Sunday, December 23, 2012

Another excised 'Cat' passage

As I read the Dell omnibus version of The Universe Next Door for Eric Wagner's Schroedinger's Cat class at Maybe Logic Academy, I've been looking at the Pocket Books original version to see what was cut. For the most part, it's the lesser material that's been excised, but I did very much like this paragraph, from a whole chapter (from the "Terran Archives 2083") cut from the original novel:

Concerning that which we cannot know with certainty, we should remain honestly agnostic. The reader will, of course, form a purely personal evaluation of Wilson's grandiose allegories and occult claims; the trick is to concentrate on the reality projected through the printed page. Every sentence is a signal from a lost world, a time of primitive, barbaric splendor and fantastic cruelty with which you can interface synergetically by crossing over and entering the form.

I particularly like the last sentence.


michael said...

Pure coincidance: Andrew Crashaw has been commenting on a blog post about Popper I did a long time ago, and we got on the subject of footnotes.

Today I noticed he asked me to elaborate on how Joyce seems to address his reader in the text, which "felt" like a footnote to me, because of the shift of tone to another register: you're trying to understand the world of the text, then Joyce (or Someone Else?) seems to break through and talk about the very book you're reading. I think RAW was influenced by this technique and elaborates at great length throughout his oeuvre: you are part of a text, maybe. You're in someone's text and you're reading a text and trying to make sense of it. The characters in the text you're reading, in various ways, "wake up" to the idea that they're in a text and they wonder what's "real," what sort of book/world/universe are they in, and can they do anything about it?

Anyway, in case anyone (one?) is innarested, here's how I answered Crawshaw:

RE: FW and footnotes. Well, obviously the most interesting sections seem to be when HCE is in deepest sleep, so the stuff is particularly rough to crack, but it's all so amusing, so we don't care. See pp.260-308. Isabel, taking part in Anna Livia, flows with her footnotes at the bottom of the page, while Shem and Shaun do copious marginalia, in their tones and voices, and - because it's required - they shift margins and capital letters, typefaces, etc.

But the first time I ran into a passage in which suddenly Joyce (or Somebody Else?) seems to be suddenly addressing me, the reader: p.18:

"(Stoop) if you are abcedminded, to this claybook, what curios of signs (please stoop), in this allaphbed! Can you rede (since We and Thou had it out already) its world? It is the same told of all. Many. Miscegenations on miscegenations."

Maybe the most "famous" is on p.120:

"and look at this prepronomial _funferal_, engraved and retouched and edgewiped and puddenpadded, very like a whale's egg farced with pemmican, as it were sentenced to nuzzled over a full trillion times for ever and a night till his noodle sink or swim by that ideal reader suffering from an ideal insomnia: all those red raddled obeli cayennepeppercast over the text, calling unnecessary attention to errors, omissions, repetitions and misalignments..."

Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...

As you point out, there are many scenes in "Schroedinger's Cat" in which characters realize they are living in a novel.

It's a big meme now in Internet discussion, not just in science fiction, whether we are "living in a simulation."

"And though she feels as if she's in a play/She is anyway," as everyone's favorite band sang about the pretty nurse.

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