>From: Seth Tisue <seth@...>
>Another way of putting it is that the Kid isn't *aware*
>of being a character in a novel, but rather experiences the *effects* of
>being such a character.
Exactly so. Well put! _Dhalgren_ is not a "fourth-wall" comedy, but an
>of how novelistic worlds differ systematically from real ones
...which ties back to the quotation at the book's beginning: "You have
confused the true with the real."
>Delany goes beyond that and has Kid experience effects not just of being
>in a novel, but being in a novel in the process of being written, that
>is, undergoing revisions and multiple drafts.
Interesting, and I'll have to look at this in my next reading.
On the other hand, I have a feeling that in the final (notebook section,
Kidd does become, at least partly, aware of what's going on -- he
seems to address his author directly in the passage leading up to
"holland and the hills," no?
It's interesting, incidentally, to compare some of this with the
ending of another great-but-maddening urban fantasia that came
out the same year as _Dhalgren_: Genesis' "concept album,"
_The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway_. In a way, the story of
_Lamb_ is a negative of that of _Dhalgren_: a halfbreed kid who
lives in a well-defined city (New York) finds himself in a decidedly
_non_-urban environment, where he has all sorts of weird and
hard to decipher encounters and adventures, ending with an
encounter with his brother, who turns out to be himself. I don't
want to draw out all the antiparallels right now, but the text
that comes with the album ends thus:
--> Rael cannot look away from those eyes, mesmerized by his
--> own image. In a quick movement, his consciousness darts
--> from one face to the other, then back again, until his presence
--> is no longer solidly contained in one or the other. In this fluid
--> state he observes both bodies outlined in yellow and the
--> surrounding scenery melting into a purple haze. With a sudden
--> rush of energy up both spinal columns, their bodies, as well,
--> finally dissolve into the haze. All this takes place without a single
--> sunset, without a single bell ringing and without a single
--> blossom falling from the sky. Yet it fills everything with its
--> intoxicating presence. It's over to you.
I doubt that Delany and Peter Gabriel (who wrote both this
text and most of the lyrics for _Lamb_) were even aware of
each others' existence at the time; it seems that there was
just a _Zeitgeist_ that produced this unrelated-but-related
(synchronicity) texts in two very different artists, working in
two different media on two different continents...