Elitism was Tam Lin

Ven ven at vvcrane.junglelink.co.uk
Thu Sep 14 20:53:30 EDT 2000

Melissa wrote

> What's funny is that in _Tam Lin_ it actually breaks down.  There's a scene
> (I only read this book once, so I can't give many details) where someone
> quotes the line from Dante about "abandon hope all ye who enter here."  In
> context I think the person was depicted as having gotten the line from the
> same well of popular culture that everyone draws from.  Janet, of course,
> has actually read Dante, and as I recall she exchanges glances with her
> cronies and they all recite in unison the "correct" version of the quote.
> And it's intended to show how well-read they all are and how much they have
> in common.  But if you have read _Inferno_ you know that there are several
> different translations and all of them are a little different.  As it
> happens, their "correct" version is not the one I read in high school (and
> not the one I read in college either, both different, and neither of which
> is the one I gave at the beginning of this tediously long paragraph).  So
> when I read this scene, Janet and her friends actually seemed pretty sad,
> thinking they were so literate.  And yet...it's so *persuasive*, this view
> of intellectualism.

Its my turn to say it "Melissa is always right". I remember thinking 
something like this when I read Ttam Lin -- after all the only 
"authentic " way to quote this line would be in Italian. What's more 
I prefer the version Melissa quoted because it scans better.

It also points to another problem with the way PD uses quotes and 
quote happy characters -- its all so competitive, if its a game its a 
grudge match. I much prefer people who wear their erudition more 
lightly and have some fun with it. I'm thinking of Tim Powers here 
with his playful approach to history and literature.
And, indeed DWJ who obviously has as at least as big a reference 
library as PD.


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