Second Sunday Salon with Josipovici: last note
Posted November 11, 2007on:
I played hookey for the rest of the evening so I don’t have much more to say about the novel except various bits I wanted to note. Last week I mentioned that Josipovici writing changes from chapter to chapter to suit his subjects, to an extent. I noticed it again here on the sentence level rather than overall form of a chapter. One example I wriggled over was in “Sinclair”. His poetic style is the loudest indicator that much of this book is set in the 19th century. What I found wriggle-worthy was that the narrator’s diction went a little archaic too. At a friend’s house after a very, very long walk Sinclair threw himself out the window. The friend and his wife were reading a letter “when something caught their eye: a shape had flown past the window, falling from the heavens. (Italics are mine.) Those are words that would have never slipped into bare and restrained “Control” chapter. Another thing I discovered is that the character Sinclair is modelled on the famous German lyric poet, Friedrich Hölderlin: they were both tutors, both fell in love with the married woman, the long crazy walk, the fall into insanity. So of course that means I’ll have to read him. It makes me wonder what other references I’ve missed….
The Unterlinden chapter — no. 14 and before “Mrs Goldberg” — fittingly enough brought some art to my attention and, like “Containers”, stirred my sympathy towards periods or styles I was indifferent or did not pay attention to: late Gothic paintings and whatever movement Paul Klee is supposed to be in.
It may take me two more Sundays before I actually finish the book, if keep to what I’m doing. Besides this I’m reading McGahern’s The Pornographer which started on a high and slipped ever since. The prose on it’s own, at sentence to paragraph level, is mesmerising as usual. Its rhythm encourages you to read along and hold back a little longer to stay with each word longer, simultaneously. The problem is that McGahern is too ponderous with his character making profound comments and observations all the time about so many things. It stretches credibility since it’s told in the first person. But I’ll spend a whole post on it because a not so awesome McGahern is still worthy of engagement and long attention. I intend to get through all his novels eventually.
Thank you very much for spending the day with me. Good night!