Saturday, February 21, 2009


Tired. No let-up at work today. Came home, napped, went to the gym, had a tea across the street while reading an article on Donald Barthelme (article not available at The New Yorker without subscription). I never read him but I don't think I'd like him (judging by the excerpts in the article). This from Wikipedia:

Barthelme's stories typically avoid traditional plot structures, relying instead on a steady accumulation of seemingly-unrelated detail. By subverting the reader's expectations through constant non sequiturs, Barthelme creates a hopelessly fragmented verbal collage reminiscent of such modernist works as T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land and James Joyce's Ulysses, whose linguistic experiments he often challenged.

I found this excerpt that was included in the New Yorker article:

The judicial form contemplated in the agreement is that of a free trade zone to be transformed gradually into a customs union. As Emile Myerson has said, "L'homme fait de la métaphysique comme il respire, sans le vouloir et surtout sans s'en douter la plupart du temps." No woman is worth more than 24 cattle, Pamela Odede B.A.'s father said. With this album Abbey Lincoln's stature as one of the great jazz singers of our time is confirmed, Laura La Plante said. Widely used for motors, power tools, lighting, TV, etc. Generator output: 3500 watts, 115/230 volt, 60 cy., AC, continuous duty. Max. 230 V capacitor motor, loaded on starting -- 1/2 hp; unloaded on starting -- 2 hp. Control box mounts starting switch, duplex 115 V receptacle for standard or 3-conductor grounding plugs, tandem 230 V grounding receptacles, and wing nut battery terminals. More than six hundred different kinds of forceps have been invented. Let's not talk about the lion, she said. Wilson looked over at her without smiling and now she smiled at him. This process uses a Lincoln submerged arc welding head to run both inside and outside beads automatically. The rate of progress during the first stage will determine the program to be followed in the second stage. The Glamour editor whose name was Tutti Beale "moved in." What's your name girl? she said coolly. Carola Mitt, Carola Mitt said. The Viennese Opera Ball continued.

This is crap, or to be more charitable, not my taste in literature. As Paul Verlaine wrote: "L'art tout d'abord doit être et paraître sincère / Et clair, absolument: c'est la loi nécessaire /Et dure . . . ." ("Straightaway, art must be and appear sincere and clear, absolutely: that's the necessary and hard [or tough] law . . . .")

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