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Thursday, November 1, 2012

'Nothing is really lost'

Some encouraging words from Robert Shea for those of us who worry about what was chopped out of Illuminatus! before publication.

In No Governor Issue 10 (available under "Feature Articles and Interviews") the cartoonist Roldo (not otherwise identified) writes in to the lettercolumn and says, "The idea of pub'ing the missing pages from Illuminatus! sounds good to me. Hopefully, it would include more of Miss Portinari's enlightening rap on the Tarot. I fain would see more of Mordicai the Foul's Tarot writing too ... that poem on the Hierophant is brilliant. A piece on each of the Atus would be an invaluable classic to anyone hip to what the Tarot is really for an about."

Shea replied, "There's more on the Tarot on other books by Robert Anton Wilson, such as Prometheus Rising.Wilson's ideas bear a striking resemblance to those of Miss Portinari and Mordecai the Foul. Nothing is really lost."

I'm like everyone else -- I wish the missing appendices to Illuminatus! could be recovered, along with the other material missing from the final version. But as Shea pointed out, much of what Wilson wrote after Illuminatus can be considered an appendix to that work.

BTW, I like this paragraph from Roldo: "What's really needed is a good solid hardcover edition of Illuminatus! I read it bits-at-random constantly and cover-to-cover annually to test my own learning by how much more I understand. Sometimes I think it's a combination of instruction manual and entrance exam for the Invisible College. Whom the Gods would raise, they first make mad ... "


gacord said...

Re: Roldo's paragraph... isn't that what many of us do?

Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...

I would think so, Gary. I don't read it completely every year, but I've re-read it several times.

michael said...

"9. Where are the eight missing appendices?

A: censored"
-p.799, Illuminatus!

Let's take RAW at his word here. If Dell didn't want to gamble on the cost of paper and this was the main impetus to nix 500 pages, then: this still constitutes a form of censorship.

I'm inclined to think that, if the sprawling book by the Bobs had been written in computers (with floppy discs), nothing would have ever been lost. Missed it by about a decade.

Re: Roldo's Riff: That's one way I read The Book(s). Yesterday I re-read 790-796: Hagbard's booklet. I think it's one of the best elaborations of Korzybski into libertarian territory as has ever been written.

LJ said...

i remember Bob saying that in an interview-- as it was before the time of word processors the rest was simply lost.

Such a shame.

Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...

Alas, it's a shame in general that RAW and Robert Shea didn't take better care of their literary papers. Their correspondence may also be lost. Other writers make sure their papers are safely stored in university libraries. I wish Mr. Wilson and Mr. Shea had made a similar effort. I hope that the material Michael mentions in his comment somehow turns up someday, but I'd be pleasantly surprised if that happened.

gacord said...

Sometimes I think they were both too humble to imagine many people would want to bother digging up "that old stuff."

Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...


My own opinion is that RAW was not particularly "humble" and had little doubt that he was an important writer. Shea I'm not sure about, but it would be an odd novelist who thinks his work deserves oblivion. So I remain puzzled that they didn't take any action to preserve their papers. Both of them died after long illnesses -- it's not as if either man was walking down the street and a piano fell on top of him.

Jason said...

"If Dell didn't want to gamble on the cost of paper and this was the main impetus to nix 500 pages, then: this still constitutes a form of censorship."

You're a great guy Michael but this is - *this seem to me to be* - a very stupid comment.