No' th' auld toon

Quiet abyss journal

“At the simplest level, it had to do with language. We were encouraged from many directions — Kerouac and the Beat writers, the diction of Saul Bellow in The Adventures of Augie March, emerging voices like those of Herbert Gold and Philip Roth - to see how at least two very distinct kinds of English could be allowed in fiction to coexist. Allowed! It was actually OK to write like this! Who knew? The effect was exciting, liberating, strongly positive. It was not a case of either/or, but an expansion of possibilities. I don’t think we were consciously groping after any synthesis, although perhaps we should have been. The success of the “new left” later in the ‘6o’s was to be limited by the failure of college kids and blue-collar workers to get together politically. One reason was the presence of real, invisible class force fields in the way of communication between the two groups.”

– Thomas Pynchon giving rare autobiographical detail, in the introduction to Slow Learner

Guys guys guys, listen

In Pynchon’s V., the title character (if she is that) dies right before World War II, complete with a clockwork eye similar to the technology used to fire V1 rockets. She’s the spirit of war in a sense.

Now, if we can say that Gravity’s Rainbow is a sequel to V, with the recurring characters and shit, what would be a better name for it?



Anonymous asked: Just so you know, I noticed that you reblogged a post the other day that looked a bit disparagingly on the edition of Ulysses edited by Hans W. Gabler, when that is the edition favoured by most Joyce scholars. Most of the arguments against Gabler were lobbed by John Kidd, who in Joyce circles is essentially a persona non grata.


I’m not quite sure to which post you are referring (my queue goes back a long way!), but thanks for telling me. I don’t know that much about the different versions of Ulysses but it’s certainly something that I’ll bear more in mind - I first read a cheap Wordsworth Classics edition (£1.86 with a student discount!) but also have the Oxford World Classics version, which uses the 1922 text, errors and all.

Yeah the Gabler edition is pretty great, I say this as somebody who read the OWC edition first, then the Gabler one when I actually studied the novel. 

So I’ve been reading a fair bit of Freudian derived critical theory, on how dreams are supposedly the mind’s way of working through trauma. I’ve been thinking a lot on how literature can be used to work through trauma, and I’ve written about such themes in the past in some of my fiction.

This morning I had a dream about my dead dog. I dreamt that I was on the correct land mass when he was put down and I held him in my arms as he fell to sleep. (This occurred in the hall of high school’s gym, with somebody holding a bucket to collect the inevitable urine, but both things are irrelevant. Ignore that last sentence.) 

So maybe Freud’s work was in part correct. However, I once had a professor who began having ‘Jungian’ dreams after studying Jung.