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Re: Identity in the Floating Opera

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  • annalina
    ... For the moment, I ve none. I mean, I ve not found the problematics yet. I am looking for ideas, and I ll organize them later. For me, Todd Andrews suffers
    Message 1 of 13 , Apr 28, 2007
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      --- In johnbarth@yahoogroups.com, "Mark Brawner" <mark.brawner@...>
      wrote:
      >
      > On 4/26/07, sponge_bob4988 <sponge_bob4988@...> wrote:
      > > Hi, I'm a new member in this group and I'm currently working on a
      > > essay about identity in The Floating Opera. Any idea would be very
      > > welcome! Thank you
      >
      > So what's your general thrust so far?

      For the moment, I've none. I mean, I've not found the problematics
      yet. I am looking for ideas, and I'll organize them later. For me,
      Todd Andrews suffers from an identity crisis, which is linked to the
      existentialist philosophy pervading the book. I would also mention his
      different "masks"...
      Do you think we could call this book a kind of Bildungsroman? Because
      at the end of the book, the day before he decided to commit suicide,
      he finds the truth about himself and the relationship between his will
      and his heart.
      >
    • Mark Brawner
      ... Mmm... I don t know that I would stretch the term that far -- i.e., to accomodate the case of a protagonist udergoing a philosophical shift, however
      Message 2 of 13 , May 1, 2007
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        > Do you think we could call this book a kind of Bildungsroman?

        Mmm... I don't know that I would stretch the term that far -- i.e., to
        accomodate the case of a protagonist udergoing a philosophical shift,
        however profound.

        >Because
        > at the end of the book, the day before he decided to commit suicide,
        > he finds the truth about himself and the relationship between his will
        > and his heart.

        I don't really know what to say to this because I don't know what it
        means. Do you wnat to elaborate a little?
      • annalina
        ... to ... shift, ... suicide, ... will ... Sorry if my English is not always clear, but as you may have guessed, I m not a native speaker!I meant that in the
        Message 3 of 13 , May 3, 2007
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          --- In johnbarth@yahoogroups.com, "Mark Brawner" <mark.brawner@...>
          wrote:
          >
          > > Do you think we could call this book a kind of Bildungsroman?
          >
          > Mmm... I don't know that I would stretch the term that far -- i.e.,
          to
          > accomodate the case of a protagonist udergoing a philosophical
          shift,
          > however profound.
          >
          > >Because
          > > at the end of the book, the day before he decided to commit
          suicide,
          > > he finds the truth about himself and the relationship between his
          will
          > > and his heart.
          >
          > I don't really know what to say to this because I don't know what it
          > means. Do you wnat to elaborate a little?
          >
          Sorry if my English is not always clear, but as you may have guessed,
          I'm not a native speaker!I meant that in the chapter "The Inquiry", he
          understands that what he thought were "the stages of [his]intellectual
          developments" are only changing masks. In other words, at the end of
          the book he finds the truth about himself, and I thought we might
          consider the book a "buildungsroman" in this particular respect.
          However, I've thought about it all this afternoon, and I think I will
          study the instability of identity which can however be dealt with
          through the act of writing. If the book is representative of his
          identity since it is a kind of puzzle ( disrupted chronology,
          digressions, etc) and its "meandering" structure recalls Tod's
          changing masks, yet at the same time writing enables him to build his
          identity, as his "self-inquiry" shows. Meanwhile, this aspect takes on
          a metafictional dimension, since Barth himself said that what he
          wanted to do with the Floating Opera was "simply to write a
          publishable novel if I could and perhaps in the process learn who I
          was at least in the medium of fiction."
          I think this could fit as a third part for an essay. As to the first
          two ones, it's not clear yet...
          Do you think I could do something with the fact that he sees himself
          and the others as animals?
        • Blair Mahoney
          It s been too long since I ve read The Floating opera to remember much of the details and comment intelligently, but you might also try here:
          Message 4 of 13 , May 4, 2007
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            It's been too long since I've read The Floating opera to remember much of the details and comment intelligently, but you might also try here:

            Other group members would no doubt be interested too. It's a forum offshoot of The Modern Word dealing largely with experimental fiction. There's a thread on Barth in the 'Other modern writers' section. It's pretty active, with a hardcore of regular contributors.

