5df239999f1d)

Young Zen Snopes

What at this moment—
Is lacking in your Snopes-mind?
If not now, then when…

Zen Snopes—the latest Snopes boy to show up in Town—the epitome of all the hopes and fears and dreams of the New South—that is in other words the newest gutter-snipe to pull himself up out of the Deep South sewer—standing here nude in the now-moment—nude as a blue-jay looking around the fading afternoon day—naked as young Adam standing there without his fig-leaf—naked and unashamed as Ike Snopes in the big Red Barn of Love—cunning as Popeye in the Memphis gangster-moment—the sharp razor-edge moment where outsiders live—so completely in that present moment—so utterly in the New Southern now—that the past and future unveil themselves—burning themselves up in the new moment—your own readerly / writerly moment—where time stops just for you—and the obstacles fade away like they did for Faulkner—where there is no turning back—where there is no looking back—where there is only one thing—the great GRE in the sky—telling the story again—this time your story, baby—your story is gold—as surely as my name is Rumpelstiltskin—and I tell no lies--most of the time...  :)




Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 27, 2007, 09:33:09 PM
(http://www.randomhouse.com/images/dyn/cover/?source=9780679732181&width=100)

The Niobe Moment

“It's because she wants it told…”
—William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom,
New York: Vintage, 1991, page 6

Miss Coldfield is the county poetess laureate—and you know poets—how they love to tell stories—echoing sonorous defeated names—issuing odes, eulogies and epitaphs to a past that never was or would be or could be—except in her own attic-imagination—up there where her Confederate anti-war father hid during the war—and where Henry the progenitor of all her Miss Havisham shame and woes lived too—up in the attic of the Southern mind where time had stopped for everybody—including Sutpen, Ellen, their son and daughter—and Bon as well—along with his son Charles Etienne St. Valery Bon—and his son Jim Bond too—all those Southern portraits up there in the attic—all those aging Dorian Gray avatars of the Deep South…

The Niobe moment—the dead sister Ellen moment—the Miss Havisham moment—the dead Miss Coldfield moment—everybody living in their own “dead” now-moment—some trapped in that moment their whole life—as surely as Henry up there in the crumbling decaying old attic of the Sutpen plantation mansion was trapped—full of fratricidal guilt for killing his own lover and blood-brother—as surely as Cain killed Able—the attic up there as the final destination of Miss Coldfield—dragging Quentin Compson up there with her—so that he too could see face-to-face the dying Absalom South himself—coming home to die—that Niobe branch of the dynastic Family Tree dead—deader than a doornail—while the living roots and branches—the Charles Bon part—kept living and growing into the future—the heritage of Bon’s handsome mulatto manhood—the cursed doomed mixed-blood progeny of Sutpen’s dreams—moving forward not exactly like Sutpen planned—but nevertheless moving forward—the now-moment that was—becoming the new moment that would-be—that would-be moment waiting in the loins of the New South—the cheesy no-good Snopes moment—the American moment we see around us today—testing us like it tested Quentin—there at Harvard in the tragic attic of his own mind—testing me even as I write this now…








So, in her Niobe moment, did Miss Rosa get what she deserved?  Was the telling of the tale a matter of pride...Rosa's as destructive as Sutpen's? 

I still don't buy that Quentin had to tell because she wanted it told....what power did she have over Quentin?  What hold?

"Zen...the epitome of all the hopes and fears and dreams of the New South"  New South...New Age.  How far do the Snopes need to evolve before they leave behind guttersnipehood?


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 27, 2007, 09:53:49 PM
Niobe moment....mistype there.  Not Miss Rosa...Ellen.  Ellen seems powerless in all this mess....hardly a queen of Thebes.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 27, 2007, 10:05:03 PM
(http://images.tribe.net/tribe/upload/photo/918/d75/918d7575-3653-4f1a-a2aa-5df239999f1d)


How far do the Snopes need to evolve
before they leave behind guttersnipehood?



Well, I dunno, sweetheart...

Some say us Snopes are doomed...

Doomed to even more de-evolution dontchaknow...

Snopesian consciousness hopelessly devolving more...

...and more even as we speak...

...especially as yours truly speaks...

descending more & more into the moment...

...the Snopesian moment...

Let me tell you this little story...   :)


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 27, 2007, 10:08:23 PM
(http://images.tribe.net/tribe/upload/photo/6b8/3e6/6b83e699-f61e-471c-858f-414a338a35ad)

Young Zen Snopes Goes Shopping

—for Hoffman

Who is this young guy—
Taking my breath away this
Cute Costco check-out kid?

The Rumpelstiltskin moment bends down over me sometimes—like when I least expect it—taking my breath away in the most mundane places like this huge warehouse full of stuff—stuff that makes Costco what it is—the great American dream—dumbfounding the cute Russian kid standing in the aisle—stunned like his emigrant parents by the rich abundance of so much wonderful stuff—a virtual smorgasbord of everything you could want—a vast warehouse castle of everything you could desire—verging almost on being a capitalistic cornucopia porno-show—a great circus-carnival of consumer joy and immediate gratification—ensconced down there in Tukwila Southcenter—immense shopping center ghetto—stretching from here to LA—with me one of the truest believers in the worshipping flock of shoppers—an urban ghetto guy of the eternal shop-till-you-drop moment—doing my shopping like everybody else in the eternal moment—getting my case of Pellegrino sparking water—a couple of all-American apple pies—some kitty-litter and trash-bags—a fried chicken fresh from the oven—some mixings for my salads—a boxed set of HBO Rome—some typing paper—some strawberries so nice and sweet—my zippity-do-dah day so happy-go-lucky and free—until I get to the checkout counter—there to meet my nemesis—Bad Day at Black Rock for me—there he was—the young man of my dreams—surely as Jacob stood there transfixed by his Angel—down there by the River Jordan—the river of time running thru all things—that was me and that was him—his name-tag saying “David”—that’s when I knew then and there—surely I was truly slain like Quentin on the bridge—slain in the moment like Dalton Ames surely stunned Quentin Compson that fine day—stunned by what?—each time for me was so different—as if some Assault on the Queen was coming down my way—up there always waiting in the wings—a vast multitude of smirking angels—and “I-told-you-so” poets up there—heavenly critics looking down at me—laughing again at my incredible ineptitude—like slipping on a banana peel—and falling on my ass once again—in the face of the magic Arriba Andele moment—when time stops quickly—always taking my breath away—like Henry at Ole Miss—like Quentin at Harvard—queered by the déjà vu disconnect—between me and the moment—the epiphany of pure unadulterated beauty—coming into my life once again—completely by chance—guided by the most impromptu ad lib thing in the welt—my own disintegrating weltanschauung descending around me—taking my breath away—but not only just for me—young David’s cute little bag-boy assistant sticking to him like glue—boxing the stuff and glowing with glee—just to be close around David the Boy King—built like a young brick-shithouse god—his biceps all smooth and bulging and strong—like the looming cables of the Brooklyn Bridge—a Hart Crane sailor-boy type—so smooth and cute it hurt just looking at him—time began slipping away—his young lady supervisor there too—at my end of the conveyor belt—helping me load my junk onboard—all the while chatting with him—she too without a doubt obviously having the hots for him—feeling what I felt in the moment—the speeding up of the moment—as if somebody had put their petal to the metal—accelerating everything around us—while this David and his young assistant moved thru time—all of us watching his every move—electronically zip-zapping my stuff quickly—conversing lowly confidentially with his kid-assistant—who looked up at him with adorning eyes—the hero-worshipping eyes of a kid-brother in the center of things—David’s lady boss wanting to be around it too—his buzz-cut stylish bouffant—slicked-back and sticking up—with that jiffy-lube cream boys use today—giving him that look of electrified male eroticism—invisible bolts of lightening shooting up his forehead—like some new kind of Male Bride of Frankenstein—with his pair of baggy tan Abercrombie-Fitch pants—loose and casual with lots of pockets stopping at his calves—showing just enough leg to make me faint—the seemingly normal day-to-day Costco conversationalese—with its love-chatter subtext going like this—“I get off soon” she says—“I get to go home before you do, David”—that’s what she says to him—giving him the eye like everybody else—taking my breath away even more when she says it—with him not even blinking an eye—still sliding my stuff down to the skinny kid all bug-eyed at the end—doing my card and handing me the slip—turning to her and saying—“Home—that’s what’s on everybody’s mind”—the way he said it with such a low calm male voice—turning from her and looking at me—giving me this wink that crucified my day…………..


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 27, 2007, 10:24:49 PM
Gotta admire the way you just reel these off.  But, there is a boy like that down at my video store...looks like a god except he has dimples, born smiling.  He flirts shamelessly with every woman who comes in the store...young, old.  When I drive my car in the lot, I can tell whether he's working or not by the expression on the women's faces as they leave the store.  Clearly this is a boy whose been loved.

And somehow I don't picture you in the Costco buying Apple Pies... 


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: johnr60 on September 27, 2007, 10:39:58 PM
hoffman:

Quote
final destination of Miss Coldfield—dragging Quentin Compson up there with her—so that he too could see face-to-face the dying Absalom South himself—coming home to die—that Niobe branch of the dynastic Family Tree dead—deader than a doornail—while the living roots and branches—the Charles Bon part—kept living and growing into the future

That's pretty good.  Who is this guy?

Quote
I still don't buy that Quentin had to tell because she wanted it told....what power did she have over Quentin?  What hold?

The power of the Southern earth, the power of an upbringing that respects a knightly tradition and virgins in rockers.
One thing it is not is logical, that's why Faulkner puts it right up front--and more than once.  He must build his reader who is not of that earth.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 27, 2007, 10:56:59 PM
hoffman:

Quote
final destination of Miss Coldfield—dragging Quentin Compson up there with her—so that he too could see face-to-face the dying Absalom South himself—coming home to die—that Niobe branch of the dynastic Family Tree dead—deader than a doornail—while the living roots and branches—the Charles Bon part—kept living and growing into the future

That's pretty good.  Who is this guy?

Quote
I still don't buy that Quentin had to tell because she wanted it told....what power did she have over Quentin?  What hold?

The power of the Southern earth, the power of an upbringing that respects a knightly tradition and virgins in rockers.
One thing it is not is logical, that's why Faulkner puts it right up front--and more than once.  He must build his reader who is not of that earth.


Faulkner does put it out there as early as page 3 in my edition, and there is the respect for southern womanhood and virginity, but I think for Quentin, it's more than that.  Rosa wanted the story told, hoped Quentin would write about it, but I think that Quentin was fascinated by Henry because of the situations with their sisters.  Quentin is disturbed at his own sister's loss of her virginity and her premarital pregnancy.  He tells their father that the child is his.  When he goes to Harvard and they ask him about the South, he tells a story of incest.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: johnr60 on September 27, 2007, 11:03:19 PM
Quote
Quentin is disturbed at his own sister's loss of her virginity and her premarital pregnancy.

not in the book we're talking about


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 27, 2007, 11:13:13 PM
Quote
Quentin is disturbed at his own sister's loss of her virginity and her premarital pregnancy.

not in the book we're talking about

True....but can we just ignore Faulkner's previous development of Quentin?  Faulkner's Yoknapatawpha characters recur throughout his writing.  The Snopes are the Snopes, the Compsons are the Compsons.  Their histories don't change from story to story, they just lie there, waiting for the reader to discover them.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 28, 2007, 12:21:29 AM
(http://images.tribe.net/tribe/upload/photo/e4d/7d9/e4d7d9e6-eef7-42fb-838d-c3982cd3a172)

Harvard Snapshot

I loved Dalton Ames—
He was my sister’s lover.
And he was mine too…

“Dalton Ames. Dalton Ames. Dalton Ames. Dalton Ames. Dalton Ames. And I will look down and see my murmuring bones and the deep water like wind, like a roof of wind. Dalton Ames, Dalton Ames.”—William Faulkner, “June Second, 1910,” TSATF, New York, Norton, 1994, page 51

I’d wake up in the morning—Dalton Ames would be standing there by the door—it was a dream of course—the same dream I’d have every night—but still he’d be standing there—as surely as Shreve McCannon—that’s the way I woke up every morning—dying in Dalton’s arms—under the bridge—it was almost too intense—that’s how intense it was—that’s how intense it got—the moment…

There in my freezing room at Harvard—colder than a gawddamn witch’s tit—there in that cold New England winter night—that’s what Shreve would say—colder than a gawddamn witch’s tit—and that wasn’t the half of it—even Shreve wasn’t used to it—even with his home up there in Canada—he wasn’t used to it either—the snow, the ice, the cold dark nights that gripped the land by the throat like a big mean timber wolf—all I wanted to do was stay in bed—all I wanted was to stay in bed and keep warm—pull the covers over my head and hide from Night of the Union Dead…


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 28, 2007, 12:49:56 AM
(http://images.tribe.net/tribe/upload/photo/e4d/7d9/e4d7d9e6-eef7-42fb-838d-c3982cd3a172)

Harvard Snapshot

The Union dead weren’t—
Dead they were just living there
In my Harvard dorm…

“Dalton Ames. Dalton Ames. Dalton Ames. Dalton Ames. Dalton Ames. And I will look down and see my murmuring bones and the deep water like wind, like a roof of wind. Dalton Ames, Dalton Ames.”—William Faulkner, “June Second, 1910,” TSATF, New York, Norton, 1994, page 51

The ghost of old dead Yankees—looming down over Harvard—the cold cynical Ivy League night—I could feel it—there were lots of old dead Yankees hanging around the joint—you could hear them ratting around up there in the attic at night—you could hear them trundling down the stairs to class—the Union dead weren’t dead—they all lived in my Harvard dormitory—it was just awful knowing—how mean the gawddamn old New England dead were—just waiting to get their cold clammy fingers on my nice little Mississippi ass—those cold winter classes in dumpy old classrooms—that crummy boat-race every year over there in New London—with all those pale snotty Princeton pricks…


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 28, 2007, 01:55:10 AM
(http://images.tribe.net/tribe/upload/photo/e4d/7d9/e4d7d9e6-eef7-42fb-838d-c3982cd3a172)

Harvard Snapshot

The dark squirming horde—
Sleek black snake-words in the night
Serpentine shadows…

“Dalton Ames. Dalton Ames. Dalton Ames. Dalton Ames. Dalton Ames. Dalton Ames, Dalton Ames.”—William Faulkner, “June Second, 1910,” TSATF, New York, Norton, 1994, page 51

The eyes in the back of my head—the kind of eyes wild animals deep in the woods have—the kind of eyes that see deeply into the night that is night—the darkness that men can’t see—except maybe for Benjy—who can see the Shadow in the dark—has seen it and knows it—but can’t tell us about it—he can see it but can’t speak it—which is maybe a good thing—a kid like that can only take so much…

