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Sunday, September 5, 2010

Dedications in the SCHROEDINGER'S CAT trilogy

Can anyone give me some context for the dedications of the individual volumes of the "Cat" trilogy?

"The Universe Next Door" is dedicated "to the real Miss Portinari." Who is that?

"The Trick Top Hat" is dedicated "to my Immortal Beloved. Denn vor Liebskklang entweichet Jeder Raum and Jeder Zeit." This is a Beethoven reference, of course, one of many in the "Cat" books. I'm going to assume the dedication is for Arlen Wilson, the author's wife, but I'll note a possible ambiguity: No one knows who Beethoven's Immortal Beloved was.

"The Homing Pigeons" is dedicated "to Harold Garfinkle, Carlos Casteneda and Richard de Mille. 'Greetings on all three points of the triangle' " A couple of notes: RAW gets Harold Garfinkel's name wrong, de Mille wrote a book alleging that Casteneda was a charlatan and a plagiarist, Garfinkel is an important sociologist. But why is the book dedicated to them?


michael said...

Miss Portinari was Dante's Beatrice, but also a character in Illuminatus; one reading: 'tis a floating signifier. (Please: others chime in.)

I too assume Trick Top Hat dedication is to Arlen.

Garfinkel was one of Castaneda's PhD advisors at UCLA, and, as DeMille excavates, signed off on CC's degree, even though the field notes were missing, etc. DeMille argued at length - quite plausibly, methinks - that Castaneda's "anthropology" was a total fraud. HOWEVER, if you take the time to read Garfinkel's Studies In Ethnomethodology, you (along with RAW) might understand why Garfinkel didn't call Castaneda on his shenanigans. Maybe? RAW clearly saw implications in Ethnomethodology's epistemological/ontology status as analogous to many of the philosophical problems arising from the Cat conundrum, only on a "macro" scale. Ask me tomorrow and I might say something completely different, 'cuz I'm full of crap anyway!

Eric Wagner said...

I think Bob also intended "The real Miss Portinari" to mean Arlen. Dante's love for Beatrice Portinari inspired the vast structure of The Divine Comedy, and Bob's love for Arlen inspired the vast structure of Schroedinger's Cat.

I love the "three points of the triangle" dedication. Bob had just seen "F for Fake" as he began writing Schroedinger's Cat, and it delighted him how the film reflected his own current concerns. One can see Casteneda's fakery as an artwork a la Welles or El Myr and/or a breeching experiment a la Garfinkel. Bob also asserted that George Lucas studied with Garfinkel. "May the Force seem with you."

michael said...

"Some regard breaching experiments as immoral and even as dangerous. Richard de Mille, in particular, has charged (without details) that there are rumors that some breaching experiments have led to murders, suicides and psychotic breakdowns."
-p.65, _The New Inquisition_

Anyone know if de Mille or anyone else has subsequently substantiated this claim?

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