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Monday, September 9, 2013

Coincidance: Reading schedule and introductory remarks

When I recently posted a proposed reading schedule for the online discussion of Coincidance, which officially begins next week, the main feedback I got was that 10 weeks was too fast. So here is a new schedule which spreads the discussion out over 12 weeks, with about 21 pages a week. (Some weeks will be a few more pages, some a few less; I want to discuss the essays as a whole, not bits of them. So rather than listing page numbers I'll just name the pieces in the book for that week.)

I also thought I'd give a little background  on the book.

Coincidance: A Head Test was published in 1988, when Robert Anton Wilson turned 56. The publication date falls at the end of his second period, which ends with the publication of Nature's God in 1988. (His work seems to fall within three broad periods; the middle period is when he published his novels and the third and last period was devoted solely to nonfiction.) However, like other later collections such as Email to the Universe, Coincidance is a collection which draws pieces from a long span of years from Wilson's career. Also in 1988, Wilson published Neuropolitique (with Timothy Leary and George Koopman, a revision of Neuropolitics, and  Sex, Drugs & Magick: A Journey Beyond Limits (revision of the earlier book). Quantum Psychology, the topics of an earlier online discussion, came out in 1990.

(Note: In the comments, Eric Wagner objects that Sex, Drugs and Magick came out in the 1990s; I was relying on the bibliography at the Wikipedia article and don't have anything handy I can double check. Eric also pointed out that RAW publishes two screenplays in his reputed third period, so I have changed the word "fiction" in the above paragraph to "novels.")

While Coincidance covers a wide range of topics, the book has four long pieces about James Joyce's writing and begins and ends with a Joyce article.

Wilson's publisher, New Falcon, says that Coincidance was one of Wilson's favorite books.

The book illustrates New Falcon's strength and weakness as a publisher. One the one hand, New Falcon put the book out no doubt exactly as Wilson wrote it and has faithfully kept it in print. On the other hand, there are few signs of editing or marketing, and New Falcon has failed to make it available as an ebook.

Incidentally, I was inspired to begin this blog after I read Coincidance for the first time.

The online discussion begins Sept. 16 with Week One.

Coincidance discussion schedule:

Week One: "Fore-Words," "Synchronicity and Isomorphism in Finnegans Wake." (Sept. 16).

Week Two: "Werewolf Bridge," "The Motherfucker Mystique." (Sept. 23).

Week Three: "Mammary Metaphysics," "Jazz Haiku." (Sept. 30).

Week Four: "How to Read/How to Think," "How to Read/How to Think Afterwords," "Shrapnel," "Why Do You Live in Ireland, Dr. Wilson?" "The Poet as Defense Early Warning Radar System." (Oct. 7)

Week Five: "Death and Absence in Joyce." (Oct. 14).

Week Six: "Introduction to Three Articles from THE REALIST," "The Doctor With the Frightened Eyes," "Thirteen Choruses for the Divine Marquis." (Oct. 21),

Week Seven: "The Married Catholic Priests Convention," "Self-Reflexive Surrealists Haiku," "The Godfathers and the Goddess." (Oct. 28)

Week Eight: "The Physics of Synchronicity," "Semper as Oxhousehumper," (Nov. 4).

Week Nine: "Interview with Sean MacBride." (Nov. 11).

Week Ten: "Religion for the Hell of It," "Comix and Cut-Ups." (Nov. 18).

Week Eleven: "No Waters in Cherry Valley by the Testicles," "Shrapnel." (Nov. 25).

Week Twelve: "The Hidden Variables." (Dec. 2).


Eric Wagner said...

I look forward to rereading the book. A reprint of Sex and Drugs with a new intro came out in 1988. Sex, Drugs and Magick came out in the 90's.

Bob published two fictional screenplays in the 90's.

Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...

Eric, see the "Note" I added to the entry.

Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.