Benjy’s eyes—eyes that could even smell the darkness—the kind of instinctual all-knowing all-seeing eye—that makes our eyes seem like seeing thru a glass darkly—down a dim corridor both day and night—we can longer see thru Benjy’s eyes anymore—nor thru the eyes of Ikkemotubbe (Doom)—who they say could see the same way—just for spit-second in the nick of time—thru sabre-tooth eyes seeing the hunter slouched in the dark—eyes seeing the prey hiding in the deep Woode—eyes seeing it before they painted it—on the walls of Lascaux—eyes that seem art deco—but are really much more ancient than that…

The eyes in the back of my head—they weren’t like Benjy’s—except when I dreamed—I had the kind of dark bedroom eyes I got from my father—the kind of eyes that can’t see anything in the dark—the kind of eyes that don’t want to know what’s waiting out there in the darkness—where the dark serpentine shadow-horde is hiding—all bundled up tight like a fist—hidden deep underwater in its dark invisible slitherhood—deep in Dead Man’s Lake—down there deep where this nest of swarming dark vipers sleep—a swarm of newly hatched black shiny water moccasins—all clotted together down there in the pool of darkness—the dark squirming horde of sleek black snake-words—slithering in the darkness only Benjy sees—the shadow world of the delta night—the night of the Mississippi dead…


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 28, 2007, 02:21:54 AM
(http://images.tribe.net/tribe/upload/photo/e4d/7d9/e4d7d9e6-eef7-42fb-838d-c3982cd3a172)

Harvard Snapshot

Cotton, cane and blacks—
The Slave Empire moving north
The Senate was theirs…

“Dalton Ames. Dalton Ames. Dalton Ames. Dalton Ames. Dalton Ames. Dalton Ames, Dalton Ames.”—William Faulkner, “June Second, 1910,” TSATF, New York, Norton, 1994, page 51

Sometimes with my eyes closed—I could see what I didn’t want to see—way up there in the cold Yankee night—the Union dead leaning down over me—jealous of me being there—amongst all the young men—that the older generation had fought the war for—it was the distinct privilege of these young Harvard men—to be the conqueror’s young horde of intelligentsia—the proud Yankee warlords of steel and railroads and big business—taking over and commandeering the West like the South wanted to do—but not with cotton and cane and blacks—not with a Senate run by slavers and plantation barons—not in an America ruled by King Cane Cotton Carib—the Slave Empire creeping up state by state—run by men like Sutpen who dreamed of dynasties reaching to the sea—slave wineries on the coast and plantations in the corn and wheat-fields in-between—such arrogance was to be conquered by an even worse arrogance—the arrogance of Ulysses Grant and his cronies—then Harding and the rest—the corrupt New England robber barons—replacing one economic bondage with another—industrial slavers of a different kind—the kind that made emigrants of the newborn—the railroads owning all the land—the Carnegie steel mills belching blackness into coal mine night—then oil wells pumping down into the earth—the nascent industrial-military-academic complex—hatching its nest of snakes—seeing me in the darkness there at Harvard—knowing I was there in their inner sanctum—sending shivers up and down my spine—worse than Dead Man’s Lake…




Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 28, 2007, 03:04:16 AM
(http://images.tribe.net/tribe/upload/photo/e4d/7d9/e4d7d9e6-eef7-42fb-838d-c3982cd3a172)

Harvard Snapshot

Channeling the Dead—
That’s the easy part compared
With shutting them up…

“Dalton Ames. Dalton Ames. Dalton Ames. Dalton Ames. Dalton Ames. Dalton Ames, Dalton Ames.”—William Faulkner, “June Second, 1910,” TSATF, New York, Norton, 1994, page 51

I guess I was ready for it—taking a night ride with Euboeleus—straight down into Harvard hell—freshmen are good at it—they go thru hell and back—I know I did but that’s not saying much—I was already in hell before I came to Harvard—some don’t call it that—or they call it something else—nightmares that come and go—the kind of dreams nobody wants to dream—but that’s the way I dreamed every night—I was Pluto’s young chauffeur…

I didn’t much want to—gawd knows I tried to not dream—I guess I just had too much baggage—maybe my family was cursed—maybe I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time—but that didn’t make any difference to young Lord Pluto who made me drive—taking him and his mistress Persephone for long drives in the country—in the Dark Lord’s sleek black Cadillac—yeah I know they didn’t have Cadillacs back then—but the great Lord Pluto did—a nice big plush midnight-blue ’59 Cadillac convertible—with these huge campy jet-black Fins flaring out in the back—him and the broad in the back seat—enjoying a brief outing from the Land of the Dead—they both knew I had eyes in the back of my head—that’s why they picked me each night—they knew I could see in the dark—I could drive in my dreams—cruising the old New England countryside at night…




Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 28, 2007, 04:02:21 AM
(http://images.tribe.net/tribe/upload/photo/e4d/7d9/e4d7d9e6-eef7-42fb-838d-c3982cd3a172)

Harvard Snapshot

Going to Harvard—
Was like slaying the dragon
Without Percival…

“Dalton Ames. Dalton Ames. Dalton Ames. Dalton Ames. Dalton Ames. Dalton Ames, Dalton Ames.”—William Faulkner, “June Second, 1910,” TSATF, New York, Norton, 1994, page 51

The eyes in the back of my head—telling me what was ahead of time—it was my father’s gift to me—it was better not to know about it tho—that’s why my father gave me the watch instead—watches have no eyes—they only have hands that move—around and around in circles—why bother yourself my father said—eyes have no hands to move—eyes can’t tell you what time it is—a watch has no reason to tell you lies—while your eyes, my son, are guided by guile—not by down-to-earth railroad time—but by your Compson Family Tree— deep inside your loins—your Family Jewels the gift I gave you—for you are the last hope of our fading Family fortunes—that’s why I’m sending you to Harvard—and that’s how you’ll save yourself by saving us—where Caddy failed me—you shall succeed—your mind is like mine—the only problem is your mother’s goodlooks—that’s what doomed Caddy—she was too beautiful—such a beautiful wild child—she just had too much of your mother in her—Jason is even worse—he gets along with his mother fine—they’re both peas in a pod—Jason will succeed like the Snopes—his pride and avarice and hatred—will succeed just fine—in the carpetbagger days ahead—my Benjy is just a sleepy little boy in Dreamland who’ll never wake up—only you my dear Quentin can get our Family out of debt—and save us from the tragic Sutpen fate—you and Henry are very much alike—in ways you’ll discover perhaps some day…


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 28, 2007, 04:14:52 AM
(http://images.tribe.net/tribe/upload/photo/e4d/7d9/e4d7d9e6-eef7-42fb-838d-c3982cd3a172)

Harvard Snapshot

The way the moon creeps—
Down the dark old cellar steps
Pale accordion…

“Dalton Ames. Dalton Ames. Dalton Ames. Dalton Ames. Dalton Ames. Dalton Ames, Dalton Ames.”—William Faulkner, “June Second, 1910,” TSATF, New York, Norton, 1994, page 51

Father had many tales to tell—this telling got in the way of things sometimes—like finances and keeping track of bills—yes he was like Miss Rosa locked in the past—there was no way of telling what I’d see—because I could see even if Father told me not to waste my time—only gods like Pluto could squeeze the gate tight—the weirding way wasn’t for me—I didn’t want my eyes telling me— what to see or what to know—only the Dead themselves down there—down there in dark Dis—surely only they knew such things—not knowing they were dead—perhaps not knowing it was best for them—I knew nothing until Pluto showed up in a dream—Pluto and his mistress—slithered into my life one night—they told me they were Popeye and Temple Drake—and I believed them because they were so real—they told me things like there’d be this storyteller in the future—he’d be telling my story in a couple of books—both of them real tearjerkers—the kind of books that were the dregs—not much better than True Mystery Magazine—worse than pulp fiction paperbacks—but of course I didn’t understand anything they said—so I just shut up and drove—looking at the dirt road in the headlights—living in the eternal moment of road-kill death—letting the night tell me things about the night—things I already knew and felt comfortable about—like the smell of a skunk down in a creek hollow—the way the moon creeps down the cellar steps…


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 28, 2007, 06:36:51 PM
(http://www.randomhouse.com/images/dyn/cover/?source=9780679732181&width=100)

Time and Memory


I saw AA as a meditation on memory and TSATF on time.  


Hoffman—you’ve mentioned that AA revolves around memory and TSATF revolves around time.

I agree but I keep getting them mixed up—like which is which? Maybe it’s kind of like a right-brain left-brain thing. Which is which—and when is time memory and memory time? I dunno. Maybe both are one—joined at the hip—like Chang and Eng?

My astrologer shakes her head—she tells me triple Gemini people like me are doomed. Doomed to double, double, toil and trouble. But, well, I try to look on the bright side. In case I get a flat on the great information highway—I’ve always got a spare dontchaknow…   :)

Both you and I have read about twins—Katherine Dunn, Shelly Jackson, Lori Lansens, DBC Pierre, Tara McCarthy. Remember, we called it Twin Lit? And some movies too—like Brothers of the Head and Mysterious Skin. But still—there’s something missing. My better half, probably. You know—like Borges in that hotel?

I know it’s silly—but I remember this scene out of The Thing With Two Heads (1971). When Ray Milland is smoking this cigarette. Milland inhales it—and Roosevelt Grier exhales it. A gag for the audience. I think I’ve got that right—or maybe I’m thinking of The Incredible 2-Headed Transplant (1971). It made me laugh tho—how two can be so different and yet one…

I was thinking about what you said—about AA = Memory and TSATF = Time. But what if that’s just illusionary? What if Faulkner was trying to recapture the Moment—the Benjy moment of “April Seventh, 1928” from TSATF. He says in his Introduction (Norton) that the rest of TSATF was trying to recapture that Moment of freedom when he simply started writing for writing’s sake—ending up with the pure pleasure of being in the creative writing moment with no thoughts of publishing it or even seeing what he was doing as a Book? Just writing in the Now—the now-moment that Proust and Joyce and the Modernists talk about…

If that’s true—and Faulkner went on to recapture that Moment with the “June Second 1910,” “April Sixth 1928” and “April Eighth 1928” sections—and yet still dissatisfied with it—going on to AA and doing the Quentin / Shreve thing channeling Henry / Bon from the Sutpen era—then maybe there’s no difference between time and memory.

In other words, the Moment is everything—past, present, future all concatenated into one shining Jewel of Time—and one can enter that Jewel like Quentin and Shreve do—thru some kind of Voice—a polymorphously perverse thing—something like in a fairy tale—when the dialogic imagination kicks in—when a storyteller begins—once upon a time—a book, a key, some magic chalk…

One other thing—this Moment has immense power—it can even rot stars…

The Rotting Stars
—by William Logan

I did not have the courage, that year,
to explore the nature of what I had seen.
A winter sun ignited the dry fronds,
but I sat at the prow of the old rowboat,

the cold river lapping hard rosettes
of barnacles along the rotting wharf.
They were like a drowned field of flowers.
The water eased in and out of the pilings.

Someone more sensitive might have heard it
as music. And vacantly, across the water,
came the tinny songs of an old radio.
The full moon lifted above the live oaks,

But just the crown, like a white dome out of Africa.
Meanwhile the sun had gone down.
The water turned cold dark, like speckled lead,
but the trees still held an eerie radiance

that lingers for a few minutes at sunset.
Just then a cormorant burst across the river,
its flight low and panicked.
It dove into the blackness and did not come up.

I knew then that my mother was dead.
Yet she wasn’t dead.
She was living on the northern coast,
still the center of her bridge club,

still taking lunch each Tuesday at the marina.
I could see, in that empty, faded glow
even then leaving the river,
the irritated waves edged with silver tinfoil,

glinting, then a rich, dead India ink,
while across the waters, wavering at first,
came faint lanterns from the district houses,
like shrunken, unreachable stars—

I could see everything that was to come.

—William Logan, “The Rotting Stars,” The Whispering Gallery, New York: Penguin, 2005


http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0143036173/ref=sib_fs_top/103-6973468-1832631?ie=UTF8&p=S00H&checkSum=eoCGWI9hNbL5BpGU1ykWRDXoE0%2F0%2FDSSxz0kZRQXslQ%3D#reader-link



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 28, 2007, 07:43:26 PM
There is something here, a confusion of time and memory, and the idea that nothing exists outside of the word. 

"I knew then that my mother was dead.
Yet she wasn’t dead."

Terrible things don't happen until/unless we tell someone about them.  A parent or partner can die and things stay the same until you pick up the phone, or meet someone who knows....



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 28, 2007, 07:44:22 PM
Do you notice that people cover their mouths when they grieve?


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 28, 2007, 07:57:49 PM
(http://www.chroniclejournal.com/includes/CP_stories/67/67037.jpg)


a confusion of time and memory...


To me time & memory is like a two-headed turtle...

Conjoined together like Siamese twins...

Faulkner discusses this in his TSATF introduction...
 
An Introduction to The Sound and the Fury
Mississippi Quarterly 26 (Summer 1973): 410-415
http://www.usask.ca/english/faulkner/main/index.html

 
It's about the now-moment...

It's a short read...well worth your time if you haven't read it yet.

The "now-moment" for him = the "April Seventh 1928" Section...

The "Benjy" section which I see as a Yoknapawpha modernist experiment...

Where he "localized" what Proust and Joyce were doing...

But it's really nothing new...

"Once upon a time" does the same thing...   :)


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 28, 2007, 08:10:58 PM
(http://www.monstersandcritics.com/image.php?file=downloads/downloads/movies/panslabyrinth_1/images/group2/12.jpg&width=500)


...but lets not get tricked by any of that.


Fiction is tricky business...

So-called "reliable narratives" are dime a dozen...

And after reading Pale Fire and Lolita, well, I think

I can safely say that "reliable narrators" are

cheaper by the dozen...

Time and memory are just words...

The "now-moment" for me is much more real...

Real in the "magic realism" sense...

Not just Borges, Marquez and the Fabulists...

But here and now...

For example, El Laberinto del fauno...

Pan's Labyrinth (2006)...





Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 28, 2007, 08:15:17 PM
"I wrote this book and learned to read."

I believe him.  I also think he wrote it because he wanted to read, and couldn't find anything worthy of the effort.

Perhaps you could elaborate a little bit on these points you're making.

Personally, after reading Faulkner's TSATF Introduction, I get the impression

that a lot more is going on there than just ameliorating mere boredom...  :)



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 28, 2007, 08:41:00 PM
(http://www.randomhouse.com/images/dyn/cover/?source=9780679732181&width=100)


There is something here, a confusion of time and memory,
and the idea that nothing exists outside of the word. 


The reason I mentioned Mr. Logan's poem was the last line
about his being in the "now-moment" long enough to see
what he saw...and not having courage about discussing it
until later on...perhaps in "The Rotting Stars"...



