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From: Alex David Groce <Alex_Groce@gs246.sp.cs.cmu.edu>
Subject: Re: Wolfe a conservative writer? (was Re: (urth) Grounded in the text?)
Date: Fri, 08 Dec 2000 13:22:19 

Adam wrote:

> And for this very reason, that prototypical postmodernist John Barth
> has also adopted the _Thousand Nights and a Night_ as a model.  Not
> to mention the postmodernist tour de force THE ARABIAN NIGHTMARE by
> Robert Irwin (whose book on _The Thousand Nights and a Night_,
> entitled something like THE ARABIAN NIGHTS: A COMPANION, I highly
> recommend).

Hmmm...  This seems to bring us back to the whole question of how to
know postmodernism (and without the aid of a SF oracle like Damon
Knight's finger).  Barth I will agree is postmodernist.  But notice
that Wolfe, while he write about stories being told, telling
themselves, etc., never (AFAIK) does the kind of metafictional
introduction of himself that Barth does (in _Chimera_, for example).
Wolfe's stories and novels are often, like Nabokov's, "the documents
in the case," with internal discussion of how they came to be written.
But Nabokov is more often, in my experience, considered a modernist
than a postmodernist.  Use of the 1001 Nights does not a postmodernist
make--Proust and R. A. Lafferty are both frequent travelers to that
territory, and Proust is a modernist and Lafferty is whatever on earth
Lafferty is.  I'll agree that THE ARABIAN NIGHTMARE and PEACE have a
_lot_ in common (though aiming at rather opposite visions, I think).
What makes THE ARABIAN NIGHTMARE postmodernist rather than modernist?

"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:32
Alex David Groce (agroce+@cs.cmu.edu)
Ph.D. Student, Carnegie Mellon University - Computer Science Department
8112 Wean Hall (412)-268-3066

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

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