Re: Dhalgren's first and last line
- --- In email@example.com, "Ron Henry" <ron.henry@...> wrote:
>. . . snip . . .
> On 5/1/06, Dan'l Danehy-Oakes <katbarx@...> wrote:
> > It _would_ be interesting to see the female "version" of the story.i suppose we might eventually end up with "The Bellona Quartet", which
> Agreed. Millie or Denny's girlfriend would be the most immediate
> candidates to come to my mind for that narrative. Lanya... well, she
> is too thoroughly explored in Kidd's narrative, seems like -- in some
> ways she is largely a product of his interests, needs, and desires,
> and doesn't have that much of an independent existence. (Though I
> suppose if her perspective were narrated well it would provide an
> interesting lesson in subjectivity and difference in perspective.)
> Ron Henry | ron.henry@...
could be a worthwhile read.
by the way, although no one took me up on my request to see if anyone
was attending the Delany session at Duke last Sunday, my plans changed
at the last minute and i was able to attend. I will, over the next
month or so, put a transcript together from the tape i made, if anyone
is interested something like that.
Delany read from the opening passage of "The Star Pit," which i
enjoyed immensely, before conversing with John Kessel and members of
>>>>> "Ray" == Ray Davis <yahRayDavis@...> writes:Ray> At 10:07 AM 4/11/2006, Dan'l Danehy-Oakes wrote:
>> H'mmm. My current model of _Dhalgren_ is almost the opposite ofRay> Yes, that's my preferred interpretation as well.
>> realism -- I think that the Kidd is precisely contained in and
>> exactly constrained by the text. This explains, for example, the
>> kid's odd lapses of memory. When something is skipped over by the
>> narrator -- as is perfectly normal in a novel -- then he has no
>> memory of it, because, for him as for us, it never happened.
I want to chime in and say that this is also how I've always interpreted
the book. OK, not always: I think it dawned on me the third or fourth
time I read it. 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. (Meanwhile everyone else, like characters in
normal novels, is oblivious to these effects and thinks Kid is
crazy...!) It's a wonderful (and often very comic) critical laying-bare
of how novelistic worlds differ systematically from real ones. But then
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. I felt that once I had
understood this, suddenly dozens of apparently completely disparate and
inexplicable-seeming things about the book started to make sense,
although I'm sure there's much I have yet to understand.
Seth Tisue | seth@...
http://tisue.net | http://www.flickr.com/photos/tisue/
>From: Seth Tisue <seth@...>Exactly so. Well put! _Dhalgren_ is not a "fourth-wall" comedy, but an
>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.
>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."
>But thenInteresting, and I'll have to look at this in my next reading.
>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.
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...