            In the meantime, I will say that it's interesting that you're considering aspects of the novel as metafictional as it's probably generally seen (certainly by me) as being from his pre-metafictional phase, which he really got into with a vengeance in Lost in the Funhouse and Chimera. You seem to be construing an extra-literary comment by Barth as the basis of this interpretation, but surely it would only be metafictional if the comment had been made within the pages of the novel itself.

            Cheers,

            Blair


            On 04/05/2007, at 12:23 AM, annalina wrote:


            Sorry if my English is not always clear, but as you may have guessed,
            I'm not a native speaker!I meant that in the chapter "The Inquiry", he
            understands that what he thought were "the stages of [his]intellectual
            developments" are only changing masks. In other words, at the end of
            the book he finds the truth about himself, and I thought we might
            consider the book a "buildungsroman" in this particular respect.
            However, I've thought about it all this afternoon, and I think I will
            study the instability of identity which can however be dealt with
            through the act of writing. If the book is representative of his
            identity since it is a kind of puzzle ( disrupted chronology,
            digressions, etc) and its "meandering" structure recalls Tod's
            changing masks, yet at the same time writing enables him to build his
            identity, as his "self-inquiry" shows. Meanwhile, this aspect takes on
            a metafictional dimension, since Barth himself said that what he
            wanted to do with the Floating Opera was "simply to write a
            publishable novel if I could and perhaps in the process learn who I
            was at least in the medium of fiction."
            I think this could fit as a third part for an essay. As to the first
            two ones, it's not clear yet...
            Do you think I could do something with the fact that he sees himself
            and the others as animals?


          • Blair Mahoney
            I finally, very belatedly, got around to reading the latest work by our man. You can read my thoughts on it here: http://web.mac.com/b1b2 (Short version: it s
            Message 5 of 13 , May 4, 2007
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              I finally, very belatedly, got around to reading the latest work by
              our man. You can read my thoughts on it here:

              http://web.mac.com/b1b2

              (Short version: it's just what you'd expect from him, and I loved it)

              Cheers,

              Blair
            • Elena Tarnarutskaya
              Blair, thanks a lot for your commentary on Three Roads! After it, I ll do my best to find and read the book. I also admire the way J.B. s metafiction helps
              Message 6 of 13 , May 5, 2007
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                Blair, thanks a lot for your commentary on Three Roads!
                After it, I'll do my best to find and read the book. 
                I also admire the way J.B.'s metafiction helps retrieve from the memory of literature those techniques that make it interesting, worth reading.  
                You mentioned his words  "novel that imitates a novel rather than the real world". Could you hint where's that from?
                 
                Elena
                .



                Get your own web address.
                Have a HUGE year through Yahoo! Small Business.

              • Blair Mahoney
                It s quoted in a few places online, only one of which gives the citation, which is that it was quoted on page 161 of: Currie, Mark, ed. Metafiction. New York:
                Message 7 of 13 , May 6, 2007
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                  It's quoted in a few places online, only one of which gives the citation, which is that it was quoted on page 161 of:

                  Currie, Mark, ed. Metafiction. New York: Longman, 1995.

                  I was sure I'd come across it elsewhere as well, but I wasn't sure where. I checked The Friday Book and there's a similar quotation in "The Literature of Exhaustion" where he describes The Sot-Weed Factor and Giles Goat-Boy as "novels which imitate the form of the Novel, by an author who imitates the role of Author." (p.72)

                  Cheers,

                  Blair


                  On 06/05/2007, at 4:59 PM, Elena Tarnarutskaya wrote:

                  You mentioned his words  "novel that imitates a novel rather than the real world". Could you hint where's that from?
                   
                  Elena
                • agrimorfee
                  ... it) I liked it more than his previous two offerings, for certain. Coming Soon! and Ten Night And A Night (which I am currently rereading, and remembering
                  Message 8 of 13 , May 8, 2007
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                    --- In johnbarth@yahoogroups.com, Blair Mahoney <b1b2@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > > (Short version: it's just what you'd expect from him, and I loved
                    it)


