Saturday, May 5, 2018

What I am proudest of writing--answer when exhausted and caught off guard

Last night at 10 I was stumbling from fatigue after hours of standing here finding line numbers for names I needed to annotate for CLAREL.

Kindly someone at bedtime asked what I was most proud of writing. I answered instantly, MELVILLE BIOGRAPHY: AN INSIDE NARRATIVE (dated 2012 but out January 2013). Then I said, FLAWED TEXTS AND VERBAL ICONS (out 1984). Then I said "The James article, "Deconstructing The Art of the Novel and Liberating James's Prefaces" (out in Fall 1993, the Henry James Review). Then I said the Mailer article in Bulletin of Research in the Humanities (dated Winter 1981, out in February 1983)--"Norman Mailer's Revision of the Esquire Version of An American Dream and the Aesthetic Problem of 'Built-in Intentionality.'"

I did not instantly say the Pulitzer finalist volume one of the biography or the two volumes of the biography, each of which received the highest award from the Association of American Publishers. I did not say the third Norton Critical Edition of Moby-Dick (2017). But I was genuinely exhausted.

P.S. I did not say the Mailer chapter in FLAWED TEXTS AND VERBAL ICONS because the earlier article had illustrations. For several months I had at home two of Mailer's notebooks from which I took photographs for the journal version, showing Mailer's deliberate removal of passages which show Rojack's equality with other men. Reading the Dial book version literary critics make weirdly varying lists of important characters. It's not that they are stupid. It's that the evidence is no longer there in the text they are reading.

No comments:

Post a Comment