I could see everything that was to come.

—William Logan, “The Rotting Stars,” The Whispering Gallery, New York: Penguin, 2005

http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0143036173/ref=sib_fs_top/103-6973468-1832631?ie=UTF8&p=S00H&checkSum=eoCGWI9hNbL5BpGU1ykWRDXoE0%2F0%2FDSSxz0kZRQXslQ%3D#reader-link


As to whether nothing exists beyond words, well, that
opens up a whole can of worms don't you think? Isn't
that the object of Borges' satirical "The Library of Babel"
and "The Garden of Forking Paths"? After all, Borges
was the Head Librarian of Argentina for many years and
one can almost see him in the Buenos Aires Library
basement devising all sorts of fake catalogs and endless
unreliable narratives.

Personally, I see language as a labyrinth or garden of
forking paths or perhaps a Beowulfian "word-horde" that
one utilizes in, say, emergencies like going after a
mean nasty Grendel monster if you know what I mean?

Isn't AA a labyrinth?

Isn't TSATF a garden of forking paths?
     :)


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 28, 2007, 08:58:20 PM
(http://www.chroniclejournal.com/includes/CP_stories/67/67037.jpg)


a confusion of time and memory...


To me time & memory is like a two-headed turtle...

Conjoined together like Siamese twins...

Faulkner discusses this in his TSATF introduction...
 
An Introduction to The Sound and the Fury
Mississippi Quarterly 26 (Summer 1973): 410-415
http://www.usask.ca/english/faulkner/main/index.html

 
It's about the now-moment...

It's a short read...well worth your time if you haven't read it yet.

The "now-moment" for him = the "April Seventh 1928" Section...

The "Benjy" section which I see as a Yoknapathapaw modernist experiment...

Where he "localized" what Proust and Joyce were doing...

But it's really nothing new...

"Once upon a time" does the same thing...   :)


Hah...nice photo....

Time and memory are inseparable in the novels, but in AA, memory takes precedence.  Sutpen exists only in memory, and Rosa's Sutpen is not Compson's Sutpen is not Quentin's Sutpen.  Sutpen is constructed, deconstructed, reconstructed....all in memory.

In TSAF, Mr. Compson presents Quentin with a watch and tells him,  "I give it to you not that you may remember time, but that you might forget it now and then for a moment and not spend all your breath trying to conquer it."  Quentin sees clocks as the killer of time.  Just before he commits suicide, he breaks his watch...rather a bow to the destructive force of time.  For Benji, all time is now.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 28, 2007, 09:04:18 PM
Borges and his library....another author who does interesting things with the idea of the power of the word is Saramago...The History of the Siege of Lisbon comes to mind.



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 28, 2007, 10:37:16 PM

That all makes sense, doesn't it?


Well, kinda, sorta, I suppose... 

The thing is this. Everybody is different. Especially writers.

So I find it hard to generalize too much about this or that
or why a writer writes or why a writer reads or why a
writer wipes his...er excuse me.   :)

I can only really speak for myself and how I personally
interact with a novel or a writer...and even then it's
a very mysterious process much of which I'm probably
totally unaware of while I'm doing it...

For example, the "Harvard Snapshot" series above.

If I may, I'd like to share with you how one writer interacts
with another writer in terms of AA and TSATF; specifically
the channeling scenario between both Quentin & Shreve
on the one hand and Henry Sutpen & Charles Bon on the
other.

I see the 6 or 7 sketches as writing exercises duplicating
the "stream of consciousness" technique Faulkner used in
the "April Seventh 1928" of TSATF, i.e. the Benjy section.
Some may think I was just showing off or "whistling Dixie"
but I take Quentin somewhat seriously.

Some say Quentin is like Hamlet but also I see him as
Stephen Dedalus in Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a
Young Man...



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 28, 2007, 10:41:34 PM
The Harvard Moment

“I said to myself. Now I
can write. I can just write.”
—William Faulkner, Introduction,
TSATF, New York: Norton, 1994
Page 230

Besides the two versions of TSATF Introduction—there’s an additional insight we readers can have into the origins of the novel. According to Faulkner’s biographer, Frederick Karl, the novel began as a sketch based on the funeral of his maternal grandmother, Damuddy (Lelia Swift Butler):

“Interestingly, that ten-page “episode” was the beginning of Faulkner’s more experimental mode, in that it did not have a story’s shape but the flow of an experience or a stretch of consciousness. Although the story was to become the novel, we see the germ of the technique, in that need not to capture events or activities but to describe consciousness.”—Frederick Karl, William Faulkner: American Writer, New York: Ballantine, 1989, page 315.

Karl says that Faulkner at that point entered something close to Proust’s “privileged moment”—when time is suspended. What triggers this suspension of time? Tea, marmalade and toast? Caddy’s muddy drawers? Whatever it is—the writer abstracts himself or herself from routine life and becomes a moving pen sitting before a blank sheet of paper or a blank Word screen.

As a result, Faulkner said that TSATF was created—almost in spite of himself. What better character than autistic Benjy—to be his Voice? This choice of Benjy as Narrator is important in terms of “reliable/unreliable narration”—it’s Faulkner’s desire for a new technique.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 28, 2007, 10:43:05 PM
A new technique to develop interior monologue and free-associational material in order to go beyond just “short-story” into deeper storytelling. Since Benjy is mentally challenged and limited basically to nonverbal or minimally verbal—Faulkner used this character to work with an interior mode.

A real challenge—taking a ten-page sketch and intensifying it into a Whole. I mention this TSATF ur-manuscript because it’s what I was doing with the “Harvard Snapshot” series above.

I wanted to do an experimental series of sketches showing how Quentin Compson’s mind worked there in that Harvard dormitory mentioned by Faulkner in AA. I was interested in describing Quentin’s “flow of consciousness” leading into the Quentin & Shreve dialog and/or “channeling” episode with Henry & Charles Bon.

 In other words—the interior monologue and free-association that Quentin goes thru as Faulkner revisits the Sutpen scenario. I was interested in Proust’s “privileged moment” as well as Joyce’s “epiphany”—from the Faulkner POV in the TSATF Benjy section.

Quentin Compson was easy for me to write about—since I too was once a Freshman and lived in a dormitory. I remember many discussions late at night—while we burned the midnight oil and talked much like Quentin and Shreve probably did.

Like Sylvia Plath—I take notes in the margins of books I’m reading. Not necessarily discursive reportage—but sometimes “sketches” like the Harvard series. Then I get to post them—and bore everybody with my great insights.



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on September 29, 2007, 01:39:23 PM
Speaking of writers, my short friendship with another children's writer ended abruptly on Monday with her death. I am very saddened by the loss of such a new and wonderful friend.

Donna Doe Southall published by two books: "D'Arcy", a fictional account of a settler at Jamestown in the 17th century, and "The Bubble Trailer" a modern tale of a child of divorces parents who copes with his new life. She was working on a history of the Etruscans at the time of her death, and it is sad to think that her work will never be published.

Donna wrote "D'Arcy" when she was teaching 6th graders. She wrote the story for her students, and as she finished each chapter, it was shared in her classroom. Yet, she held the manuscript for thirty years before she ventured into the publishing word. The Bubble Trailer followed quickly on the heels of D'Arcy.

I am comforted to know that Donna is enjoying the reward for the goodness of her life and the kindness and gentleness which were her personal traits. She read some of my books, and encouraged me in my writing, providing some good advice. I am glad she saw what I feel is my best book so far, and thoroughly saddened by the fact that I can no longer call on her to listen to me read a book to her over the phone or in her sitting room, and share some thought on how to make it better!


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 29, 2007, 07:40:46 PM

Speaking of writers...


What would we do without teachers like you and your friend Donna Doe Southall? I was an illiterate little nincompoop in the sixth grade—and proud of being an illiterate little barbarian too. But after each chapter of Charlotte’s Web, Miss B would smile at us and close the door of her tiny clothes closet behind her and cry. I was totally blown away that a book could be that meaningful to a grown up…despite my smirky bully boyfriends laughing it up. That’s when I started reading books—skeptically at first. And then more and more seriously—as the Web opened up. It was my introduction to the Labyrinth…the Labyrinth of the Imagination. And because of her…things will never be the same…


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on September 29, 2007, 09:31:40 PM
Puget,

I am so glad that you had a Miss B. in your life. I can see how much literature has enriched you.

And, I know all about those smirky little boys, whether in sixth grade or in ninth grade. It is a pleasure to have them as a foil to the teacher-pleasing little girls.

I was talking to a former student a few months ago when his daughter got her picture in the paper with one of the royal guards, when the Queen came to Jamestown and Williamsburg. I had to congratulate him on her interest in history, and had a chance to hear my former student tell me how much he remembers of my classes. He confessed that in high school, his only goal was to be the "class clown", and I reminded him of some of the memoriable things he said and did that were truly funny. He has been very successful in life, and was considering going to college even though he is approaching forty. I reminded him that I didn't start college until in my thirties, and that never mind the grades he got in high school, he had the ability to succeed in college if he wanted to.

Donna cared very much about her students, which, in the area where she taught, was like teaching to the United Nations. The book she wrote was following an assignment she gave the kids to write a story about someone coming to Jamestown, since the were preparing for a class trip there, and the class challenged her to write one herself. That is the book she kept for thirty years until she felt encouraged enough to get it published.

The really memorable teachers are those who never have children "get over on them" because they don't take childish behavior seriously. They never feel the need to "get even" with their students, and their students both admire and learn from them. It is amazing how much students learn from the way in which a teacher conducts him/herself with the class and with the students individually. So much depends on the teacher's delivery of her own individualism, so much more, sometimes, than the actual lessons she is teaching. A good sense of humor makes any classroom work more smoothly!



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 29, 2007, 09:43:47 PM
I've found that you need far less humour in dealing with boys, in fact, sometimes it's hard to keep from laughing.  Now girls....it seems to them everything is a matter of life or death.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: weezo on September 29, 2007, 10:35:01 PM
Laurie,

I thoroughly enjoyed teaching my boys! Especially when I had them in all-boy classes where they didn't waste time showin off for the girls. One of my classes of mixed LD and EMH boys stood out. There was a boy who was diagnosed as retarded, but he always seemed more like the LD boys in his understanding. He spoke very little. When the boys' attention was wandering, I'd throw in a double-entendre joke, and Marcus would get it and break out into laughter. The rest of the boys then wanted to know what they had missed! Marcus always got those double-meaning jokes, no matter how sophisticated.

Once, the EMH teacher took a busload of the special ed kids to the science museum in Richmond. There was a talking computer that would talk back to you if you spoke to it. All the kids enjoyed that computer, but Marcus would not utter a word. So, his classmates refused to leave that spot until he did, and he finally did talk to the computer and it talked back to him. Triumph! I really think that Marcus was autistic rather than retarded, but that was before autism was well understood.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 29, 2007, 11:03:06 PM

...it seems to them everything is a matter of life or death.


Funny, you say that. That's how I felt all the way thru
junior high and high school. Everything was a matter
of life and death for me...my life was one big long
Hollywood melodrama.

Thank goodness I discovered Bette Davis and All About
Eve (
1955)...Bette Davis and Addison DeWitt clued me
in on a few things...like how the world really works...  :)




Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 29, 2007, 11:21:52 PM

I've found that you need far less humour in dealing with boys...


That's the reason you're such a good teacher, Hoffman.
You let us boys laugh at our own jokes. Which makes
us feel much better about ourselves dontchaknow.  :)

How long have we known each other now? At least
since The Comedians and BBB. And Urban Haiku
and all those other forums. Waning of the Middle
Ages
and that really neat one Beowulf...

And now Elba... Always supportive and into the
Book...whatever book we're discussing. Like AA
and TSATF. You're there, you've read the book and
you're ready to dialog. And discuss. And think...

Which makes you a Teacher in my book. Because
you teach "how to learn"...not just reportage or
surface grammar. You're interested in the "depth
grammar" too...you haven't given up learning yet.

And you stick up for "outsiders" too...  :)



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on September 30, 2007, 09:39:33 AM
Thank you Pugetopolis....very kind.  But I like kids, so teaching is usually quite enjoyable.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 30, 2007, 11:01:16 AM
http://forums.escapefromelba.com/index.php/topic,36.msg35013.html#msg35013


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 30, 2007, 06:26:01 PM
(http://images.tribe.net/tribe/upload/photo/015/feb/015febe6-df81-43eb-b3b1-ec3a294dbb3f)

Postmodern Picasso Interview

—for nnyhav and reader

Picasso—“The first question was hard.”

Faulkner—“The second question indicates that the first answer was inadequate.”

Picasso: “It is also a harder question.”

Faulkner: “And so much less likely to elicit a satisfactory response.”

Picasso: “I forget what the first question was?”

Faulkner: “That’s the most difficult question of all.”

Picasso—“That third question is a hard question.”

Faulkner—“So much more likely to elicit a shitty answer.”

Picasso—“That’s a stinky question.”

Faulkner—“You know these postmodernists; they jest and camp.”

Picasso—“What is camp?”

Faulkner—“Surely you jest.”

Picasso—“That’s a hard question…”







Dear Reader,

Well, you must be busy busy busy with all those lovely links
nnyhav so graciously provided you for your exquistie digital
delectation. Hmm--hmmm-gooooood!!!!

There's this little thing about POMO that many overlook but
that's a "hard" question to answer. Which elicits and even
more difficult question. And that is...how "camp" is one's
sensibility?

Faulkner can be very camp and so can Picasso...

The campiest short story by Faulkner I've read is one
entitled "Afternoon of a Cow" with Faulkner assuming
the character of Ernest V. Trueblood "much in the
manner of a postmodernist writer such as Paul Auster."
(Fargnoli & Golay, William Faulkner A-Z, page 5).

Sincerely yours,
E. V. Trueblood, Esq.



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on September 30, 2007, 07:09:37 PM

So many questions...so little time.

POMO camp is quite the quite. Faulkner's
tongue-in-cheek "Afternoon of a Cow" is
rather tres "magic realist" in the portrayal
of Ernest V. Trueblood who is Borgesian
just as much as Borges is in his short
stories "The Other" and "August 25, 1983"
in which Borges creates a "Double" who
is himself: his dream self, future self,
dead self...

Faulkner is much more mudane and
campy...Miss Trueblood is the finiky
side of Faulkner...who always did feel
rather defensive about the, well,
"unmanliness" of being a writer
rather than being a plumber or
bull-fighter or rough trade...



