criticism gone awry

McMullin, Elise mcmullea at
Wed Aug 25 12:12:24 EDT 1999

Ooh, so many interesting posts today.  Hallie said:
>"The real Awful Boyfriend was just of the belief that only Joyce and the like
merited attention."

yuk!  I knew this guy in college who ranked authors.  His top 3 he
called "The Big Guys."  I can't recall who the Big Guys were anymore,
but I remember I detested all three.  I guess I have to make allowance
for youthful excitement over large ideas, though.

>"Reading Portrait, however, did enable me to recognize the quote from it in
>the AB's good-bye letter, something along the lines of going to forge the
>consciousness of his race
in the smithy of his soul (we're talking very, very pretentious!)."


Actually, I didn't mind Portrait when I read it for English class - it
made a change from Gatsby and Scarlet Letter at least!  otoh, I haven't
re-read it.  When I was a traveling student, we went looking for Joyce's
house in Zurich.  We had the street address.  We found the street.  But
it just wasn't there.  We paced back and forth counting the house
numbers, but there was just a gap in the numbering and no house with
that number.  Just like Dillian's house in Archer's Goon.  In real life
I suppose we consulted a faulty source in the first place. It's not
regrettable. We were just trying to fill up our days with the cheapest
sights to see.

>""She thought of all the things Tom might have said - which Seb would have
>said -
>just now to change her mind.  It was the things not said that showed they
>might have a great deal in common."   I just don't get that.  I know Polly
>said that she and Tom had nothing in common, but I'd figured that was just
>to "lose" in the contest, to save Tom, and not something she really meant,
>any more than she meant the other things she said then.  If it's Seb and
>Tom, I see what they have in common, but here she's contrasting them.

She grasped that you had to tell the truth, or I should say A truth.
That's how I took it.  Like when a friend tries on a dress that is a
good color but otherwise horrible you can say "that's a good color for
you."  and not say, "all those bows and glittery things are horrible."
heh, I would probably add, "I noticed a number of other dresses in that
and similar colors on the sales rack." hint hint.  But I took Polly as
being very careful to say things that she *did* mean - being careful
which things she said and not going into explanations of *how* she meant
them - leaving the door open on the meaning.  Where I get bogged down in
this part is wondering how much they have to abide by the things said
and whose meanings - the meanings of the person saying or the meanings
the auditors take away.  And I'm terminally confused and pessimistic
about their hopes to get together between Nowhere and HereNow.  Bah,
>I'll be headed to the library tonight to read this again!
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