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From: Michael Straight <straight@email.unc.edu>
Subject: RE: (urth) Readerly/writerly and Pierre Menard
Date: Thu, 16 Dec 1999 08:15:49 

On Wed, 15 Dec 1999, Jim Henley wrote:

> This came up before. But this seems a good place to adduce Borges' "Pierre
> Menard." The narrator of that story claims that Menard's rewrite of
> Cervantes produces a radically new text. But Borges makes it pretty clear
> that the narrator of that story is a jerk, and maybe a fool. So...

Interesting.  What makes you read it that way rather than as Borges
himself narrating with his tongue firmly in his cheek? 

_The Imitation of Christ_ by James Joyce is still on my must-read-someday

> > Just because we can't  quantifiably have a 'correct' reading, it
> > doesn't necessarily  follow that we can't distinguish between 'good'
> > and 'bad' readings.
> This is superb! I don't suppose you could manage to appear at the sacred
> windows of every high school english class in the land, could you? It would
> eliminate a host of sorrows.

I agree too, but would add that it makes sense only within a community of
readers that has decided on some criteria for 'good' and 'bad'.  Crowley's
_Little, Big_ is almost certainly not intended as Christian allegory, but
if Jim Jordan enjoyed reading it that way, I wouldn't insist that his
reading was 'bad,' particulary if he wasn't arguing that his was the only
'right' way to read it.


*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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