FIND in
<--prev V30 next-->

From: Adam Stephanides <adamsteph@earthlink.net>
Subject: Re: (urth) Scattered Shot
Date: Fri, 08 Dec 2000 18:39:22 

Dan'l Danehy-Oakes wrote:

> Does Weer ever seem to think that _anything_ is unusual...? (Serious
> question; with the text not before me, I don't recall.) I mean Weer-
> the-narrator, not Weer-the-memory.

He thinks his the elm tree falling is unusual, I think; he thinks his
"stroke" is unusual; he thinks coming across the Persian room is
unusual.  And he is definitely agitated when he thinks he hears a door
close, at the point where he breaks off retelling Julius Smart's story
(162 in H & R).
> Actually his "past" seems to somewhat influence the structure of
> his "present," so that his childhood memories are remembered on the
> porch and his presidency in the office. Where in the "memory house"
> he is seems to flow with when in his life he is mostly remembering.
> Or maybe the other way around -- when he's in the office, it's
> easiest for him to remember his presidency?
> Well, that's another point to investigate further -- purely from
> a memorious overview of the book, though, it seems to work; porch
> and outdoors for childhood, various hallways and rooms for main
> adult life, office for presidency/older age. Something like that,
> with variations and elaborations.

Nice call.
>                        *
>                       * *
> Adam Stephanides also wrote:
> > By "deconstructing the act of narration," I don't mean just that
> > Wolfe specifies the circumstances of narration, which as you
> > point out is commonplace.  I mean that he also uses this
> > specification to call into questions the conventions for reading
> > narrative which I referred to in my original post.
> Even that is not quite how I understand "deconstruction" -- I would
> understand it to mean using those conventions precisely in a way
> that they call their own constituion into question, i.e., letting
> the construction to de-construct itself: but my understanding of
> "deconstruction" is largely based on the Derridean non-synthesis,
> so I tend to look for hinges and difference-deference and the like.

Truth to tell, I haven't read Derrida.  I was using the word
"deconstruction" in the loose way it's used by people who haven't read
Derrida--slipshod of me, but I couldn't think of anything better at the

> No; he seems to take it for granted (and expect us to) that his
> narrators stick to their desks, writing to the end, even when the
> writing turns into gibbering. Really, now, has anyone in the history
> of the Universe gibbered hysterically in writing? Pfui! Even as a
> twelve-year-old, when I first encountered HPL, it bothered me; I
> couldn't believe then and can't believe now that he actually intended
> us to _believe_ this. Yet every bit of evidence says that he did.

  "The Grail lies in the aaaarrrggh...."
  "In the aaaarrrggh...."
  "He must have died while he was writing it."
  "Don't be ridiculous.  If he was dying, he wouldn't write aaaarrrggh,
he'd just say it."
  "Maybe he was dictating."
(Sorry, couldn't resist.)

> > In any case, a "very conservative" writer (your words) would reject
> > the modernists, rather than imitating them.
> I do not suggest that Wolfe imitates the modernists; I suggest that
> he grabs their tools where he finds them useful, and ditto the pomos,
> and uses them for his own, fundamentally conservative, purposes.
> > > And it is indeed putting the story
> > > first: but the story being put first is not necessarily the story
> > > that the reader immediately thinks it is. The process by which some
> > > events are related is every bit as legitimate a "subject" for a
> > > story as the process by which they occurred.
> > If this counts as "putting the story first," then the contrast
> > between "putting the story first" and postmodernism disappears.
> ... and your point is? I tend to think the actual radicalism of
> pomo is highly overstated and overrated; they have some cool tools
> but no really new ideas. "Truth is socially constructed." Now *there*
> is an original idea... Someone please contact Pontius Pilate...

Well, you were the one who contraposed "using pomo tools" with "putting
the story first."  At any rate, I'm now more confused than ever about
what point you were making in asserting the Wolfe is a conservative
writer and "puts the story first."  If postmodernists put the story
first to, and are really conservative, what writers do you consider to
not put the story first and to not be conservative?

> > Indeed, one of postmodernism's characteristic features is to
> > emphasize "the process by which some events are related" over
> > "the process by which they occurred."
> See previous message re: the Nights... Nothing new here...

While I left this out of my earlier post, because I'm not an expert on
the subject, I disagree with you about the Nights.  I don't think the
compiler or compilers were primarily interested in the process of
Scheherezade telling stories; I think they were interested in telling a
lot of stories, and the frame-tale and stories within stories are
largely pretexts to tell lots of stories.


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

<--prev V30 next-->