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Thread: what are you reading now?

  1. #3436
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    In The Recognitions a phrase comes up several times which I first heard (I think) as the title of Pynchon's novel - Inherent Vice. I'm guessing Pynchon is a fan of Gaddis, was that a homage?

  2. #3437
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    New Gibson came out yesterday.

  3. #3438
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    Quote Originally Posted by IdleRich View Post
    In The Recognitions a phrase comes up several times which I first heard (I think) as the title of Pynchon's novel - Inherent Vice. I'm guessing Pynchon is a fan of Gaddis, was that a homage?
    I don't think it's ever been confirmed, but wouldn't surprise me. It's not a phrase you see too often and it seems like the kind of wink Pynchon would give. Some people actually thought Pynchon was Gaddis when V. was published.
    Last edited by version; 23-01-2020 at 02:28 PM.

  4. #3439
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    You ever heard of the "Wanda Tinasky" stuff?

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    A couple of people called "jack green" and "Wanda Tinasky" wrote a bunch of weird letters to various publications and were thought to be Gaddis and Pynchon respectively, but were just some randoms. Apparently "Wanda" turned out to be some guy who ended up murdering his wife then killing himself.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wanda_Tinasky

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Green_(critic)

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  8. #3443
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    I'm gonna read all about that. Reminds me of that letter about ten step programmes etc that is allegedly by DFW.

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    As jack green, Reid started a self-published fanzine called newspaper dedicated to the work of Gaddis. In the first edition of the 'zine, green claimed that The Recognitions was the greatest book of all time. After meeting Gaddis, green wrote an article called Fire the bastards! for newspaper #12 that fiercely denounced the literary critics whom he believes doomed the novel with their bad reviews. In 1962, he also took out a full-page ad in The Village Voice heralding the paperback edition of The Recognitions (in which he again took a swipe at the critics).
    Many in the literary scene mistakenly thought "jack green" was a pseudonym for Gaddis himself, while others believed that Gaddis paid for Green's ad.
    Life imitating art as there is a scene early in The Recognitions when the (sort of) main character is approached by a critic on the eve of his first painting exhibition, he offers him good reviews in exchange for a cut of any sales but is rebuffed and savages the show leading to it to sink without trace, the paintings being stored in a warehouse which ultimately burns down.

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  11. #3445
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    I mean I guess everyone who was involved knew that and it was tied up in the whole thing.

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    New Gibson came out yesterday.
    Read a few reviews of this over the last week or two... reading between the lines it does sound quite interesting.

  13. #3447
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    Happened to read Orwell's review of Mein Kampf today, love it:

    "Suppose that Hitler's programme could be put into effect. What he envisages, a hundred years hence, is a continuous state of 250 million Germans with plenty of "living room" (i.e. stretching to Afghanistan or thereabouts), a horrible brainless empire in which, essentially, nothing ever happens except the training of young men for war and the endless breeding of fresh cannon-fodder. How was it that he was able to put this monstrous vision across? It is easy to say that at one stage of his career he was financed by the heavy industrialists, who saw in him the man who would smash the Socialists and Communists. They would not have backed him, however, if he had not talked a great movement into existence already. Again, the situation in Germany, with its seven million unemployed, was obviously favourable for demagogues. But Hitler could not have succeeded against his many rivals if it had not been for the attraction of his own personality, which one can feel even in the clumsy writing of Mein Kampf, and which is no doubt overwhelming when one hears his speeches...The fact is that there is something deeply appealing about him. One feels it again when one sees his photographs—and I recommend especially the photograph at the beginning of Hurst and Blackett's edition, which shows Hitler in his early Brownshirt days. It is a pathetic, dog-like face, the face of a man suffering under intolerable wrongs. In a rather more manly way it reproduces the expression of innumerable pictures of Christ crucified, and there is little doubt that that is how Hitler sees himself. The initial, personal cause of his grievance against the universe can only be guessed at; but at any rate the grievance is here. He is the martyr, the victim, Prometheus chained to the rock, the self-sacrificing hero who fights single-handed against impossible odds. If he were killing a mouse he would know how to make it seem like a dragon. One feels, as with Napoleon, that he is fighting against destiny, that he can't win, and yet that he somehow deserves to. The attraction of such a pose is of course enormous; half the films that one sees turn upon some such theme.

    Also he has grasped the falsity of the hedonistic attitude to life. Nearly all western thought since the last war, certainly all "progressive" thought, has assumed tacitly that human beings desire nothing beyond ease, security and avoidance of pain. In such a view of life there is no room, for instance, for patriotism and the military virtues. The Socialist who finds his children playing with soldiers is usually upset, but he is never able to think of a substitute for the tin soldiers; tin pacifists somehow won't do. Hitler, because in his own joyless mind he feels it with exceptional strength, knows that human beings don't only want comfort, safety, short working-hours, hygiene, birth-control and, in general, common sense; they also, at least intermittently, want struggle and self-sacrifice, not to mention drums, flags and loyalty-parades. However they may be as economic theories, Fascism and Nazism are psychologically far sounder than any hedonistic conception of life. The same is probably true of Stalin's militarised version of Socialism. All three of the great dictators have enhanced their power by imposing intolerable burdens on their peoples. Whereas Socialism, and even capitalism in a more grudging way, have said to people "I offer you a good time," Hitler has said to them "I offer you struggle, danger and death," and as a result a whole nation flings itself at his feet. Perhaps later on they will get sick of it and change their minds, as at the end of the last war. After a few years of slaughter and starvation "Greatest happiness of the greatest number" is a good slogan, but at this moment "Better an end with horror than a horror without end" is a winner. Now that we are fighting against the man who coined it, we ought not to underrate its emotional appeal."
    Αι ψυχαί οσμώνται καθ΄ Άιδην.

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  15. #3448
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    You still reading The Recognitions, Rich? How you finding it?

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    The Practice of Everyday Life by Michel de Certeau

    Getting through this french academic jargon requires my full concentration, but the payoff is pretty good.

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    You still reading The Recognitions, Rich? How you finding it?0
    Yes I am. I'm about 350 pages in and a lot of it I'm enjoying. I think it's weakest when it tries to hard to be funny and creates these slightly forced wacky situations. I can forgive that though cos there's a lot of good stuff... big canvas stuff of loads of characters and I like the little snippets of conversations that he uses to give these overviews of the big city and mad world. There is a big drag party which falls a bit flat... I think that possibly in 1950 a load of men called Big Anna etc in dresses and butch girls dressed as men was intrinsically interesting in a way that it just isn't now. But that's a rare misstep (or just dated I suppose)... the breadth of the characterisation and the learning involved, especially when Wyatt and Valentine talk about art is something in itself. I just don't think you get people who know so much any more, who have ploughed through EVERY important work in Greek, Latin, English, French or German (I know Craner attempted it which is something in itself) and they did it without the internet to give them hints on where to look or crib notes or anything. I mean I guess the canon was smaller and there was more consensus as to what it was but still it was vast... and hearing them debating it and the main guy's understanding of art is truly fascinating. And you can see it as proto-Pynchon in a way, although putting art where he puts nerdy stuff about engineering.
    I was away for the weekend and couldn't read but I'm just about to dive back in in fact... hope it stays good.

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