                    I liked it more than his previous two offerings, for certain. Coming
                    Soon! and Ten Night And A Night (which I am currently rereading, and
                    remembering why I didn't like it so much) seemed to me very lazy
                    writing. Here JB is attempting to write real STORIES again, which is
                    nice, instead of writing about (ho hum) how hard it is to be a senior
                    aged, liberally-minded writer/professor with writer's block, sailing
                    in the marshlands with his fabulously sexy and intellectual wife while
                    the world seems to be going to heck in a handbasket.
                  • agrimorfee
                    ... You may consider comparing Jacob Horner in JB s second novel, End Of The Road, in these terms as well. Some folks consider the two novels as a piece, as
                    Message 9 of 13 , May 8, 2007
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                      --- In johnbarth@yahoogroups.com, "annalina" <sponge_bob4988@...>
                      wrote:
                      >
                      > --- In johnbarth@yahoogroups.com, "Mark Brawner" <mark.brawner@>
                      > wrote:
                      > >
                      > > On 4/26/07, sponge_bob4988 <sponge_bob4988@> wrote:
                      > > > Hi, I'm a new member in this group and I'm currently working on a
                      > > > essay about identity in The Floating Opera. ... For me,
                      > Todd Andrews suffers from an identity crisis, ...
                      >

                      You may consider comparing Jacob Horner in JB's second novel, End Of
                      The Road, in these terms as well. Some folks consider the two novels
                      as a piece, as they both involve emotionally disconnected protagonists
                      involved in infidelity, but End of the Road has a more tragic ending.
                    • narges montakhabi
                      Hi Do u have an e-version of toga party? tnx ... From: agrimorfee Subject: [johnbarth] Re: Where Three Roads Meet To:
                      Message 10 of 13 , Apr 17, 2009
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                        Hi
                        Do u have an e-version of toga party?
                        tnx

                        --- On Tue, 5/8/07, agrimorfee <agrimorfee@...> wrote:
                        From: agrimorfee <agrimorfee@...>
                        Subject: [johnbarth] Re: Where Three Roads Meet
                        To: johnbarth@yahoogroups.com
                        Date: Tuesday, May 8, 2007, 12:59 PM

                        --- In johnbarth@yahoogrou ps.com, Blair Mahoney <b1b2@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > > (Short version: it's just what you'd expect from him, and I loved
                        it)


                        I liked it more than his previous two offerings, for certain. Coming
                        Soon! and Ten Night And A Night (which I am currently rereading, and
                        remembering why I didn't like it so much) seemed to me very lazy
                        writing. Here JB is attempting to write real STORIES again, which is
                        nice, instead of writing about (ho hum) how hard it is to be a senior
                        aged, liberally-minded writer/professor with writer's block, sailing
                        in the marshlands with his fabulously sexy and intellectual wife while
                        the world seems to be going to heck in a handbasket.


                      • narges montakhabi
                        Hi, I need an e-text of Toga Party, can anyone help me? ... From: narges montakhabi Subject: Re: [johnbarth] Re: Where Three
                        Message 11 of 13 , Apr 18, 2009
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                          Hi,
                          I need an e-text of Toga Party, can anyone help me?

                          --- On Fri, 4/17/09, narges montakhabi <narges_montakhabi@...> wrote:
                          From: narges montakhabi <narges_montakhabi@...>
                          Subject: Re: [johnbarth] Re: Where Three Roads Meet
                          To: johnbarth@yahoogroups.com
                          Date: Friday, April 17, 2009, 6:26 AM

                          Hi
                          Do u have an e-version of toga party?
                          tnx

                          --- On Tue, 5/8/07, agrimorfee <agrimorfee@hotmail. com> wrote:
                          From: agrimorfee <agrimorfee@hotmail. com>
                          Subject: [johnbarth] Re: Where Three Roads Meet
                          To: johnbarth@yahoogrou ps.com
                          Date: Tuesday, May 8, 2007, 12:59 PM

                          --- In johnbarth@yahoogrou ps.com, Blair Mahoney <b1b2@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > > (Short version: it's just what you'd expect from him, and I loved
                          it)


                          I liked it more than his previous two offerings, for certain. Coming
                          Soon! and Ten Night And A Night (which I am currently rereading, and
                          remembering why I didn't like it so much) seemed to me very lazy
                          writing. Here JB is attempting to write real STORIES again, which is
                          nice, instead of writing about (ho hum) how hard it is to be a senior
                          aged, liberally-minded writer/professor with writer's block, sailing
                          in the marshlands with his fabulously sexy and intellectual wife while
                          the world seems to be going to heck in a handbasket.



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