Afternoon of a Cow

“Mr. Faulkner and I were sitting under the mulberry with the afternoon’s first julep while he informed me what to write on the morrow, when Oliver appeared suddenly around d the corner of the smokehouse, running and with his eyes looking quite large and white. “Mr. Bill!” he cried. “Day done sot fire to de pasture!”—William Faulkner, “Afternoon of a Cow,” Uncollected Stories of William Faulkner, New York: Vintage, 1997, page 424

And then Faulkner launches off into a marvelously campy satire of himself as country gentleman writer dontchaknow:

“Shit!!!” cried Faulkner, with that promptitude which quite often marks his actions, “Gawddamn those boys to hell!” springing up and referring to his own son, Malcolm and to his brother’s son, James and to the cook’s son, Rover…”

The short story is a marvelous “unreliable narrator” romp into Faulkner’s imagination—which is very earthy and funny. He can look at himself—and laugh.

“[The boys] refer to me as Ernest be Toogood—a crass and low form of so-called wit or humor to which children, these two in particular—are only too prone…”

And this little Trueblood / Faulkner jewel:

“I have attempted on more than one occasion (this was years ago; I have long since ceased) to explain to them that my position in the household is in no sense menial, since I have been writing Mr. Faulkner’s novels and short stories for years. But I long ago became convinced (and even reconciled) that neither of them either knew or cared about the meaning of the term…”


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: nnyhav on September 30, 2007, 11:20:32 PM
via book/daddy: Beckett for Babies
http://crookedhouse.typepad.com/crookedhouse/2007/09/post.html


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on October 01, 2007, 12:03:30 AM
via book/daddy: Beckett for Babies
http://crookedhouse.typepad.com/crookedhouse/2007/09/post.html


Faulkner for Babies

Too bad they don't have a "Faulkner for Babies" too...

You're pretty good at cut and pasting links. Like over in Latin Lit. But then
so what? Are you trying to say something? I assume you're making a great
intellectual statement along the lines of "Beckett for Babies"...you know
like some posters and their snarky little one-liners. Of course, I'm not
saying you're doing that...you're much too suave and intelligent for that
kind of thing. Your stunning insights in Latin Lit and Meandering fill me
with nothing but POMO admiration for your obviously well-endowed
intellectual abilities.





Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on October 01, 2007, 01:16:13 AM
(http://www.randomhouse.com/images/dyn/cover/?source=9780679732181&width=100)

Hoffman Reader Martin John Rmdig

Well, I guess this sort of concludes our little Faulkner discussion. Thank you—I’ve enjoyed it very much. It was the kind of in-depth discussion we used to have in the NYTimes book forums.

Eudora Welty once said that Faulkner’s work is like a mountain—and our discussions on AA and TSATF are just minor excursions up a trail or two to the top. Maybe one never gets to the top—because Yoknapatawpha is spread out so much. We didn’t get to touch too much on the Snopes or the later work—but AA and TSATF are good places to start. And return to again and again—learning new things about the Deep South and the Southern imagination…

I’m sorry Martin we weren’t able to read Wild Palms together—perhaps another time soon we can discuss Borges’ excellent translation and its influence on Latin American writers. Especially the magic realists…


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: nnyhav on October 01, 2007, 11:31:34 AM
[...]
[...]But then so what? Are you trying to say something?[...]
(http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1119/580865728_eae09ba481.jpg) (http://farm1.static.flickr.com/133/395265492_f82a26a589.jpg) (http://crookedhouse.typepad.com/crookedhouse/images/2007/09/19/bird_on_head.jpg)

bonus link: http://phronesisaical.blogspot.com/2007/09/william-faulkner.html


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on October 01, 2007, 07:48:22 PM
(http://bp2.blogger.com/_A8Vg4eNrfpg/RvkMP_W0-hI/AAAAAAAAAcI/7OPpFa207LE/s320/DSCF0777.jpg)

Another Country

“Fornication?” he replied, “But that was in another country, and, besides, the wench is dead.”—Christopher Marlowe, The Jew of Malta

This offense omitted from Mrs. Owens’ letter bothered her for three long years, apparently, and Faulkner’s brief note at the bottom of the letter pretty much answered her question somewhat…

Or did it?

I was somewhat phronesisaically perplexed, nnyhav, by this bonus link of yours—at least at first but then I’m used to your enigmatic postings. I find them intriguing—although I must admit I have to sometimes put on my  “magic realist” hat to interpret your links and Chirico-esque thinking.

But that’s okay—I’d rather be phronesisaically perplexed than petulantly put-down like over in the Movie Club where we’re supposedly discussing Guillermo del Toro and the magic realism of Pan’s Labyrinth.
   :)



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on October 01, 2007, 07:56:33 PM
Footnote:

I asked liquidsilver to create a new forum for discussing one movie at a time—like we did in the NYTimes book group discussions. Several of us had been reading Borges—his short stories on the Other. Cinematic “fabulation” I thought might give us some insights into literary “fabulation.”

But unfortunately most of the Movie and Movie Club dilettantes over there tend to preen themselves and their own personal preferences to this and that—rather than discuss Theory… the theory of magic, fairy tales and Fabulation. They prefer office water-cooler chit-chat to any in-depth discussion. It’s like they almost refuse to let a Thread happen—or stick to one movie. It’s like another country…

These nefarious individuals—I shan’t name names—prefer to quibble inanely over movies like quibbling over the items in a menu at a restaurant—the menu being their mind and tacky preferences for this or that movie, this or that genre, this or that actor. While I wanted to get into magic realism, fairy tales and fabulation from del Toro’s POV. Alas and alack—their limited IQ’s are down there in the You-Tube gutter…probably where they belong…


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on October 01, 2007, 08:36:51 PM
Another Country

The interesting thing about Mrs. Owens’ letter is that the “blank” space she had in her query to Faulkner could just as well be filled with many words other than Marlowe’s clever use of the word ‘fornication’ in his play.

http://phronesisaical.blogspot.com/2007/09/william-faulkner.html

For example, the word I’ve been ‘fabulating’ with here in Fiction while discussing Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom and TSATF is a rather controversial shocking word that many esteemed readers like john and rmdig are loathe to use or even mention in the context of Faulkner’s AA or TSATF.

And that word is “homosexuality”—especially in regard to Quentin Compson the troubled young man from Mississippi who ends up in a Harvard dormitory room with a roommate named Shreve McCannon.

The Faulkner scholar Noel Polk concludes a recent essay on this shocking matter by saying:

“I hasten to add, in closing, that nothing I’ve said here today purports to argue that Quentin is a practicing homosexual; there is no such evidence, but only this galaxy of troubling evidence that at very least suggests how deeply the homoerotic urge and the fear of homosexuality have attached themselves to his sensibilities and sensitivities, and how awful it is to feel pulled in that direction when his culture and his family assumes heterosexuality, problematic though it be, as the right and proper end of a man.”—Noel Polk, “How Shreve Gets in to Quentin’s Pants,” American Literature Association 2005,

http://www.olemiss.edu/depts/english/faulkner/MLA%202005%20Queering%20Faulkner%20Noel%20Polk.doc

Up until fairly recently literary research into the homoeroticism of Mr. Faulkner’s oeuvre has been somewhat lacking—but the recent Yoknapatawpha Conference at Ole Miss on “Faulkner and Sexuality” should have some interesting papers and discussions coming out soon. Race rather than sexuality has dominated most of the Faulkner industry.

If you’ve had the chance to read my “Harvard Snapshot” postings here in the Fiction forum on Quentin Compson and Shreve McCannon as well as some of the other AA / TSATF characters such as Henry Sutpen and Charles Bon, you’ll see how I’ve approached not only the delicate issue of Harvard homosexuality and queer dormitory life but also the homosocial aspects of Southern life in Faulkner's novels with little vignettes or literary snapshots doing my own version of POMO 'subversion' of the Text:

(http://images.tribe.net/tribe/upload/photo/e4d/7d9/e4d7d9e6-eef7-42fb-838d-c3982cd3a172)

Harvard Snapshot

I loved Dalton Ames—
He was my sister’s lover.
And he was mine too…

“Dalton Ames. Dalton Ames. Dalton Ames. Dalton Ames. Dalton Ames. And I will look down and see my murmuring bones and the deep water like wind, like a roof of wind. Dalton Ames, Dalton Ames.”—William Faulkner, “June Second, 1910,” TSATF, New York, Norton, 1994, page 51

I’d wake up in the morning—Dalton Ames would be standing there by the door—it was a dream of course—the same dream I’d have every night—but still he’d be standing there—as surely as Shreve McCannon—that’s the way I woke up every morning—dying in Dalton’s arms—under the bridge—it was almost too intense—that’s how intense it was—that’s how intense it got—the moment…

There in my freezing room at Harvard—colder than a gawddamn witch’s tit—there in that cold New England winter night—that’s what Shreve would say—colder than a gawddamn witch’s tit—and that wasn’t the half of it—even Shreve wasn’t used to it—even with his home up there in Canada—he wasn’t used to it either—the snow, the ice, the cold dark nights that gripped the land by the throat like a big mean timber wolf—all I wanted to do was stay in bed—all I wanted was to stay in bed and keep warm—pull the covers over my head and hide from Night of the Union Dead…


What I did with these various POMO sketches was  similar to an exercise that took place at the American Literature Association 2005 Boston, May 26-29:

Slow Reading Faulkner: Friday, May 27, 3:30-4:50 p.m.
Session 14-B Chair: Anne Goodwyn Jones, University of Missouri at Rolla

“Each speaker will offer a close reading of a single Faulkner passage chosen by the executive board. The passage chosen is from The Sound and the Fury and appears in Quentin's section (Norton pp. 94-104 and Vintage pp. 186-203). It represents Quentin's uninterrupted memory/imagination of the scene with Caddy at the stream and the fight with Dalton Ames, beginning with "one minute she was standing there the next he was yelling . . . ." and ending with "her blood surged steadily beating and beating against my hand." This passage appears between two scenes late in the section: the "trial" for Quentin's involvement with the little Italian girl and, after the fight with Gerald Bland, Shreve's efforts to help Quentin clean up his blood at the pump. The link--click on the title--provides a bit of the text preceding and following the marked passage as well as the passage itself. It can be downloaded and printed; it's an .rtf file.”

Except my approach is haiku-generated Fabulation based on a photo I picked approximating the magic realistic image I have of the two young Harvard freshman. This is how I take notes while reading Faulkner—the posted ones I wanted to share with my partners in crime and literature here in Fiction.

The Other Country for me is the blank word left open like an abyss by Mrs. Owens’ letter to Faulkner—the abyss that opens up on page 93 of the “June Second 1910” section of TSATF (Norton):

“No,” Shreve said, running the beast with two backs (Iago in Othello) and she blurred in the winking oars running the swine of Euboeleus running coupled with how many Caddy…”

To me POMO lit crit is subversive—what could be more subversive that putting that ‘word’ in the blank in Mrs. Owens letter to Faulkner…and then running with it?


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on October 01, 2007, 09:08:47 PM
(http://images.tribe.net/tribe/upload/photo/015/feb/015febe6-df81-43eb-b3b1-ec3a294dbb3f)

One final note. In regard to my POMO version of Cherico's "The Duo"...

Noting your Cherico painting profile pic, I went ahead and deconstructed Cherico's "The Duo" and subverted it by including two of the great Modernists: Picasso and Faulkner. Doing it rather than just writing about it seems to me to be an important strategy in the POMO repertoire = not only writing from many points of view but also the many ways to do lit crit and performance art simultaneously.  :)

This 'camp' element of POMO subversion of any text or painting that I mentioned earlier has a certain humor, irony and whimsicality to it which Professor Noel Polk form Ole Miss captures at the end of his essay:

“To a certain extent, of course, Shreve’s literally wearing Quentin’s pants is a Faulknerian joke, of a piece with the one that drives the present-day narrative of the Benjy section: Luster’s dogged determination to find a golf ball that he can sell to a golfer for a quarter and go to the show. My friend Tom McHaney suggested long ago that not just Luster but all males in The Sound and the Fury are searching for lost balls. But neither joke is really as funny as it seems, is it? Shreve might not be in Quentin’s pants, but he’s surely in his head—a far more terrifying place for him to be.”

—Noel Polk, “How Shreve Gets in to Quentin’s Pants,” American Literature Association 2005,

http://www.olemiss.edu/depts/english/faulkner/MLA%202005%20Queering%20Faulkner%20Noel%20Polk.doc


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on October 01, 2007, 09:30:00 PM
Nnyhav


Currently I'm in Gombrowicz' shorts.


Currently I'm in Quentin's shorts....   :)


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: nnyhav on October 01, 2007, 09:47:55 PM
(http://images.tribe.net/tribe/upload/photo/015/feb/015febe6-df81-43eb-b3b1-ec3a294dbb3f)                                                                          (http://www.visit4info.com/sitecontent/LG/fullZZZZZZTVC060329125853PIC.jpg)
Hey, I appreciate the thought, and the effort. Little did I think that when I chose Enigma of a Dave that it would call forth such commentary. Chosen by chance, in part because of the two small figures deep in the background (continuity with The Art of Conversation; Gare Montparnasse was also in the running - a play upon my employer's advertising, see above). Good of you to bring them into the foreground.

Time constrains my engagement here, as it does so much else; what with work, with reading at hand, etc, I couldn't take on Absalom2!, nor can I participate except at the odd stolen moments, but when I happen upon links that those involved in discussion might find interesting, I try to oblige.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on October 01, 2007, 11:17:36 PM
(http://bp2.blogger.com/_A8Vg4eNrfpg/RvkMP_W0-hI/AAAAAAAAAcI/7OPpFa207LE/s320/DSCF0777.jpg)

(http://images.tribe.net/tribe/upload/photo/566/3d6/5663d60f-f76d-4b42-ba92-f49cd5353531)

Two texts. Both texts with many hypertextual links...

For example, Pan’s Labyrinth has a second disk that may interest some of the more artistic cineastes in our midst. The Director’s Notebook on this fascinating second disk is a Book—the screen zeroes in on the actual directors notebook begun in 1993. There are hypertext links which lead into Guillermo del Toro discussing how the movie evolved as well as his own concept of what “magic realism” is… This is a very sophisticated movie…yet simple at the same time. The grotesque creatures remind me of some people I know in fact…


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: martinbeck3 on October 03, 2007, 01:14:20 PM
PUGET, we can discuss The Wild Palms in here just between you and me.No hay problema. To me it feels so third world that I´d bet Faulkner lives round the corner.The delta is just 15 minutes away from my store cum loft in San Isidro and only 5 minutes away runs the Rio de la Plata where I spend almost every weekend and most of my life.This Rio de la Plata is exactly like the Mississipi. When I went to Louisiana I took an excusion down the Old Man River with some stereotype pictures on my mind as we left the harbor I looked around just to say to the FP,"We´ve come all this way just to see fkng B.A. !!!",EXACTLY THE SAME!

