[DWJ] authorial intent [was: endings]

Hallie O'Donovan hallieod at gmail.com
Tue Dec 30 18:07:48 EST 2008


 In other words, Charlie saying "I wanted _The
> Fetch of Mardy Watt_ to be a metaphor for the plight of East
> Timor" doesn't make it any less valid for Hallie to counter
> "Well, it read to me like a parody of _Archer's Goon_".
> Heh.  This makes me very happy, for a number of reasons.  One, it puts me
in the place of the reader/critic and makes me look all, like, smart and
stuff?  Two, the idea of Charlie's writing a parody of _Archer's Goon_ is
delightful - though well beyond my ability to imagine what that parody would
be like. (Hey, Deborah - maybe you should collaborate with him on it?!)

Three, (to move to the serious point), it's an example which stays away from
the extreme, prescriptive positions taken by a minority of critics *and
authors*.  I can well imagine the me above returning to  _The Fetch of Mardy
Watt_ with a new perspective on the book.  The East Timor idea might or
might not prove meaningful to me, but would definitely be an interesting
possible addition to my parody of _Archer's Goon_ reading.  And this
alternate Charlie hasn't said "_The Fetch of Mardy Watt_ *is* a metaphor for
the plight of East Timor, and is *only* a metaphor for etc., and any reader
or critic who sees it as anything else has rocks for brains." As an author,
he might even be big enough to say "Hey, that parody idea wasn't in mind
when I was writing the book, but there could be something to that."

Finally, it's a point which none of the responsible parties can make about
themselves, but which I'm perfectly free to make: some wonderful critical
work on DWJ has been produced by listmembers.  And unlike the writing of
this putative arrogant critic who seems to storm around the list every time
we have this discussion, it doesn't close down possibilities or impose
limited 'meanings' on books, nor does it in any way decrease enjoyment or
appreciation of them.  Quite the opposite.


BTW, for those newer members of the list, Deborah, Charlie and Farah are
among those responsible parties.  And while Charlie might have intended _The
Fetch of Mardy Watt_ to be a metaphor for many things, readers will more
likely find it an inventive, layered and very engaging fantasy.

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