Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea. Blog, Internet resources, online reading groups, articles and interviews, Illuminatus! info.

Friday, March 8, 2024

Robert Anton Wilson on Daniel Defoe

[A literary observation posted on Facebook by Jamey-Heather Davis. I thought it would share it with you. Jamey-Heather Davis is a teacher in Eugene, Oregon, and a member of Robert Anton Wilson Fans group. The Management.]

As an undergrad, I got an A+ on a paper where I demonstrated Wilson's use of other author's voices (in my paper, Joyce and Burroughs) to communicate certain states of mind. But my all time favorite passage of his doing so is this: "Maria had been reading a chryselephantinely over written book called Moll Flanders in the coach, and very definetely thought the somber, passionate, tragicomic and picaresque story was most absorbing, and certainly presented the dark, sinister, underground side of English life in a vivacious and veridical manner that carried conviction, but she wished Mr. Defoe were not so in love with ornamentally excessive adjectives and long, stentorian, and somewhat inchoate sentences that, even by the standards of the time, seemed to twist and turn through curlicues and arabesques and wind on and on through ever-increasing clauses and sub-clauses, including abrubt changes of subject and total NON SEQUITURS (italics in original), even if he did seem to be making a unique effort to understand a woman's perspective on the world, which was all to the good, and it was less monochromatically monotonous (she had to admit) than the other one he wrote with virtually nobody in it but that one ingenious mechanic on the island , living in total isolation unitil he found that one  ineluctable footprint; and yet it could all be told as well and be more pleasant to read if those sentences did not get so totally out of control and sprawl all over the page so often in positive apotheosis of the lugubrious style, and then she wondered if reading so much of such labyrinthe and arabesque prose for so long in the hot carriage had affected her own mind and she were starting to think like that herself....." ~ RAW, Nature's God, Hilaritus Press edition, p. 17 - 18

1 comment:

Chad said...

That’s a great passage! I’ve yet to read NG, except for Celine’s wilderness diaries section. This is a good motivator.