There was a writer Horacio Quiroga whose stories might have been written by Faulkner himself,the same goes for Lobodon Garra-though he´s not as good.I used to play with his children as a kid.Garra was the son of President Justo and he spent months on end writing in the islands of the Delta (Tigre).
 
NNYHAV, is not very real (just look at his avatar,the statue all alone) he was named by the Infamous Kult of the Search Feature, aka K/SF, Meister the Linkmeister.I think he is a professor and he´s trying to get something into our hard heads .Like he uses the links as Plato his questions,mostly to no avail.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on October 03, 2007, 11:04:14 PM
MARTIN, let's do it. Hoffman will be interested in this too.

Thank you. I needed some time with Absalom, Absalom...

... for this latest reading. Each time I read Faulkner...

it's different if you know what I mean...


 


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: martinbeck3 on October 04, 2007, 12:28:27 PM
PUGET, in the first lines it says that the couple wore "bombachas" -typical trousers worn by gauchos and owner of the ranch alike- I guess Borges here shows his *aristocratic* short sightness :). I bet Fulkner wrote cahkis(sp.?).
What is gumbo?

Faulkner is dangerous.If we make the mistake of reading The Wild Palms from the point of view of the XXI cent. it feels creepy like when he says *a bed not even fit for a *negro*.Don´t know the equivalent word WF uses.

His description of atmospheres is so intense that I can feel the ominous noise of palm trees shaken by the wind.

Do you think the Old Man has two meanings like he is the flesh and bones man and the Mississipi? Guess what JLB writes as a footnote to Jesse James and Diamond Dick? Juan Moreira and Hormiga Negra .Two outlaws that never existed.       


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on October 04, 2007, 12:47:22 PM
"La jujer usa pantalones---le dijo--.  Es dicir, no bombachas de senora, sino pantalones, pantalones do hombre"

"She's got on pants...the these ladies' slacks, but pants, man's pants....."

Gumbo is a soup that comes I think from Louisiana.  It is sort of thick because it begins with a roux.  All have peppers, onion, celery, tomatoes or sauce.  Then you add meat and seafood (shrimp, crab) or sausage.  Sometimes rice is added to the soup but I think the traditional way to serve it is over rice.  The big ingredient is file powder...made from the sassafrass tree.

I can't find the reference to the bed.  I have the Editorial Sudamericana edition.  If you have that one, what page?


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on October 04, 2007, 01:06:21 PM
The Old Man and duality of characters....Faulkner seems to use the Old Man to show the nihilistic futility of human existence.  He give us the Old Man (the convict) who keeps pressing on, doing whatever is called for in the moment, and there are times when he rises to the level of the heroic.  But in the end, his lot is even worse than it was before. 

And the Old Man Mississippi...man can dam it levee it but in the end, nature prevails. 

If man's attempts come to nought, and nature will prevail, then the only reasonable actions are the actions that are called for in the moment.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: martinbeck3 on October 04, 2007, 05:01:08 PM
HOFFMAN, my edition is a *commerative* one ,sudamericana 1999 (9th edition),translated by JLBorges,only 5000 copies.

On page 21 it says"...la cama,de la que la mujer decia que no la ofreceria ni a un negro".

The Old Man is a great character and so like the *isleños* in our delta who keep coming back after every flood and building on the same place as if they were condemned.Such resignation.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tigre_Partido

http://www.pacificislandtravel.com/south_america/argentina/about_destin/buenosaires_deltadelparana.html


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: martinbeck3 on October 04, 2007, 05:11:47 PM
Gumbo is probably delicious.Thanks for the recipe.

That Old Man has dignity. 


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: martinbeck3 on October 04, 2007, 05:42:59 PM
HOFFMAN:
I see you understand spanish.This is the best I could find on youtube .This song was written by Teresa Parodi and it describes one Pedro Canoeiro an Argentine version of the Old Man.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G9ly2tHrYnc&mode=related&search=

Try listen to *canta-autora* Parodi she sings about the people we are talking  about, the *isleños*.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on October 05, 2007, 01:20:54 AM
Wow that little girl can sing!  But the music is good, too.  Pedro Canoist could be the Old Man, sleeping and dreaming of the water, all hope leaving him.

On the idea of the Old Man having dignity...I like the way Faulkner wrote about the Old Man learning to hunt alligators, that for the first time he understood the difference between working for himself and working for the prison.  There was the sense that he had the true dignity of a man.









Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on October 05, 2007, 01:32:43 AM
"...la cama,de la que la mujer decia que no la ofreceria ni a un negro".


Faulkner uses the derogatory term (as he often does...different times, different places) ..."the bed in which his wife said she would not ask a n... servant to sleep"


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: martinbeck3 on October 05, 2007, 12:40:15 PM
HOFFMAN, I doubt JLB considered the *n* word discriminative at all. One of his human mistakes is that he was totally politically incorrect,I suppose that it is an anacronic judgment on my side. Faulkner,too.He didn´t live through the 60´s or did he?

Harry is such a sorry character.Poor guy he´s lost his best years living a *flat* life,afraid to live in the world and now thinks it might be late and soon he won´t even be wanting things like love,money etc.

The first time he and Charlotte go to a hotel to have sex -p.43-the Borges trade mark is written in neon lights he translates that the "dark hall had been (fatigado= tired) by salesmen on Saturdays..." I wonder what the English version says,*worn?*.

Just a quotation I underlined ( my trans.):"he thought maybe we don´t suffer in our hearts ,not even in our sensitivity,but in our vanity..." then it goes on that maybe we cheat ourselves or are masochistic,with that I don´t agree.I think it´s vanity.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on October 05, 2007, 12:49:53 PM
martinbeck3,

"One of his human mistakes is that he was totally politically incorrect,I suppose that it is an anacronic judgment on my side. Faulkner,too.He didn´t live through the 60´s or did he?"

My own estimations exactly. Or, why I wasn't too interested in Faulkner's Old South sexually accepted discriminations as being up for discussed as resalvaged literature. I dislike  racism posing as art but ,don't blame Faulkner today,as he's dead, it's that other person furthering it for their own purposes and using Faulkner.

I don't get het up about Borges contributions to literature per se unless he propagandizes when he could no longer tell the difference between "right" as wrong. As long as everybody knows the score.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on October 05, 2007, 04:12:50 PM
Faulkner's (and Borges') political incorrectness....as I said different time, different place. 

But you will love the passage on the hotel:

It seemed to Wilbourne that he had never been in his life, and would never be again, so aware of her as he was while she stood in the center of the dingy lobby raddled with the Saturday nights of drummers and of minor race-track hangers-on while he signed the two fictitious names on the pad and gave to the clerk the sixth two dollars which were to have gone to his sister but did not, waiting for him, making no effort for effacement, quiet, contained, and with a quality peculiar to her but was an attribute of all women at htis instant in their lives.....   (The Borges translation is quite shorter than the original.  ;) )


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: nytempsperdu on October 05, 2007, 09:19:19 PM
Quote
via book/daddy: Beckett for Babies
http://crookedhouse.typepad.com/crookedhouse/2007/09/post.html

Pardon the interruption, but nnyhav, that's hilarious!  I did note that I thought the "I can't go on. I'll go on." quote had another line between those two, "I won't go on." Am I imagining that? (It's so mortifying to find that one has been misquoting something for years.)   I'm pretty sure it's from one of the trilogy, probably Molloy.

Thanks again to the Amazing Linkmeister ("Call me Al"?)


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: nnyhav on October 05, 2007, 10:01:19 PM
Quote
via book/daddy: Beckett for Babies
http://crookedhouse.typepad.com/crookedhouse/2007/09/post.html
Pardon the interruption, but nnyhav, that's hilarious!  I did note that I thought the "I can't go on. I'll go on." quote had another line between those two, "I won't go on." Am I imagining that? (It's so mortifying to find that one has been misquoting something for years.)   I'm pretty sure it's from one of the trilogy, probably Molloy.

Thanks again to the Amazing Linkmeister ("Call me Al"?)
http://forums.nytimes.com/top/opinion/readersopinions/forums/books/2001readinggrouparchive/atswimtwobirdsbyflannobrien/index.html?offset=230
cf http://nnyhav.blogspot.com/2007/09/say-no-more.html
PSst: The Unnamable. Last words.
...


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on October 06, 2007, 11:26:14 AM

Faulkner's (and Borges') political incorrectness....as I said different time, different place. 



I'm really less concerned with Faulkner's(and Borges') political incorrectness or correctness for their time and place when written than I am about the present attitudes of a more democratic public who,granted, will accept either writer when cognizant of exactly what was the time and place.  This, however, is not the manner in which the former author was voted upon here which stands on its own record. One ponders what would have been the remarks concomitant had there been any members of minority groups concerned among the escape from elba fora members at the time of the vote. As I understand it, readers of Faulkner are not whites only.

Of course, after all the voting assumptions posted before what might be called a discussion, there is the further matter could one have predicted the handling in an objectionable way that was purported to pass for discussion. So yes, some people had their freedom to say exactly what they felt free to say. Goody for them but as a matter of record it is also the reason there are others who would never consider participating in such a  personally-driven derogatory treatment of a novel whose place and time we already know were racist.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: nytempsperdu on October 06, 2007, 06:21:19 PM
Quote
PSst: The Unnamable. Last words....

Many thanks again. At least I got that it was from the trilogy, which I also think is the source of the wonderful sequence with the sucking stones, but will search for that another time.  Meanwhile, I'll go on...


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: nnyhav on October 06, 2007, 06:32:21 PM
Quote
[...]  Meanwhile, I'll go on...
You must go on.
(So it is written. Or interpolated anyway, a couple of times on the last page.)

btw, pedanticly, or is it pedantically, the misquoting is in the periods, as it's all part of one looong sentence at the end ...

another update: more misquotation: http://codepoetics.com/poetix/?p=290
also, OED admits both forms, the former rare, of adverbalizing 'pedantic'; but the word that caught my eye was 'pediculous', which means lousy, literally.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on October 07, 2007, 10:43:22 PM
"The Bear"

Forgive me—I don’t want to seem pedantic or pediculous, but several Elba Readers have mentioned to me they’d like to do some more Faulkner.

Specifically “The Bear” which many critics point to as one of Faulkner’s better short stories. It appears in The Uncollected Stories of William Faulkner, New York: Vintage, 1997, 281-295.

“The Bear” is only 14 pages long—so we can get thru it fairly quickly without getting lost in the Labyrinth of TSATF or AA. I haven’t read it yet—but there’s got to be a reason why it’s such a famous short story. For many readers, it seems to be the introduction to Faulkner.

“The Bear” is sandwiched in between “Delta Autumn” and “Race in the Morning” in TUSOWF. I know that Hoffman has read all the Faulkner short stories and Reader has read “The Bear.” So perhaps that threesome would constitute a forum for a nice discussion?

IMHO Faulkner’s short stories are like snapshots—compared with his novels. After spending time with TSATF and AA—I’d personally like to dip into one short story at a time in TUSOWF and see what Faulkner was up to.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on October 07, 2007, 11:22:38 PM
I believe Johnr thinks "The Bear" is Faulkner's best short story.  Maybe his best writing, too?


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: nytempsperdu on October 08, 2007, 12:54:57 AM
Quote
Beckett realizes his own impotence, his own irrelevance, his own spurious stupidity, but despite it all, he steals himself and continues.

nnyhav: "pediculous" is new to me, too.  Wonder if kin to "ridiculous"  such matters make me miss the old Etymology forum, home of matters pedantic, semantic, or just antic, as from your cited piece I just love "he steals himself and continues."  Sounds like something out of trickster folklore.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on October 08, 2007, 01:17:16 AM

I believe Johnr thinks "The Bear" is Faulkner's
best short story.  Maybe his best writing, too?



Hoffman -- you got me to read "The Big Shot" awhile back...it opened up the "Popeye"
character in Sanctuary nicely. Since many of Faulkner's novels are his published short
stories he wrote to keep a roof over his head that he sandwiched together into
larger narratives, the short story approach could tell us a lot about writing and how
writers put things together into larger pictures...

I've read "Afternoon of a Cow" where Faulkner parodies himself as Ernest V. Trueblood,
a story first published in France in 1943. Probably Sartre read it...have you read Sartre's
essay in the Norton TSATF? It's entitled "On TSATF: Time." It seems the Existentialists
like Sartre and Fabulists like Borges were interested in what Faulkner was doing with
Time and Narrative. The narratology of Yoknapatawpha existence, nicht wahr?

"Mr. Acarius" another satirical reflection on himself -- Faulkner the alcoholic and his
escape from a detox clinic from hell...

"Evangeline" I haven't finshed yet...

Of course, I read "Delta Autumn"...and did a POMO biopic series on that.  :)

Reader is reading or has read "Go Down, Moses"...

Short stories...a different proposition than TSATF and AA...




Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on October 08, 2007, 01:56:00 AM
I haven't yet read it, but here is the essay Pugetopolis mentioned if anyone would like to see it.  I will read it tomorrow.

http://www.usask.ca/english/faulkner/main/criticism/sartre.html

And there is this:

http://shs.westport.k12.ct.us/chia/AP/handouts/SAFintro.htm


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on October 08, 2007, 06:28:48 AM
Hoffman—I started reading “The Bear” tonight—but I got diverted. Instead I reread Sartre’s essay on Faulkner tonight. I see it differently now after our recent reading of Absalom, Absalom and The Sound and the Fury. That’s the thing with Faulkner—rereading AA and TSATF seems to always be different than the previous time. Both AA and TSATF are labyrinthine—it easy for me to get lost in the Narrative. This most recent reading of AA and TSATF, for example, made me think more and more about Time and what Faulkner was doing with Time. Sartre’s “On the Sound and the Fury: Time in the Work of Faulkner” brought out some points I hadn’t thought of before—and as I read it I took notes about Time. The more I read—the more I realized that Sartre was actually talking about the Moment. He uses the word “present”—but that word seems to me to be the wrong word because it keeps the idea of past-present-future moving like Quentin’s watch, i.e. chronological time. I’m posting my notes for you to read and comment on. I hope you like it.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on October 08, 2007, 06:35:17 AM
The Faulkner Moment

http://www.usask.ca/english/faulkner/main/criticism/sartre.html

[Although Sartre uses the word “present” when discussing time, the past and the future—I’ve decided to use another word. The word “present” for me implies the very thing that Sartre is trying to avoid, i.e. chronological tick-tock clock time. A better word for me is the word “moment” instead of “present”—as in the Moment. I’ve gone over Sartre’s essay—and appropriated it for my own subversive agenda. And that is to extend Faulkner’s technique—into POMO writing, e.g. the “Harvard Snapshots” I posted from our recent AA / TSATF readings here in Fiction. Deconstructing the Faulkner Moment—it’s simple actually.]

Nothing happens.

The Moment does not unfold.

The Moment is the frozen speed at the heart of things.

