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From: Adam Stephanides <adamsteph@earthlink.net>
Subject: (urth) Re: The Barnables
Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2000 09:53:03 

William Ansley wrote:
> At 10:40 PM -0700 6/24/00, Adam Stephanides wrote:
> >Smoky "lived a lot in three different suburbs
> >with the same name in three different cities, and in each his relatives
> >called him by a different name--his own, his father's, and Smoky--which
> >last so suited his evanescence that he kept it." ("Anonymity," I, 1, p.
> >6 in Bantam TPB.)  Which seems to mean that Smoky's father was not
> >called Evan (since his name was "different"), and suggests that Smoky
> >was first addressed as  Smoky by his relatives and not by his father,
> >though Smoky may still be his middle name.
> I re-read the whole book recently and rather carefully and so feel
> fairly confident when I state that this is the only part of the book
> where the origin of the nickname "Smoky" is discussed.
> However, I disagree somewhat with your interpretation of the passage
> you quote above. I think that when Crowley says "his own, his
> father's, and Smoky" he means that the first set of relatives in the
> first city called him Evan, the second set Barnable (his father's
> name in the sense of "Mr. Barnable? That's my my father's name.") and
> the third set Smoky.

I thought of this interpretation, but rejected it on the grounds that
the narrator's vocabulary is (or seems) straightforward, without
paraphrases of this type.  My feeling is that had Crowley meant
"surname," he would have said "surname."  And after all, "Barnable" is
as much Smoky's "own" name as "Evan" is.  I do admit, though, that I
don't know why Smoky's relatives would have called him by his father's
first name.

> it is
> much less likely (to me at least) that both Smoky and his father
> would allow their relatives to call Smoky Douglas (for example) if
> that was really his father's name. It would have caused a lot of
> unnecessary confusion, if nothing else.

Actually, the sentence we're discussing refers to a time after Smoky's
father has died.


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