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Re: [johnbarth] Giles, Goat-Boy

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  • Matt Trebelhorn
    So about an hour after I sent my message on Friday, my wife said to me -- sua sponte -- after dinner, let s go to the bookstore. So what we did, and I picked
    Message 1 of 12 , Aug 11 7:53 AM
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      So about an hour after I sent my message on Friday, my wife said to me -- sua sponte -- "after dinner, let's go to the bookstore."

      So what we did, and I picked up Inherent Vice (the aforementioned new Pynchon).

      It's just under 400 pages, and it's Pynchon all right -- paranoia, hallucinations, laugh-out-loud dumb jokes, a strong possibility of another win in the annual contest for worst literary sex scenes.  But in many ways it seems like Pynchon-lite.  Part of that is because he's self-consciously taken on a light, quick-reading genre, and he's done a hell of a job.  Part of it, though, it feels like he explains away a lot of his jokes. 

      I'm developing an idea that that habit, plus certain stylistic quirks (the symmetrical sentence structure Joyce uses in part 3-or-is-it-4 of Portrait to indicate Steven's precocious immaturity shows up here a lot, in the form "so what I did was, was I did X"; there are other odd-but-formulaic recurring structures, too) and the overrall crappiness of the cover -- the illustration looks like something out of a high school drawing class -- are all part of an overall commitment to the mediocrity of pulp/noir.  I hate the idea that the book might be deliberately dumbed-down, but there it is.

      I'm also turning over in my head the possible meanings of the lead character's name -- Larry "Doc" Sportello; the last name being Italian for door, or depending on context, window (like a bank teller's window).  Doc Door?  Now that *would* be a sublimely dumb joke.

      I picked up Against the Day when it came out, but have not yet finished it.  Actually, not yet halfway.  I picked it up again last week when I heard that Inherent Vice was about to come out.  (K, I sympathize entirely -- if I can't read as fast as Pynchon writes, am I doing something wrong?)  It doesn't have the easy, affable, nostalgic feel of the new book.  But, as an interest in Barth might suggest, I'm drawn to books and writers that create their own idioms, that make the reader develop a new way of reading.

      Though, to be honest, Giles was never a favorite of mine.  One I do always mean to re-read, though.

      Matt

      On 7 Aug, 2009, at 5:01 PM, Krzysztof Majer wrote:

       

      Hey everyone,

      good to see a few new messages!

      > So, lacking Barth news, anybody laid hands on the new Pynchon yet?

      I have literally laid hands on Against the Day, and put it on the shelf, but still haven't read it. But I suppose you mean the new new Pynchon, the title of which I can never remember (something with 'vice' in it?) and which is supposed to be a lean one, Lot 49 / Vineland style. Didn't realize it was out yet. It's so annoying when writers put out new ones before you've read the previous ones! :) And when it's someone not that prolific who does it, it gets even more annoying and makes one wonder where the time goes. I'm mostly stuck with the Canucks and lit crit these days and can hardly squeeze anything else in during the school year...

      And yes, thanks for that Giles question, I did a mental reassessment of that one too (still up in my top 3 fave Barthbooks), but the query had been answered by then. Would be fun to reread it yet again some day. Ah well.

      All the best to the Barth Bunch. Enjoy the summer while it's still here.

      K






      --- On Fri, 8/7/09, Matt Trebelhorn <matt.lists@trebelho rn.com> wrote:

      From: Matt Trebelhorn <matt.lists@trebelho rn.com>
      Subject: Re: [johnbarth] Giles, Goat-Boy
      To: johnbarth@yahoogrou ps.com
      Received: Friday, August 7, 2009, 10:49 PM

       

      No need to apologize.  You asked for help with the cite, and I was trying to make sure it was right.  Plus it gave me an excuse to re-consider Giles, Goat-Boy for a few minutes.  Time better spent than most of mine these days, I'm afraid.  In any case, just trying to lend a hand.


      So, lacking Barth news, anybody laid hands on the new Pynchon yet?

      Best,
      Matt
      On 6 Aug, 2009, at 4:37 PM, Nicola Leporini wrote:

       

      Yes, you're right. Sorry.

      --- On Thu, 6/8/09, Matt Trebelhorn <matt.lists@trebelho rn.com> wrote:
        But the actual quote is -- somewhat less head-scratchingly -- "Ontogeny recapitulates cosmogeny."

