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OWTS: pages 98-103: 6. LOVE EXPLAINED

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  • Mal McCormack
    This reads like a lude but is numerated so must be a story . Unnamed middle-aged self-indulgent couple rather naughtily having it off in the heat of the
    Message 1 of 4 , Nov 5, 2002
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      This reads like a "lude" but is numerated so must be a "story".

      Unnamed middle-aged self-indulgent couple rather naughtily having it
      off in the heat of the afternoon (but if they really are at a tropical
      paradise resort and on holidsy then I suppose that's OK).

      Again, "he" is not " ", but "she" is.

      Continuing with our twist, so far, it is "he" who must act
      Scheherazade to her incessant demands which in this instance is for an
      explanation of "love", and in particular, their love. Every man would
      be unmanned by that.

      Now, it appears there is no universe for this couple other than their
      time together, whenever that may end (no, that problem has not yet
      been explained, far less forgotten). Starts now a tortured metaphor
      for their togetherness, with: standard big bang cosmology; particle
      physics; uncertainty principle; and wave/particle duality. Thank god
      for (1) the fact that relativity was already messily covered in the
      preceding chapter and (2) the ever-educative pages of Scientific
      American, to which I here admit being a long-time subscriber.

      But the most dubious connection of all is with the so-called anthropic
      principle, a formulation which to my mind has always had more than
      enough dubiousness built into it without now being hijacked to support
      a (probably) untenable contention anyway.

      Notwithstanding all that esoterica, as a purported explanation for
      anybody's "love", this story should be prosecuted for false and
      misleading advertising. After several reads I'm still mystified as to
      whether it should taken at all seriously. I note it was published
      independently in Yale Review, I wonder what those sophisticated
      readers thought about it. To be honest, I suspect this is just
      Barth's equivalent of doodling.

      But it was short enough to allow me to ponder the following lude,
      "You're putting words in her mouth." As tasteful a description of a
      certain numerical carnal act as I have ever read. Clever.

      OK. Other takes?

      M.
    • agrimorfee
      ... M., i think you have said more than anyone would/could be able to about this scrap of paper and ink JB termed a story .
      Message 2 of 4 , Nov 5, 2002
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        --- In johnbarth@y..., "Mal McCormack" <annemac@a...> wrote:

        M., i think you have said more than anyone would/could be able to
        about this scrap of paper and ink JB termed "a story".
      • Mal McCormack
        ... So, Agri, you were a touch underwhelmed also?
        Message 3 of 4 , Nov 5, 2002
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          --- In johnbarth@y..., "agrimorfee" <agrimorfee@h...> wrote:
          > --- In johnbarth@y..., "Mal McCormack" <annemac@a...> wrote:
          >
          > M., i think you have said more than anyone would/could be able to
          > about this scrap of paper and ink JB termed "a story".

          So, Agri, you were a touch underwhelmed also?
        • agrimorfee
          ... As you said, it could work as one of the ludes. Why not just extedn it as the next lude over (so to speak)?
          Message 4 of 4 , Nov 5, 2002
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            --- In johnbarth@y..., "Mal McCormack" <annemac@a...> wrote:
            > --- In johnbarth@y..., "agrimorfee" <agrimorfee@h...> wrote:
            > > --- In johnbarth@y..., "Mal McCormack" <annemac@a...> wrote:
            > >
            > > M., i think you have said more than anyone would/could be able to
            > > about this scrap of paper and ink JB termed "a story".
            >
            > So, Agri, you were a touch underwhelmed also?

            As you said, it could work as one of the 'ludes. Why not just extedn
            it as the next 'lude over (so to speak)?
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