Storytelling is inside this Moment.

It’s the only thing that can keep up with it—

That’s where the story is told.

The Moment is inside each episode—obscenely obstructing us and fighting us...

Like glue sticking to every sentence, page and chapter.

The story isn’t an orderly plot written first—then shuffled afterwards...

Like a pack of cards to look fragmentary and discontinuous.

Faulkner tells the story the only way it can be told—in the Moment.

Each episode is maddeningly intertextual—not just subtextual lurking beneath the surface.

Many texts and episodes are going on at the same time.

Reading one episode—opens up a whole can of worms.

Episodes lead into other episodes—thru labyrinthine detours…

Clock time is symbolic time—the “present” is the Moment.

The Moment is catastrophic—Events lurking and stalking you.

Like Benjy’s castration, Caddy’s pregnancy, Jason’s plottings.

Like Quentin’s suicide, Bon’s murder, Dalton Ames’ passion.

The Moment is an accretion of stories—blown-away and scattered.

The Moment is stoic—we sink into its static serenity.

The Moment is shabby, timeless & patient.

The Moment is constantly moving—without moving.

The Moment is constantly diminishing without progress.

It’s like sitting in a passenger compartment in a waiting train.

A train passing on the next track—gives us the illusion of movement.

As if we’re moving—and the moving train is standing still.

But that kind of movement is illusionary movement.

Just as moving time—is illusionary movement.

Sartre calls it—sinking into Time.

Faulkner calls it—storytelling—

The Moment has a frozen & unimaginable immobility.

The Moment engenders storytelling…

Because the Moment—tells the story.

The Moment tells the story—thru the writer.

How or why storytelling can do this—it’s a Mystery.

Walker Percy did it in The Moviegoer—

But Percy’s nonfiction books—couldn’t get any closer.

Language, left brain, right brain—all that discursivity.

But after all he was trained to be a doctor—not a writer.

TB nixed his first profession—but that was okay.

Writers ran in his family—the Mississippi muse…

The Moment is the sum of its climactic stories—

Just like Quentin—is the sum total of his climactic experiences.

The Moment is a sort of super-reality we constantly sink back into.

This unspeakable Moment—leaking at every seam.

This monstrous obsessive involuntary Moment—

Supposedly being lost and recaptured by writers like Proust.

But for Faulkner the Moment can’t be lost and found—

There is no Lost and Found Department for the Moment.

The Moment is a Mausoleum—full of the Living Undead.

The Moment happens when you suddenly realize it.

Nothing can help you—not religion, pride, medicine, technology—

It’s then you realize you don’t really don’t need anything.

Writing in the Moment—you become the Moment.

The storyless Moment—causes despair, guilt, loneliness…

Like Proust’s lovers in Les Plaisirs et les Jours—

Clutching their past loves, losing them, trying to relive them—

Like Quentin in the Harvard dormitory room with Shreve—

Constantly reliving the Dalton Ames Moment—

Dreaming about Dalton—seeing him standing by the door.

Reliving the Sutpen Moment—thru Henry and Charles Bon.

Quentin entering the Sutpen Moment—only to find one thing.

Channeling Henry Sutpen—in love with Charles Bon.

This shock of recognition—buttresses the Moment.

Temporalizes it and makes it hyper-real—

But the Moment destroys Quentin—

Harvard isn’t exactly enlightened Academe today.

No more than Mississippi—nurtured him to be himself…

The Moment—is a bond without design.

The Moment matures willy-nilly on its own.

The Moment depends on whatever issue the gods happen to be floating at the time.

Love for Proust—was different than Faulkner.

Proust’s Albertine was supposedly a lesbian—attracted by and to the narrator.

POMO literary research—indicates the opposite.

Albertine was Albert—disguised for literary purposes.

The French Zeitgeist demanded it—morally.

Quentin was no Albertine—he wasn’t a lesbian.

Quentin was gay—or sensed he was gay.

POMO literary research—indicates that as well.

Faulkner was no Proust—he didn’t live in the closet.

Faulkner was more subtle—than Marcel Proust.

Faulkner used Quentin—for his male Albertine.

Quentin had already sunk deeply into the Moment.

Quentin was already dead—according to his monologues.

Quentin saw his suicide in the past already…

That’s how far he’d sunk down into the Moment.

Quentin was like Faulkner—narrating the past in the Moment.

The moment is more than just the pluperfect…

The Moment is the now of annihilation and remembering.

The Moment narrates the past—unraveling recollections.

The Moment is absurd—it gets rid of past, present and future…

Without chronological time—day-to-day existence is absurd.

What are we without recollections—and intuitions of the future?

According to Sartre—Faulkner went beyond Proust.

For Quentin homosexuality was a fatality—not an undertaking.

The Sutpen-Bon Affair wasn’t exactly encouraging was it?

Henry Sutpen and Charles Bon—got caught up in the Moment.

They ran away from Sutpen’s Hundred—to live in New Orleans.

Then off to the Civil War—to live even more in the Moment.

Each day living their lives—as if it were the last.

That’s really living in the Moment—the life & death Moment.

But without struggling against time—life becomes Absurd.

A tale told by an idiot—full of sound and fury—nothingness.

The Moment needs to be “temporalized—according to Sartre.

Faulkner sinks into the Moment—the Yoknapatawpha Moment.

The Yoknapatawpha Moment is not only temporalized—

It’s both temporalized and localized in Faulkner’s imagination.

Other writers have done this—like the poet Charles Olson.

Maximus his epic poem—the sum-total that is Gloucester.

Olson’s projective verse—the cutting edge of POMO poetry.

Postmodern poetics—parallel postmodern novels.

Yoknapatawpha—the Mississippi Moment.

Faulkner sinks into that Moment—it’s like quicksand…

Then he pulls himself out—and tells a story.

Sometime a short story—then later on novels.

Writers aren’t the sum total of what they have—

Writers are the totality of what they don’t have.

The Faulkner Moment—is simply writing in the Now.

Now is the Moment—when writers tell their stories.

It’s the only way the story can be told—apocalyptically.

Destroying the illusion of time—becoming the Moment.

Told by an idiot like Benjy—the perfect Absurd narrator.

Told in the Moment—thru Faulkner storytelling.

Told by Quentin—thru the Moment.

A story told by Quentin—thru Faulkner at Harvard.

Faulkner using his characters—to get into the Moment.

The Moment is un-novelistic

Most of the time…
  :)


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on October 08, 2007, 11:48:33 AM
I'm jut sitting down to read the Sartre, but I got to your post first.  One thing for now, on time and Olsen.  The big idea I've seen associated with in that work (and I haven't read it all) is “Thus Thucydides, I would be an historian as Herodotus was, looking for oneself for the evidence of what is said….”  Interesting here because Thucydides wrote a more cut-and-dried, objective reportage of history while Herodotus understood that history was personal.  If history is personal, then it can always be traced back to the moment  (maybe if it's impersonal, too). 

Opening TSATF with Benjy is brilliant, because for Benjy, time is only the moment.  There is no distinction between the moment of twenty years ago and the moment of now.  Time is a well and the moment he is living depends on how deep he dips his toe.  I get less of that vertical feeling of time with the other three, although, they are all stuck in the past, in moments that led to the now.  (The interesting thing, though, is to read "The Evening Sun" and note the Compson sibling's personalities as compared to those developed in TSATF.  Quentin is an observer, Caddie is a carer, Jason is well launched on his path to bitterness.  They are nine, seven, and five.  Benjy has not been born yet.)

(It would be interesting to compare Maximus, the Cantos and Leaves of Grass.  I think the word I remember but can't find now is not introspective, but rather introjective.  But perhaps this is true of all poetry?  Off to read Sartre.)




Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: qpowellx on October 08, 2007, 11:54:52 AM
I am new kid on the block, but exile from Meander/NYT.

I vote POISONWOOD BIBLE, or OUT STEALING HORSES
  Quill


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: qpowellx on October 08, 2007, 11:57:48 AM
Boy, did I blow that with my last and first post.  I was reading posts from April. Ignore me if I bump into everybody until my eyes adjust to the light.  Ignore my suggestion and I will read October posts.  Quill


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on October 08, 2007, 11:58:56 AM
Quill...nice to have you here   :)


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: qpowellx on October 08, 2007, 12:01:37 PM
Thanks


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on October 08, 2007, 01:36:41 PM
On the Sartre essay:

Is being/time a loop or is it as Heidegger views it...a dead end?  Does Faulkner's concept of time incorporate both views? 

If one lives only in the moment, and all further experiences spring from that experience, does the moment die many times? or does it persist?

I like the insight the Sartre provides on Quentin's destruction of his watch.  He can break the glass and tear off the hands, but the thing keeps ticking.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on October 08, 2007, 01:40:17 PM
On Arcarius:  persistent cough...nyquil


                   persistent time....fine whiskey


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: martinbeck3 on October 08, 2007, 04:23:26 PM
HOFFMAN, Faulkner´s time is neither a loop nor a dead end.Faulkner´s time is like Parmenides´:the river that flows and one never bathes in the same river twice.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: martinbeck3 on October 08, 2007, 04:25:30 PM
NYTEMPSPERDU, thanks to you I noticed the Becket for Babies the LINKMEISTER  had linked.It´s hilarious.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: johnr60 on October 08, 2007, 04:31:25 PM
Well Martin, the river was that other Greek but here's one from a guy named Chin at geocities.  That promotes Parmenides and the concept being discussed.

"the law of Conservation, is in fact a law of logical tautology, that what is is what is and is not what what is is not -- while the second law of thermodynamics is a law of statistical likelihood --... in a way... also logic. Logic... then, which Parmenides' Logos is, is the fundamental structure of the Universe. The strange things that quantum physics has thrown up are not violations of logic but merely circumventions of logic, which actually further demonstrate (its)...inviolability... by showing that the only way to get around such fundamental(s)... as "Nothing can come out of nothing" is to get something out of nothing and at the same time cancel it out so that it has actually never been there.

The "truth" of all traditions of human enlightenment ((what) all philosophies and religions since mythic shamanism...are about and what they do) can now be formulated preliminarily. Philosophies (and the Yahweh of the Israelite religiousness and Christian God in an obscure and indirect way) are attempts to recall the truth of the universe, i.e. its origin and its (non-)existence, (1) through the memory of the first law of thermodynamics, (2) with varying degrees of clarity and differentiatedness, (3) on the synchronic plane of logic, and (4) in the functional perspective of the ancient humankind. The clearer the philosophy is in its anamnesis of the law of Conservation, the more backward in time it is able to go in re-capturing the pristine state of the universe."

 


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on October 08, 2007, 06:10:34 PM
O boy o boy....physics, metaphysics, philosophy....hard stuff....looks like the big boys have come to play!


HOFFMAN, Faulkner´s time is neither a loop nor a dead end.Faulkner´s time is like Parmenides´:the river that flows and one never bathes in the same river twice.

Not sure I agree, although it's still something I'm working out.  Here's where I'm at...In The Sound and The Fury, Faulkner begins with Benjy's perspective:  Everything that will happen has happened/is happening.  The title references Shakespeare's Macbeth musing about time in Dunsinane:

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.


In The Wild Palms, the old man and the couple embark on wilderness journeys.  The idea of the wilderness journey in ancient cultures is that the journeyers will experience growth.  But in Faulkner, the journeyers end up in the same place they were before.  A loop....  Also, the old man did bathe in the same water twice...there were times when the flood backwashed. 

The text for Faulkner's original title, "If I Forget Thee Jerusalem,"  comes from the Psalms.  I'm still mulling it over as to meaning.  Here is the text, though, if you have any ideas:

By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.
    We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof.
    For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song: and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion.
    How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?
    If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning.
    If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.
    Remember, O Lord, the children of Edom in the days of Jerusalem; who said, Rase it, rase it, even to the foundation thereof.
    O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed; happy shall he be, that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us.
    Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stone.
Psalms 137:1-9 (KJV)

One idea I have is based on the word "rase" in the text.  This could mean "raise", as in build, "raze" as in destroy, or both being that this text is poetic and meant to be heard as well as read.

Johnr.  Can we apply the laws of thermodynamics to time?  or only to matter and systems?  The second relates to entropy, but is this only entropy of matter (which occurs over time...but is representative of a return to original form....applied to time, brings me back to the original question (hey, entropy!) time as a loop, a dead end, or both.)

Of course, there is always the question of whether time and matter must follow the same principles.


 


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: johnr60 on October 08, 2007, 08:13:25 PM
Quote
The second relates to entropy, but is this only entropy of matter (which occurs over time...but is representative of a return to original form.

I am not equipped as a physicist to comment and I must say I cut a lot from the quote to clarify it, but I think the point is that to see entropy and time one must reflect, identify with the many, while the intuition of conservation is in the now, identified with the one.

Here's the link; I find it overwritten and repetitive but very interesting.  I have only read pieces but have it bookmarked.

http://www.geocities.com/theophoretos/metaphysics.html


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on October 08, 2007, 08:25:19 PM
I thought that was your source.  I've seen it before when searching for material on positron scattering.  And I must say, the site is interesting, but he clearly doesn't understand physics, or the laws of thermodynamics.  The problem with his philosophy is that he confuses time and matter.  He thinks that physics and metaphysics are the same and views physics as philosophy rather than science.  The dead giveaway for this is on his Academy site where he explains World History as a function of the second law of thermodynamics.  He also goes on to relate it to the women's movement (?!). 





Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on October 10, 2007, 08:55:52 AM
lhoffman,re:#1116
 
"I'm still mulling it over as to meaning."                                                     
 
http://www.livius.org/nenn/nebuchadnezzar/anet308.html   
 
excavations around 1900 found                                             
Babylon administrative documents, which describe food rations for Jojachin and five of his sons (1.Chronika 3:16 - 18). 1933 succeeded to decipher it for the first time the cuneiform script on such a board. Altogether four different receipts are received, in which king Jojachin is mentioned. Such a cuneiform script board is publicly issued in the Pergamon Museum to Berlin.
The Babylonian captivity, or Babylonian exile, is the name generally given to the deportation and exile of the Jews of the ancient Kingdom of Judah to Babylon by Nebuchadnezza

Biblical account:

The Book of Jeremiah 52:28-30 mentions three separate occasions. The first was in the time of Jehoiachin in 597 BCE, when the Temple of Jerusalem was partially despoiled and a number of the leading citizens were removed. After eleven years (586 BCE, in the reign of Zedekiah) a fresh rising of the Judaeans occurred; the city was razed to the ground and a further deportation ensued. Finally, five years later (581 BCE), Jeremiah records a third captivity. After the overthrow of Babylonia by the Persians, Cyrus gave the Jews permission to return to their native land (537 BCE), and more than 40,000 are said to have availed themselves of the privilege. (See Jehoiakim; Ezra; Nehemiah and Jews. In the Book of Jeremiah 52:28-30)

Previously, the northern tribes had been taken captive by Assyria and never returned; survivors of the Babylonian exile were all that remained of the Children of Israel. The Persians had a different political philosophy of managing conquered territories than the Babylonians or Assyrians: under the Persians, local personages were put into power to govern the local populace.

