OT: What is literary truth?

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Sun Jun 8 16:00:54 EDT 2003


Robyn wrote:

>Thanks Minnow, for correcting *me*, when I was quoting someone else.

That's ok, no problem...  I *had* written what you quoted, but *hadn't*
written the things you refered to in your reply, and I was sure you'd want
to clear up who had actually said what.  Otherwise things can get so
difficult, with everyone talking at cross-purposes and misunderstanding
each other.  (It might be easier if your program put the name you're
talking to at the top instead of just the date and 'you wrote', which
doesn't say who the 'you' was.)

Meantime, what *is* the secret?  I want to know how one reads texts that
are not extant, because it is something I've always longed to be able to
do.

There are scads of unwritten works I want to read: the final Lensman book
just for the sake of completeism, for example, and the rest of Kubla Khan,
and the Last Dangerous Visions, and at least three Rosemary Sutcliffs that
would have been written if she hadn't been too ill to do it, and there are
even some DWJs that didn't happen because they just didn't go right and had
to be abandoned after a few chapters,  Then there's the texts that used to
exist and have been destroyed, like both ends of the Battle of Maldon that
haven't been available since 1731, and the original manuscripts of all the
plays by William Shakespeare in his own handwriting just to find out which
bits he actually wrote, and the various lost gospels (and I'm sure everyone
else has a list too).

Do I have to wait until I get to the afterlife, where I can hope also to
read the trenchant comments of Samuel Johnson on all the stuff written
since 1784?

I think the mot juste might be 'To die for.'

"Any news of the Brontes?"
"Rather!  Emily's writing a new book called 'Swithering Depths'."
        (Rachel Ferguson, *The Brontes Went To Woolworths*)

Minnow


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