Literary Labors of Love and Linkage
March 26, 2004 12:51 AM   Subscribe

What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn't happen much, though.

Holden Caulfield in Catcher In The Rye

J.D. Salinger did not quite agree but then, if you can't hang out with his secretive self, or any other chosen literary icon, you can build her or him a fitting shrine or two or three. It's not quite Smoking Dope with Thomas Pynchon but...
posted by y2karl (13 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
From and for them who didn't get hang with the mysterious Mr. P, there's Pynchon at San Narciso Community College, Clausewitz and Pynchon: Post-Romantic War in Gravity's Rainbow, Pynchon at Robot Wisdom, Pynchon at Hyperarts and Spermatikos Logos and The Illustrated Complete Summary of Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow at The Modern Word, that veritable pot pourri of je ne sais quoi and famous author fansite, which we have already visited in passing, where we touched upon Jorge Luis Borges: The Garden of Forking Paths, not to mention the late Mr. Gazillion Pages of Unattributed Dialogue Himself, William Gaddis and one of the finer short biographies of Philip K. Dick one can read. Oh, it's an embarrassment of riches in scope and depth, as are the more singular ut equally in depth Zembla, the Nabokov Butterfly Net or Bulgakov's Master And Margarita for the Russophiles out there.

Well, this idle fugue about literary labors of love was brought on by cruising Akihito Ishikawa's American Literature on the Web from good ol' Nagasaki U, and two favorite links pages-- Related Readings at PostModern Culture and Janus Head Links. As for the Thomas Pynchon we hardly knew ye, thanks to Amy's Robot, what he sounds like and, thanks to the Modern Word's Pynchon References on TV via the Pynchon Index, we have pictures, too.

We still don't know where he buys his weed, however, most of us, at least, nor do we get to smoke it with him....
posted by y2karl at 12:52 AM on March 26, 2004 [1 favorite]

y2karl, you are an artist, and metafilter is your art form.
posted by interrobang at 12:58 AM on March 26, 2004

Thank you, y2karl. I may have something more substantial to add later -- I'm this very minute heading out the door to eat raw fish and drink soju -- but for now, thanks.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:15 AM on March 26, 2004

Very nice indeed y2karl. I also will be back later - I'm currently heavily engaged in watching a rather impressive oil reservoir being drilled in the Gulf of Mexico.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 1:55 AM on March 26, 2004

Good. Nice. Good.
posted by BoatMeme at 3:22 AM on March 26, 2004

This is great, thanks y2karl.
posted by Tarrama at 3:38 AM on March 26, 2004

Thanks, y2karl. I'm glad you posted this.
posted by rocketman at 4:51 AM on March 26, 2004

Wow--I came into work this morning to see two of the three novelists I wrote on in my Ph.D. dissertation (Gaddis and Pynchon) namechecked. (Joyce was the other, but he gets namechecked enough these days.) Thanks, y2karl!

Another good Gaddis site: The Gaddis Annotations. It's currently the only place to get Steven Moore's invaluable annotations to The Recognitions. Other Gaddis fans and scholars are also annotating the other books--that's a work in progress (and one that would be more or less impossible without the Internet, as Gaddis doesn't get very much attention among academics these days, relatively speaking).

The Gaddis site also links to a reprint of one of the most impressive pieces of literary criticism I've ever come across: Fire the Bastards!, written anonymously under the pseudonym "Jack Green." The book was written almost entirely in lowercase type, mimeographed, and distributed for free in the streets of New York City in 1962. Here's the opening--

william gaddis's the recognitions was published in 1955
its a great novel, as much
the novel of our generation as ulysses was of its
it only sold a few thousand copies because the critics did a lousy job—

Even if you haven't read The Recognitions, you should at least take a look at Green's book, which is an interesting study of the art of the book review that really doesn't have an academic equal, as far as I know.
posted by Prospero at 6:02 AM on March 26, 2004

It's a great post, but a radical departure in your style, Y2K. I almost passed over this, as I didn't see a 'more inside' and I didn't think there was much going on outside. Only the odd incompleteness of the front page post made me look for more (and I'm not sure that's the best way to go about things.) Frankly, I like your posts better the old way. Are your detractors finally wearing you down?
(Obligatory gushing: Catcher may be the best book in the universe.)
posted by Shane at 6:25 AM on March 26, 2004

seeing "smoking dope with pynchon" rang some faint bells in my head and made me track down this, which I'd seen quoted in an ancient Sonic Youth discography. Somewhere in the back of my head I'd always wondered where the quote had come from. listening to evol while reading the rest of the links...
posted by Treeline at 6:41 AM on March 26, 2004

Shane, pleeeeeeeeeze don't encourage y2karl to take up more space on the home page. As usual, the content here is great. But even this one's "outside" formatting, with the multiple line breaks, font-size switch, off-on italics, etc. makes my eyeballs itch a little, and I shudder to think what it would've been like if the whole thing was out there. So, y2karl, if this is the direction you're trending, please feel free to trend more this way.

And of course, thanks for diggin this up, it's an embarrassment of riches, and I'm looking forward to reading the rest of that Philip K. Dick page. Oh, and Shane, you're probably right about Catcher.
posted by soyjoy at 7:59 AM on March 26, 2004

Geez, and all I got to do was turn DFW on to acid.

Of course, he soon pissed his talents away getting high for almost a decade, but out of rehab came Infinite Jest, so I guess it all worked out.
posted by dglynn at 10:50 PM on March 26, 2004

(Obligatory gushing: Catcher may be the best book in the universe.)

Oh, hell yeah. I've also learned that if you are a scruffy looking male reading it on the subway, people give you a lot of personal space.
posted by jonmc at 10:06 AM on March 27, 2004

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