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Date: Mon, 25 Feb 2002 13:16:42 -0700
From: maa32 
Subject: (urth) literary analogy

I was just sitting around reading Borges' Selected Non-fictions when I came 
across his review of Eberhard's chinese fairy tales.  Does this sound familiar 
or what?!

"The problem is simple.  The European fairy tale, and the Arab, are all 
conventional.  A ternary law rules them .... The Chinese Fairy tale, however, 
is irregular.  The reader begins by finding them incoherent.  He thinks that 
there are too many loose ends, things that don't come together.  Later - 
perhaps suddenly - he discovers why these gaps exist.  He realizes that these 
vagaries and anacoluthons imply that the narrator totally believes in the 
reality of the wonders that he tells.  Reality is neither symmetrical nor 
schematic." (Borges 183).

an anacoluthon is a sudden shift in direction like "Good coffee.  Thank God 
for Fidel Castro" or "I should kill you, but I have a cricket game to play."

Does that sound like one of Wolfe's novels or what? Peace, Short Sun, 
Cerberus, etc.

Also, Wolfe once quoted Chesterton to me, saying that "Life is a million 
little detective stories" or something similar.  
I think these two ideas, one of the Chinese Fairy Tale and one of Life being a 
detective story, certainly inform us on Wolfe's artistic aesthetic (or at 
least help us to think about how we should go about reading his texts).
Marc Aramini


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