The Chumps of Choice

A Congenial Spot for the Discussion of Against the Day, by Thomas Ruggles Pynchon, Cornell '59, and Any Other Damned Thing That Comes Into Our Heads. Warning: Grad Students and Willie-Wavers will be mocked.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Chumps On Turkey Break

A Gentle Reminder: We are on a two-week break for the Thanksgiving holiday. We will be back in session on Monday, December 3, with the Final Installment of our festivities.

That certainly doesn't mean that discussion is discouraged! As a suggested starting point, allow me to throw out this quote, from Scott Leith in The Spectator:
I’m far from the first person to point it out, but it bears pointing out again: Pynchon’s novels behave much more like jazz than they do like anything else. Themes emerge, are riffed on, returned to, and transfigured. Passages refer to each other not so much directly as by a sort of sympathetic vibration. You suddenly notice something -- be it as slight as the conjunction of the colours mauve and green -- that clicks in your mind. I’ve seen this earlier. Where the hell was it ? What’s he getting at? Accordingly, my notes are as bizarre as those I have made on any book I’ve read for review. (...) What is Against the Day about? What is it not about? To try to summarise the plot would be insanity. It is a comedy of ideas with people in it. Describing it as if it were a realist novel would be like trying to transcribe in musical notation the sound of a piano falling down the stairs. (...) It is virtuoso nonsense; it is a giant shaggy dog story, serious as history; it is by turns mind-crushingly tedious and utterly exhilarating; it is remorselessly facetious and yet deeply moving. It is like watching the European apocalypse as scripted by Looney Toons. It is brilliant, but it is exhaustingly brilliant.


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Cute, but dumb.

At Monday, November 26, 2007 4:13:00 PM, Blogger Civic Center said...

Get to work, Neddie. I need some closure around here.

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