      Matt






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    • Josiah Miller
      Pynchon s new novel, in my opinion is fantastic and I believe there is definitely a lot more underneath the surface that constitutes a second read or more. 
      Message 2 of 12 , Aug 11 8:21 AM
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        Pynchon's new novel, in my opinion is fantastic and I believe there is definitely a lot more underneath the surface that constitutes a second read or more.  I've been studying Pynchon for awhile and took a class in my undergraduate studies that focused on Pynchon.  Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) this was before Against the Day came out.  I truly loved Against the Day.  I also loved Vineland a lot as well.  It seems to me everytime I read a Pynchon book, it becomes one of my favorites.  I could probably read CoL 49 now and feel like its one of my favorites or M&D and have the same feeling.  I do have quite a fondness for GR, M&D and AtD though.  I read an Advanced Copy of Inherent Vice and am now reading the book again more slowly (for one I have other books I am reading and am trying to catch up on some Barth novels I missed and I also want to read IV more carefully the second go around).  To me, Inherent Vice is the one I slapped my knee to the most and it had some beautiful lines towards the second half of the book that reminded me of Vineland and AtD.  I knew from all I heard about the book and all the reviews I was reading what to expect so I wasn't let down in the least.  I don't know if Pynchon could ever let me down, I am a huge fan (I even have some Pynchon tattoos). 
         
        There's already an Inherent Vice wiki for those interested, also there are talks about a movie for Inherent Vice being pitched.  There will be a group reading of IV starting in Sept on the Pynchon List.
         
        Thanks,
        Josiah

        --- On Tue, 8/11/09, Matt Trebelhorn <matt.lists@...> wrote:

        From: Matt Trebelhorn <matt.lists@...>
        Subject: Re: [johnbarth] Giles, Goat-Boy
        To: johnbarth@yahoogroups.com
        Date: Tuesday, August 11, 2009, 10:53 AM

         
        So about an hour after I sent my message on Friday, my wife said to me -- sua sponte -- "after dinner, let's go to the bookstore."

        So what we did, and I picked up Inherent Vice (the aforementioned new Pynchon).

        It's just under 400 pages, and it's Pynchon all right -- paranoia, hallucinations, laugh-out-loud dumb jokes, a strong possibility of another win in the annual contest for worst literary sex scenes.  But in many ways it seems like Pynchon-lite.  Part of that is because he's self-consciously taken on a light, quick-reading genre, and he's done a hell of a job.  Part of it, though, it feels like he explains away a lot of his jokes. 

        I'm developing an idea that that habit, plus certain stylistic quirks (the symmetrical sentence structure Joyce uses in part 3-or-is-it-4 of Portrait to indicate Steven's precocious immaturity shows up here a lot, in the form "so what I did was, was I did X"; there are other odd-but-formulaic recurring structures, too) and the overrall crappiness of the cover -- the illustration looks like something out of a high school drawing class -- are all part of an overall commitment to the mediocrity of pulp/noir.  I hate the idea that the book might be deliberately dumbed-down, but there it is.

        I'm also turning over in my head the possible meanings of the lead character's name -- Larry "Doc" Sportello; the last name being Italian for door, or depending on context, window (like a bank teller's window).  Doc Door?  Now that *would* be a sublimely dumb joke.

        I picked up Against the Day when it came out, but have not yet finished it.  Actually, not yet halfway.  I picked it up again last week when I heard that Inherent Vice was about to come out.  (K, I sympathize entirely -- if I can't read as fast as Pynchon writes, am I doing something wrong?)  It doesn't have the easy, affable, nostalgic feel of the new book.  But, as an interest in Barth might suggest, I'm drawn to books and writers that create their own idioms, that make the reader develop a new way of reading.

        Though, to be honest, Giles was never a favorite of mine.  One I do always mean to re-read, though.

        Matt

        On 7 Aug, 2009, at 5:01 PM, Krzysztof Majer wrote:

         
        Hey everyone,

        good to see a few new messages!

        >







         

         
        Yes, you're right. Sorry.

        --- On Thu, 6/8/09, Matt Trebelhorn <matt.lists@trebelho rn.com> wrote:
          But the actual quote is -- somewhat less head-scratchingly -- "Ontogeny recapitulates cosmogeny."

        Matt






        Yahoo! Canada Toolbar : Search from anywhere on the web and bookmark your favourite sites. Download it now!




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