Monday, January 31, 2005

Back to the Comprehensible

This chapter is a nice change of pace from the previous one. A few things from my reading:

1. "...he [Max] will survive." (449) While will Max survive? Because he is adept at stealing others work and passing it off as his own?

2.On 450-1 Otto retells a story he heard from Wyatt about a forged Titian being found over top of a real Titian (with another painting in between): "I mean he didn't know he knew it, but it knew, I mean something knew. I mean, do you see what I mean? That underneath that the original is there, that the real... thing is there, and on the surface you... if can only... see what I mean?"

It's almost as if Otto is trying to limn God or the soul or fate or something beyond us, something metaphysical. The kernel of truth beneath all the veneer.

3. Love Anselm's idea that "...God has become a sentimental theatrical figure in our literature, that God is a melodramatic device used to throw people in novels into a turmoil." (458) Don't we see that happening here in T.Recs. But can we consider it sentimental or melodramatic?

4. The description on 464 of the "new" Sherlock Holmes story provides a nice counterpoint to Wyatt's "new" paintings by Flemish masters. While the Holmes story is about numbers and surface, Wyatt recreates in a more spiritual way. He recreates not through analysis but through a kind of memory (see top of 461).

5. Anyone want to take a shot at Esme's letter?

6 Comments:

Blogger Richard said...

Definitely a nice breather after the previous chapter...

although Esme's letter will require another pass (which happens to be the letter that was written by Sheri Martinelli)

The conversation on p. 464, on the new Sherlock Holmes story, and then authenticity, while providing, as you say, Derik, a nice counterpoint to what Wyatt is doing, also reminded me a little of Walter Benjamin's "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction", which I recently read for the first time... esp. the following:

"...What's the difference? You fake a Dürer by taking the face from one and turning it around, the beard from another, the hat from another, you've got a Dürer, haven't you?
--But only on the surface, Stanley said.
--On the surface! How much deeper do people go? the people who buy them?
--But this, this isn't a...forgery, Otto said holding out the large picture magazine. --It's no secret, they tell you right here...
--That's just what I mean, Max said impatiently. --What's the difference now? In our times?"

February 3, 2005 at 8:46 PM  
Blogger genevieve said...

Hi, this chapter is probably more digestible but nonetheless has some striking moments - for me, Max's casual attribution of the attack on the child to Anselm and his steady attacks on everyone around him in order to discredit their intelligence or good intentions. Max may not survive after all...
And of course Esme's shocking ear-piercing session at Wyatt's rooms. The letter, apparently written almost completely by Martinelli, is almost a bit of an afterthought, isn't it. Seems to share the pattern we have come to see in Wyatt's musings of alternations between incoherence and startlingly clear observations, in this case about the artist/painter in society
( differentiating there as I think Wyatt is interested in all kinds of art, Esme seems a little more restricted in her outlook).

February 4, 2005 at 5:15 AM  
Blogger DerikB said...

"Esme's ear piercing session" - which echoes Wyatt's mother in the first chapter. Same earrings even.

Perhaps the reason they say that Max will survive is because of constant assault on others.

February 5, 2005 at 9:22 AM  
Blogger genevieve said...

Yes, they are the same earrings. I got awfully busy last night, all the kids were out and I finally got a good run on the Internet and read two chapters of the Steven Moore book "William Gaddis" (online at the website) - the second chapter is excellent on the section we read last week, and on the way in which the disintegration and re-integration of Wyatt's personality helps structure the book. And yes, it does mention the earrings on pp.37-38 as part of an analysis of Jungian ideas and imagery throughout. Indeed it does appear Mr. Gaddis knows everything about everything...
Sorry to go backwards, as it were, but I thought this chapter of Moore's was very helpful, if a little serious at times. I guess I would emphasise the role of satire a little more than he does.

February 6, 2005 at 2:15 AM  
Blogger genevieve said...

Ewwh, take that back, that criticising the critic crap - Moore does cover the satire in the first chapter really. And explains in the preface that the second chapter is a completely different approach. This is a very satisfying book, I am really glad I stuck with this now.

February 6, 2005 at 7:03 PM  
Blogger DerikB said...

I didn't realize Moore's Twain book was online there. I tracked down a copy a while back, but having a text searchable one is nice.

February 7, 2005 at 9:10 AM  

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