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  • rompecabezas66
    I just finished Giles Goat Boy and have to admit I m amazed. I loved the Joseph-Campbell-on-acid storyline, full of references to Occidental hero mythology
    Message 1 of 3 , Jul 8, 2004
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      I just finished "Giles Goat Boy" and have to admit I'm amazed. I
      loved the Joseph-Campbell-on-acid storyline, full of references to
      Occidental hero mythology and its conventions: uncertain parentage,
      barnyard beginnings, task list, disguises, rebirth and redemption. I
      thought the intentionally-atrocious hipster verse rendition
      of 'Oedipus Rex' was hilarious. I appreciated the satirical
      consistency of the University universe, where information is currency
      and entire schools of thought are founded on misinterpretations of
      punch lines to old jokes.

      I had read "The Floating Opera" last year, and that was what got me
      interested in reading Barth again. It was full of storytelling
      prowess, nihilist wit, and strange satire. Years ago I was turned off
      to Barth by reading the tiresome "Tidewater Tales," which was far too
      sentimental and humorless for my liking.

      Esteban
    • agrimorfee
      ... I have to read this again...in my 2 attempts I always got tired in its last quarter. Maybe I will get again? ... too ... Interesting. TT was what got
      Message 2 of 3 , Jul 9, 2004
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        --- In johnbarth@yahoogroups.com, "rompecabezas66"
        <rompecabezas66@y...> wrote:
        > I just finished "Giles Goat Boy" and have to admit I'm amazed. I
        > loved the Joseph-Campbell-on-acid storyline, full of references to
        > Occidental hero mythology and its conventions: uncertain parentage,
        > barnyard beginnings, task list, disguises, rebirth and redemption.

        I have to read this again...in my 2 attempts I always got tired in
        its last quarter. Maybe I will "get" again?

        > I had read "The Floating Opera" last year, and that was what got me
        > interested in reading Barth again. .. Years ago I was turned off
        > to Barth by reading the tiresome "Tidewater Tales," which was far
        too
        > sentimental and humorless for my liking.
        >

        Interesting. "TT" was what got into JB in the first place. If you
        disliked "TT", you will HATE "Sabbatical", which almost is the same
        story (kinda like how "Evil Dead 2" was like "Evil Dead"), with less
        focus and richness. What else have you read of JB? I'm sure we'd all
        love to steer you in further directions! (this board has been so
        dead as of late...)
      • rompecabezas66
        ... I admit it was an uphill battle, but it was very rewarding. The philosophical games and academic satire kept me interested when the plot started getting
        Message 3 of 3 , Jul 9, 2004
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          --- In johnbarth@yahoogroups.com, "agrimorfee" <agrimorfee@h...>
          wrote:
          > I have to read this again...in my 2 attempts I always got tired in
          > its last quarter. Maybe I will "get" again?

          I admit it was an uphill battle, but it was very rewarding. The
          philosophical games and academic satire kept me interested when the
          plot started getting repetitious. How many times did he have to go
          into WESCAC's belly?

          > What else have you read of JB?

          Like I said, "Floating Opera" gets a bad rap for being a relatively
          short and straightforward novel from the king of circuitous
          storytelling. I disagree with those who call it an inferior work, and
          as support I point to its typically Barthian paradoxes and scathing
          wit.

          When I read "Tidewater Tales," I was fascinated by Barth the
          raconteur. Unfortunately, it was all pyrotechnics and very little
          substance. His addenda to such classics as the Odyssey and Don
          Quixote were extremely embarrassing, and the protracted bull session
          where everybody excitedly discusses Scheherezade's menstrual cycle
          seems like just the thing a humorless old academic wishes would
          happen on a sailing trip.

          Esteban
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