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Re: [johnbarth] Re: Identity in the Floating Opera

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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 9 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 10 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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