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From: William Ansley <wansley@warwick.net>
Subject: Re: (urth) Re: The Barnables
Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2000 22:35:48 

At 9:53 AM -0700 6/27/00, Adam Stephanides wrote:
>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.

Well, I guess that serves me right for bragging about how carefully I 
re-read LB. But I did read it carefully, it's just that my memory is 

Even though the fact that Smoky's father was dead at the time 
completely vitiates my argument, I still find the use of "father's 
name" for surname to be less of a stretch than you do and feel my 
interpretation is at least admissible. But you may well be right. 
Relatives can become confused.

William Ansley

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