When the Israelites returned home, they found a mixture of peoples, the Samaritans, practicing a religion very similar, but not identical, to their own. Over time, hostility grew between the returning Jews and the Samaritans. According to the Bible, the Samaritans were foreign people settled into the area by the kings of Assyria and who had partially adopted the Israelite religion.

Although there are many other conflicting theories about the Samaritans' origins, many of them may have simply been Israelites who remained behind and thus had no part in the sweeping changes of the Israelite religion brought about among the captives. Alternatively, perhaps the fierce purity of the Jewish religion and cultural identity of the Babylonian Jews returning from exile, seventy years after their deportation, completely eclipsed the partial fate of the mixed group of Israelite survivors, who had practised paganism for hundreds of years in Israel (including the worship of a golden bull), and who had inter-married with the peoples sent into the territory by the Assyrians (a practice strictly forbidden by Mosaic Laws, and punished by Nehemiah). Impacts:

The Babylonian Captivity and the subsequent return to Israel were seen as one of the pivotal events in the drama between God and His people, Israel. Just as they had been predestined for, and saved from, slavery in Egypt, the Israelites were predestined to be punished by God through the Babylonians, and then saved once more. The Babylonian Captivity had a number of serious effects on Judaism and the Jewish culture. For example, the current Hebrew script was adopted during this period, replacing the traditional Israelite script.

This period saw the last high-point of Biblical prophecy in the person of Ezekiel, followed by the emergence of the central role of the Torah in Jewish life; according to many historical-critical scholars, it was edited and redacted during this time, and saw the beginning of the canonization of the Bible, which provided a central text for Jews.

This process coincided with the emergence of scribes and sages as Jewish leaders (see Ezra{http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Basra_location.PNG}as the burial place of Ezra; and{http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Basra_canal.jpg} for Basra as the Venice of the Middle East. Basra grew the finest dates in the world.{http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Basra-Shatt-Al-Arab.jpg} its name originates from the Persian word Bas-r?h or Bassor?h meaning "where many ways come together", There are also remnants of the pre-Islamic gnostic sect of Mandaeans, whose headquarters were in the area formerly called Suk es Sheik  http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/06/opinion/06deutsch.html? ;  and see,the Pharisees).

Prior to exile, the people of Israel had been organized according to tribe; afterwards, they were organized by clans, only the  tribe of Levi continuing in its 'special role'. After this time, there were always sizable numbers of Jews living outside Eretz Israel; thus, it also marks the beginning of the "Jewish diaspora", unless this is considered to have begun with the Assyrian Captivity of Israel.

In Rabbinic literature, Babylon is a metaphor for the current Jewish diaspora

lhoffman,
 
This is the "redaction" work that I was referring to as originally reviewed in Books at the nytimes.com Book Review in the year 2000-2001 prior to the beginning of the invasion of Iraq, which  I was unable to locate again in archives at this late date after the war had begun.   I have had to reconstruct the main points as I remember them by finding substitute materials to demonstrate that which has been discarded from the archives of The New York Times. This was very important work in so-called "Biblical Studies" that was going on before the reascendency of a continuing Bush administration.
 


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: johnr60 on October 10, 2007, 10:58:09 AM
Quote
He also goes on to relate it to the women's movement (?!). 

Stuff like that prompted me to omit the link in the first place.  Google sent me there when searching Spengler and Chin has a good chapter on paradigm shifts and number.  Going from there to his introduction I found many ideas (documented) which I agreed with and many I found intriguing such as intuition of the first law.  I have found many authors very valuable when one is able to ignore conclusions.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on October 10, 2007, 11:06:23 AM
In science, there is no value in ignoring conclusions.  If you don't understand the physics, you have no basis for agreement or disagreement.  Physics is not metaphysics.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: johnr60 on October 10, 2007, 11:24:56 AM
I guess I'd have to disagree with all of that.  I dont know what womens lib has to do with science but I do see value in looking at data despite what the author concludes from them and if your notions are that strict then physics must include metaphysics.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on October 10, 2007, 12:42:06 PM
My point is that scientists don't disregard conclusions, whether they like what the data shows or not.  If an author's work is based on flakey conclusions or a misunderstanding of the data, or even a dislike of the data, that author's work is going to be worthless.  If I go to a site where the author ties thermodynamics to the women's movement or to World War II, I'm pretty much going to be dismissive of that author.

The only way to associate thermodynamics with time is if one has a faulty understanding of entropy.

Here is a very basic introduction to the laws of thermodymics.  I went with a chemistry site rather than a physics site as physics usually involves more complicated mathematics.

http://www.chem.arizona.edu/~salzmanr/480a/480ants/enwohe1/enwohe1.html

This covers the first law.  You can scroll down to the table of contents at the bottom of the page and read about the second law....it is quite a bit more complex, though.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: qpowellx on October 10, 2007, 12:59:39 PM
lhoffman, re your post of Oct 08,= fascinating.  Somehow, I have the idea that the Jews shunned the Samaritans for some reason.  I did not realize that they were monotheistic. 
A question that I have in mind, there is an assertion that the Jews who were slaves and built the pyramids were paid low meager wages and the nature of the slavery was that of forced labor.  What do you think?


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: nnyhav on October 10, 2007, 01:11:35 PM
Quote
The only way to associate thermodynamics with time is if one has a faulty understanding of entropy.
I once had an excellent understanding of entropy but it degraded over the years.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: johnr60 on October 10, 2007, 01:39:51 PM
hoffman:

I understand your point, please allow me to disagree.

Quote
The only way to associate thermodynamics with time is if one has a faulty understanding of entropy.

I dont mind faulty understandings if they lead to interesting abductions, but I'm not here to defend Chin that's why I didn't post his link in  the first place.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on October 10, 2007, 03:00:58 PM
lhoffman, re your post of Oct 08,= fascinating.  Somehow, I have the idea that the Jews shunned the Samaritans for some reason.  I did not realize that they were monotheistic. 
A question that I have in mind, there is an assertion that the Jews who were slaves and built the pyramids were paid low meager wages and the nature of the slavery was that of forced labor.  What do you think?

The earliest historical mention of division I find came about at the time of the building of the Temple (Ezra 4:3).  The Samaritans felt that the building of the temple was against true worship and went as far as petitioning Xerxes to prevent it.  There was also the feeling on the part of the Samaritans that they were far more orthodox than the Jews.

The Egyptian pyramids were built long before the Jewish captivity.  I've read that the pyramids were built as part of the worship of the Pharoah by those who believed in his immortality, and that they were paid for their efforts.

I suspect the idea of the Jewish captives building the pyramids comes from the fact that more people are familiar with the movie The Ten Commandments, than they are with the writings the movie is based upon.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on October 10, 2007, 03:07:22 PM
John...agreeing to disagree is the nice thing to do, but we humans are fairly Promethean and sometimes bickering is just so much more interesting  ;)

So are you up for The Bear?


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on October 10, 2007, 03:21:18 PM
The builders of the pyramids believing in the king's "immortality."  Maybe "divinity" is a better word.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on October 10, 2007, 05:06:18 PM

So are you up for The Bear?


I like the way Faulkner describes the moment in “The Bear”—

“But it had already begun, long before that day…”

“”He had already inherited then, without ever having seen it…”

“He had listened to it for years…”

“It ran in his knowledge before he ever saw it.”

“It looked and towered in his dreams before he even saw…”

“…with a child’s complete divination before he ever laid eye on…”


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: johnr60 on October 10, 2007, 05:32:11 PM
The Bear as novella is included in the Big Woods (or something like that) it combines a few (and parts of) stories in Uncollected Stories)


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on October 10, 2007, 05:36:59 PM
“I was outside time.”
—William Faulkner, The Wild Palms,
New York: Random House, 1939, 137


Thanks liquidsilver for getting us back online...

This moment we readers share...it's so fragile and ephemeral sometimes...

Which brings up Faulkner and the Sartre essay on time for me—"The Bear" being more primal and more in the moment for me than simply a mere 2-minute soundbite reportage limited to the locked-in grid of FOX-News storytelling.

Does storytelling open up the moment—or does the moment open up storytelling?

Faulkner seems to say in his TSATF Intro that Benjy’s moment opened it up—the child-idiot nonlinear non-Aristotelian acausal playful moment that got TSATF eventually into a Book.

Faulkner seems preoccupied with time in his other novels too...

“I was outside of time. I was still attached to it, supported by it in space as you have been ever since there was a not-you to become you, and will be until there is an end to the not-you by means of which alone you could once have been - that's the immortality - supported by it but that's all, just on it, non-conductive, like the sparrow insulated by its own hard non-conductive dead feet from the high-tension line, the current of time that runs through remembering, that exists only in relation to what little of reality (I have learned that too) we know, else there is no such thing as time.”—William Faulkner, The Wild Palms, New York: Random House, 1939, 137

I'm beginning to think that each writer lives in his or her own moment—that there’s a Faulkner moment, a Borges moment, a Marquez moment, a del Toro moment and an Amenabar moment. But this moment is never the same. For example, the Benjy moment (in Faulkner's mind?) is different than the Quentin moment (later on in AA).

And "The Bear" and "Delta Autumn" moments seem grounded in their own specific authorial moment too. It gets complicated for me. I liked Sartre’s essay on Faulkner and Time—but toward the end I thought he was trying to pigeon-hole Faulkner into Heidegger...




Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: johnr60 on October 10, 2007, 06:53:17 PM
Quote
At this point, the hunting narrative breaks off, and a seemingly different one begins. Omitted from the version of "The Bear" that appears in Big Woods (1955), Faulkner's last story collection published during his lifetime, the fourth section is a lengthy, convoluted dialogue between Ike and his cousin Carothers ("Cass") Edmonds in which Ike repudiates his inheritance of the McCaslin plantation upon discovering miscegenation and incest in his family's history.

http://www.enotes.com/short-story-criticism/bear-william-faulkner

I've not read that version, my library doesn't have Go Down Moses.  I wonder why I know about Ike's repudiation?


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on October 10, 2007, 08:00:21 PM

I've not read that version, my library doesn't have Go Down Moses.  I wonder why I know about Ike's repudiation?


:)

Ike's thoughts about his past, his discovery in the ledgers, the twisted genealogy of his family tree..

Ike's family jewels...going all the way back to Lucius Quintus Carothers McCaslin...

I've thought about that...and Roth (Carothers) Edmonds in "Delta Autumn"...

And wondered to myself how new generations down the line...deal with it...

You know...incestuous miscegenation...and all that?






Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on October 10, 2007, 08:03:02 PM

Quote
The only way to associate thermodynamics with time is if one has a faulty understanding of entropy.

I once had an excellent understanding of entropy but it degraded over the years.


The only thermodynamics I know about...is a nice cup of hot coffee in the morning...

It seems to work pretty well...waking me up from the Night of the Living Dead...
  :)


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on October 10, 2007, 08:59:15 PM

(http://images.tribe.net/tribe/upload/photo/dca/840/dca840fc-effd-45f1-8d39-17c4fe46ae96)

Snapshot of Roth (Carothers) Edmonds

Delta autumn days—
Those long Delta autumn nights
Sitting here thinking…


"The old frail pages seemed to turn of
their own accord even while he thought
His own daughter His own daughter.
No No Not even him
..."—William Faulkner,
"The Bear," Go Down Moses, New York:
Vintage, 1990, page 259

Mulatto love...

I like that phrase better than "incestuous miscegenation."

The latter sounds too cold and sociological to me...as if it's talking about something abstract...when it's really about love, Sutpen-like progenitors and later on philoprogenitor authors like Faulkner...redoing their own Family Trees thru fiction...and the Southern imagination...

Creoles, Black Creoles, Cajuns, Black Cajuns, Free Blacks...talk about a racial potpourri gumbo Smorgasbord...that's what New Orleans and Southern Louisiana was like for me...and it's still going on...the various mulatto and French and Spanish racial groups and awarenesses going on down there in the Deep South...since the revolutions in the West Indies and Haiti down there...New Orleans the melting pot for so many races...fine distinctions during the Civil War for example between "free Black Creoles" and slaves...it gets kinda complicated...especially now with more contemporary awarenesses and ethnic "solidarites"...

At least that's the way it was for me going to college down there in the Sixties...working my way thru school with Union Oil in the Gulf...living down there...towns like Houma flying out from Elysian Fields to oil-rigs and all that...and the times I've spent down there since......helping out with Katrina...Mardi Gras good times...renewing friendships with old lovers...

Down there in the Deep South and the Big Easy...interracical relations are pretty sophisticated. Like Rio and other old seaports and cities...

Faulkner has a special interest in mulatto love tho...it runs in his family. His biographers get into it...and so does Faulkner...in many ways Go Down Moses is about the Faulkner Family Tree (spelled Falkner back then)...

I suppose that's what i was trying to do earlier in our Fiction Thread...quoted above with that "biopic" photo...picking up the thread of narrative in "The Bear" and Go Down Moses...and running with it like I did...

For example, on page 256 of Go Down Moses, when Faulkner says:

"But why? But why?...his own flesh and blood...not only the whites but the black one too, who were as much a part of his ancestry as his white progenitors...and of the land which they had all held and used in common and fed from and on and would continue to use in common without regard to color or titular ownership...the old books...these years fixed immutably, finished, unalterable, harmless...then he was sixteen..."

That little slice of the long rambling Part 4 that puzzles readers and challenges critics...for me it's a living thing that I've lived thru down there...the feeling that Faulkner is getting at...the thing he talks about later on or before in "Delta Autumn"...the problem young Roth (Carothers) Edmonds has with his girlfriend...the way Roth repeats the sin of Carothers McCaslin...falling in love and then repudiating it...his girlfriend who follows him all the way to the camp...and who turns out to be a young black woman...who unknown to Roth is the granddaughter of James Beauchamp (Tennie's Jim), Lucas's brother, who had migrated north in the 1890s...

So that's why that photo of a moody boy appealed to me...it seemed to capture Roth pretty well...the way each new generation repeats the same mistakes...knowingly unknowingly or somewhere in between...with Ike's bleak comment...that racial harmony and justice may be a thousand years in the future...

But then it might be closer than that...the Big Easy, for example, and other cities...pretty sophisticated melting pots for humanity if you ask me...like the Blacks and Samoans here in Seattle...each generation seems to find a way...




Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on October 10, 2007, 09:26:29 PM
http://escapefromelba.com/forums/index.php/topic,112.msg37621.html#msg37621


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on October 10, 2007, 09:49:59 PM
Fourteen pages, requiring multiple readings.  Is it about the people, the land, nature? 

Here is an essay that discusses time.

http://www.bilkent.edu.tr/~jast/Number3/Ozdemir.html


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on October 10, 2007, 09:52:21 PM
I thought there was some confusion in the Sartre over Faulkner's concept of time.  On the one side, he wanted to  relate Faulkner's use of time to a dead end. "Thus, when Quentin's memory begins to unravel its recollections ("Through the wall I heard Shreve's bed-springs and then his slippers on the floor hishing. I got up . . .") he is already dead."    But on the other, he brings up the clock that keeps ticking after its face is broken and its hands are removed, more of a loop than a dead end. 


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on October 10, 2007, 10:27:03 PM
The Faulkner v. Borges Moment

“I was outside time.”—William Faulkner, The Wild Palms, New York: Random House, 1939, 137

“…seemingly contradictory statements (time exists, time does not exist) can be simultaneously true in whatever objective universe does exist.”—Owen Haaga, “Las Palmeras Salvajes and The Wild Palms—Theory  and Practice Of Inter-American Literature,” Special Collections, Jean and Alexander Heard Library, Vanderbilt University, June 22, 2007

http://www.library.vanderbilt.edu/speccol/haagao.shtml


According to Haaga, Borges adds philosophical complexity while reducing Faulkner’s grammatical complexity—and moves from linguistic towards philosophical complexity. How does he present this way of looking at Faulkner and Borges?

“…Borges goes the extra step and begins to speak of a truly relative universe. Not only is it impossible to be sure that subjective experience corresponds correctly to objective reality, it is now quite possible that seemingly contradictory statements (time exists, time does not exist) can be simultaneously true in whatever objective universe does exist.”

For example, let’s look at a “magic realist” scene from cinema. During the séance scene at the end of The Others (2001)—two seemingly contradictory worlds coexist simultaneously with the clairvoyant busy scribbling away with her automatic writing and Nicole Kidman throwing these same pages up in the air and tearing them apart.

Alejandro Amenabar snaps back and forth between the Living and the Dead—showing first the séance with the pages seemingly being thrown about by something invisible to the séance group and then a shot of Nicole Kidman hysterically denying that she’s dead and killed her kids and herself.

Thus one could paraphrase Haaga by saying that seemingly “contradictory worlds (ghosts exist, ghosts does not exist) can be simultaneously true in whatever objective universe does exist.”

Also there’s Mrs. Mills saying, “Sometimes the world of the living gets mixed up with the world of the dead.” The Others explores this coexistence problem between the Living and the Dead—with quirky things like haunted pianos that play Chopin on their own and boys like Victor intruding into the Other world thru the impressionable imaginations of the pubescent girl and boy who don’t know they’re dead…but instead think that the Living are the Ghosts and that these supposed Ghosts are the Intruders who must be feared…

The problem I have with Haaga isn’t that he sees Borges’ translation streamlining somewhat Faulkner’s “super-sentences”—but rather I have problems with Haaga putting his own spin on Time so that alternate magic realism worlds can’t coexist simultaneously within the Faulkner Moment.

It seems to me this opens up Faulkner’s line “I was outside of time.”

Being outside of time means—being in the Moment. At least that’s the way I see it—so that being “outside” really means being “inside” the Moment. For Faulkner “time” pretty much dead-ends in the Moment.  The past is never dead and gone—because it’s always here in the Moment.

Simultaneous coexistent worlds consisting of intense Moments like the Bridge scene between Quentin and Dalton Ames—these peak experiences make Dalton Ames more than just a memory. It’s living breathing Moment in Quentin’s dreams and his early waking moments. That Moment on the Bridge defines the Moment for Quentin—it stops time better than smashing a watch or plucking the hour and minutes hands out.

Obviously Dalton Ames has had a very strong impact on Quentin—some say in regard to Caddy and Southern traditions of virginity. Others say something else was going on—that it really was a test for Quentin’s identity as a possible GLBT person. That thread of POMO interpretation follows Quentin thru Harvard to the Bridge—along the lines of identity crisis and “homosexual panic.” The latter being used in courtroom trials as a defense for assault and murder cases.

Something catastrophic like the Dalton-Quentin confrontation (and possible consummation?) seem to set up echoes or reverberations—creating super-Moments like Faulkner’s super-sentences. So that somewhat like Quentin—there’s a reverberation in memory or recollection or whatever you want to call it that rings clear as bell inside other Moments like Quentin at Harvard.

Some kind of almost clairvoyant dialogic imagination is at work in that Harvard dormitory room—when the Sutpen tragedy is called up and relived and rethought by the two freshman boys. Retelling a story is an old tradition in the South—retelling a story in different ways down thru generations of verandah-talk and storytelling.

Which brings up the Moment—in terms of it being more primal and more ur-welt than simply mere 2-minute soundbite reportage limited to the locked-in grid of FOX-News storytelling. Does storytelling open up the Moment—or does the Moment open up storytelling? Faulkner seems to say in his TSATF Intro that Benjy’s Moment opened it up—the child-idiot nonlinear non-Aristotelian acausal playful Moment that got TSATF eventually into a Book.

So that I would disagree with Haaga when he says that “Faulkner simply states that there is no plausible conception of time other than the one he has outlined in the passage.” In the below passage quoted by Haaga, Faulkner says: “I was outside time.” And “…there is no such thing as time.”

IMHO this doesn’t mean that there aren’t possible worlds within the Moment—only that time isn’t the “not-you” that supports us in the world. In other words, Faulkner says yes to alternate simultaneous realities just as Borges and Marquez and the magic realists and fabulists and surrealists support that idea as well.

“I was outside of time. I was still attached to it, supported by it in space as you have been ever since there was a not-you to become you, and will be until there is an end to the not-you by means of which alone you could once have been - that's the immortality - supported by it but that's all, just on it, non-conductive, like the sparrow insulated by its own hard non-conductive dead feet from the high-tension line, the current of time that runs through remembering, that exists only in relation to what little of reality (I have learned that too) we know, else there is no such thing as time.” (p. 137)

I think that each writer lives in his or her own Moment—that there’s a Faulkner Moment, a Borges Moment, a Marquez Moment, a del Toro Moment and an Amenabar Moment. Being grounded in that specific authorial Moment—is like being in the Eye of a Hurricane. Perhaps that’s what people mean—when they say you have to find your own Voice. In other words—let my Eyes and Lips bring me closer to You.




Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on October 11, 2007, 12:24:03 AM
The Bear seems representative of time, but also of an idea approaching mysticism.  There is the image of wilderness trials that young men faced in ancient times.  The boy becomes an expert woodsman, even without realizing it.  The bear seems to have an almost shaministic role in teaching the boy the things that will make him a man.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: rmdig on October 11, 2007, 07:55:23 AM
Doris Lessing wins this year's Nobel Prize for literature.  I can hear the howls of execration already.  She's written some very fine books.  The other front runners apparently included Murikami, Philip Roth and Amoz Oz.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: johnr60 on October 11, 2007, 12:20:42 PM


Past, present and future is obviously structured in Faulkner. He describes the now, trying to make us exist in that present (as we cannot do in our own--it's gone) by describing the memories available to his narrators and the milieu in which they narrate. The only way we can experience the now in relation to time is in a story.  The real now never narrates, it is full of sensory perception--hot, cold, light, dark, loud, quiet.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: martinbeck3 on October 11, 2007, 01:39:30 PM
JPHN60,DRUID GENTLEMAN,
thank you for the enlightment of thy perfectionable pupil the Best Shaman south of Bolivia.

YES, it´s Heraclitus!!!!!

HOFMAN, thou art also a Master/Mistress the Best Shaman.

Now I have to google up or u tube up- the following:
1.entropy
2.tautology
3.thermodynamics

I trust thou art not leading the innocen B.Sh. into the XXXX rated world.

i.entropy,sounds doubtful
ii.tautology,feel like their might be bulls around
iii.thermodynamics ,is like when I put on the electric drill on to hang some shelves.(but I´ll look them up,I´m not easily put off)

Still I feel Faulkner´s time is Heraclitan (!) the old man and everyone else might get back to the place they started from but they are not the same at all.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on October 11, 2007, 02:08:06 PM
Martin re Tautology:   Yes, and watch out where you step  ;)


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on October 11, 2007, 02:11:52 PM
lhoffman,re:#1127

Since,

Xerxes, may refer to these Persian kings:

Xerxes I, reigned 485–465 BC, also known as Xerxes the Great.
Xerxes II, reigned 424 BC.

How could he have been petitioned(by Samaritans)  to not permit the building of the Temple by Solomon which was completed in the 10th century BCE and was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE. The reconstructed temple in Jerusalem, which stood between 516 BCE and 70 CE, was the Second Temple ?

Your end or second reference to the Jews as Egyptian captives would seem to make light of the fact that they were considered slaves in Egypt or don't you consider that to be the facts as given in the OLD Testament; and that Passover continues to be kept with prayers at every family-table where they recite, "This is in remembrance of our forefathers from when we were slaves in Egypt, for this feast is in commemoration of our passing out of the land of Egypt and our deliverance from slavery."  ?


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: madupont on October 11, 2007, 02:15:51 PM
Ps.

The account of David putting aside materials for the Temple built by his son is in 1 Chronicles 22:14; 29:4; 2 Chronicles 3:1; rather than Ezra 4.


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on October 11, 2007, 02:54:43 PM
Rebuilding of the Altar...Ezra 3, under Darius.  Time passes between Ezra 3 and 4.  The Ahansuesus mentioned is Xerxes I.

I didn't say or imply that the Israelites were not slaves.  I said they didn't build the pyramids.  How you made the leap that I was making light of the Israeli captivity is beyond me. 



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: nnyhav on October 11, 2007, 05:44:35 PM
Doris Lessing wins this year's Nobel Prize for literature.  I can hear the howls of execration already.  She's written some very fine books.  The other front runners apparently included Murikami, Philip Roth and Amoz Oz.
I have The Golden Notebook on my TBR shelf; I saw it described in one news story as a "seminal feminist novel".


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: Lhoffman on October 11, 2007, 07:01:33 PM
Martin....on Heraclitas, same river, same man.  In reading Absalom, Absalom, "The Bear", "The Evening Sun" I get a picture of characters formed in childhood.  Sutpen goes to the door of the big house and learns a truth he never forgets, Old Ben teaches the boy a respect for nature that serves him into adulthood, The Evening Sun gives us a picture of Quentin, Caddy and Jason in their childhoods that pretty much reflects their personalities in later life. 

I don't see this in Wild Palms


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on October 11, 2007, 07:33:22 PM
The Moment


Fourteen pages, requiring multiple readings.  Is it about the people, the land, nature? 

Here is an essay that discusses time.

http://www.bilkent.edu.tr/~jast/Number3/Ozdemir.html


Thank you Hoffman. I read the Sartre essay on Faulkner and time.

And yes, nnyhav...I've gone back and read the Palms essay on time too.

And yes John and Martin...I've been thinking about Heraclitas and the river...

And now the essay by Erinc Ozdermir, "The Thematic and Structural Function of Time in William Faulkner's "The Bear"...

A key thought in Ozdermir's essay that I've been thinking about is this one:

“One implication of such a view as this is expressed by the Bergsonian idea that the whole consciousness of a person, past, present and even future, can be contained within a single moment in time."

What is this moment? It's there in "The Bear"...

“One implication of such a view as this is expressed by the Bergsonian idea that the whole consciousness of a person, past, present and even future, can be contained within a single moment in time. This is the way Ike's state of mind is depicted at the instance of repudiation, which takes literally only one moment--a mere second long; sufficiently short for him to say to himself, or to McCaslin, "I repudiate." Yet, within the consciousness that produced this momentary act is contained an infinitely concentrated memory, extending not only back in history to the moment before God created the earth, but also forward into the future when the Black people will be enduring for an indefinite time.”

This moment of "repudiation" opens up everything...

It's like a whole house of cards comes following down...













Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: johnr60 on October 11, 2007, 07:54:36 PM
Maybe here:

Quote
until one day an old man who could not have defined either led him as though by the hand to where an old bear and a little mongrel dog showed him that, by possessing one thing other, he would possess them both; and a little dog, nameless and mongrel and many-fathered, grown yet weighing less than six pounds, who couldn't be dangerous because there was nothing anywhere much smaller, not fierce because that would have been called just noise, not humble because it was already too near the ground to genuflect, and not proud because it would not have been close enough for anyone to discern what was casting that shadow, and which didn't even know it was not going to heaven since they had already decided it had no immortal soul, so that all it could be was brave even though they would probably call that too just noise. "And you didn't shoot," McCaslin said. "How close were you?"

"I don't know," he said. "There was a big wood tick just inside his off hind leg. I saw that. But I didn't have the gun then."


Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on October 11, 2007, 08:00:42 PM

I wonder why I know about Ike's repudiation?


Ike repudiates everything...when he reads the ledgers...

"His own daughter His own daughter. No No Not even him..." (GDM 259)



Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on October 11, 2007, 08:05:17 PM
I've read that some critics think the Part IV of "The Bear" ruins everything...

Like the story itself, the almost Hemingway test of manhood, the whole male bildungsroman thing...

But to me, Faulkner is exploring a specific moment...the moment of repudiation...

It's the kind of moment that changes everything...an existential gestalt...

Part IV is a text about texts...and how important the written word is...

It can change your whole worldview is a just a second...

Like it did for Ike...and for Quentin and for...




Title: Re: Fiction
Post by: pugetopolis on October 11, 2007, 08:37:18 PM
The Moment of Repudiation

“Quentin’s struggle with his legacy as a Compson and a Southerner in his fragmented chapter of The Sound and the Fury and in Absalom, Absalom reflects Ike’s struggle to understand and act on the McCaslin past he finds chronicled in the fragmental ledgers. Both characters “Tell about the South” (AA 142) in attempts to explain themselves to themselves, Quentin with Shreve and Ike with Cass Edmonds; both take as their texts their father’s writing; and both are inextricably bound to the region and the past that writing portrays and makes tangible to them.”—James Watson, William Faulkner: Self-Presentation and Performance, Austin: University of Texas Press, 2000, pages 186-187

So there’s the ledgers and Mr. Compson’s letter to Quentin at Harvard—both are Pandora’s boxes that open up the terrors of the past: incestuous miscegenation between father and daughter, between brother and brother and between brother and sister.

A moment of repudiation descends on these characters—Lucius Quintus Carothers McCaslin, Ike McCaslin, Roth Edmonds, Quentin Compson, Caddy Compson, Dalton Ames, Henry Sutpen, Charles Bon, Colonel Sutpen…

What happens when this happens? What happens when this happens to Faulkne