Saturday, April 7, 2012

Questions on Marcuse/Danielewski, week 3


Caia Caldwell said...
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Caia Caldwell said...

Why does Zampano try to scrub every reference to the Minotaur out of the text? The ancient mythical creature is found again on pages 336 to 337, and once again they are highlighted in red and crossed out. Yet Johnny is not questioning why Zampano does this.

He says that he has "discovered a particularly disturbing coincidence...that's what you get for wanting to turn The Minotaur into a homie at all" (pg. 336-337). Ok... So is "homie" being used in the slang term? Or is it talking about a house?

Urban Dictionary:
Shortened version of homeboy, homeboy being your close friend

So by including the Minotaur is Johnny trying to form some sort of connection with the monster? I am bewildered by this section.

Johnny then goes on to discuss how Zampano created his own sufferings. Did Zampano create the maze he failed to escape from?

Dana Edmunds said...

My favorite part of this week's reading is when Karen discusses her short documentary with Harold Bloom within the world of the book, meaning that Danielewski completely fabricates an interview about a nonexistent movie with a world renowned literary critic, only to discuss Heidegger's concept of "uncanny" and "unhomely," as well as Freud's concept of repression. In a footnote, Johnny clarifies the etymology behind uncanny, concluding that it literally means "full of not knowing." So what is Danielewski saying by having a famous, very knowledgable scholar discuss being empty of knowledge, and why does he remark that this feeling is actually "in reality nothing new of foreign, but something familiar and old-established in the mind that has been estranged only by the process of repression"?

It seems to me that Danielewski, through Bloom's mouth, is aligning the themes in Karen's film (and Zampano's manuscript, so in essence, Danielewski's manuscript), with "Jacob's angel, Mary's Frankenstein, the great eradicator of all that is and ever was and thus through this trope succeed in securing poetic independence no matter how lonely, empty, and agonizing the final result may be." Is this really a way for Danielewski to talk about art and literature's role in this discussion of how repression and repetition affect the human psyche and the need (like Johnny) to make sense of these concepts?

Patrick Kilduff said...

What I found interesting/have questions about again is the format of the beginning of our reading. What I find interesting is that on page 246, we can see that the text is written in very short columns, and it sort of reminds me as bible type format. I wonder if Danielewski had any motives or agenda writing in this manner. Johnny writes like this as well to accompany Zampano, which to me is utterly fascinating. And the "rzzzzzzzzzzzz" page breaks are very interesting as well, what were their purposes? Also the reasoning to include Lude's sexual escapades. The distinct and explicit description along with the comical additions that Johnny makes is kinda funny. Quite a contrast to what is revealed on page 265.

Kira Scammell said...

So in the beginning of our reading it's put into our heads that Tom and Navy do and do not resemble Jacob and Esau. I was confused as to where this was really going, one paragraph they fit the mold perfectly, and then the next not at all. Then we reach Tom's Story.

The bold face type here is for a reason, but what? Is it to show that he's like Jacob? But wait, is he like Jacob? Was that the conclusion of XI?

Brandon said...

I find the notion that Johnny accidentally destroyed a significant part of the original manuscript to be particularly intriguing. What we read about Zampano comes from what Johnny tells us, which corrupts the meaning of the text enough as it is (as we discussed in class), but here Johnny is directly, rather than indirectly altering the text.

A similar notion applies for the charred text and the material about the Minotaur, although they were changed by Zampano and NOT by Johnny. In this way, Johnny ends up being highly faithful to the original text because of his desire to maintain it even with the textual oddities and erasures.

Margaret Julian said...

I'm still stuck in this Frankensteinian wormhole. I can't get past the fact that this story/manuscript has figuratively and literally gone through so many hands. The fact that this is a patchwork of things Johnny felt was important about a work, which was written because Zampano felt it was important to discuss certain things about a work, and that figuratively and literally it had to pass through an editorial process. I'm not sure where this leaves me with the true story or if I should just take it as it is? The complexity clearly adds to the story but I feel kind of like a take a lot of time to understand it and I can take away from what I should be paying attention to.
The footnotes and obscure references also remind me of a modernist literature, like The Wasteland. To really understand the story I have to know the sources, and to know the sources I have to have extensive knowledge of some obscure things. I wonder if this is why Danielewski did this? Or if I'm way off base because some of the sources are actually made up?

RJ said...

The Tom and Karen parts (specifically "What Some Have Said") are by far the worst sections of the book in my opinion. Totally hamfisted attempts at 'comic relief' that bring down the characters they're focused on even as they attempt to flesh them out. However having Karen make part of the film and focusing more attention on her is a great idea, even if the execution was partially kind of awkward. Adam was right in class discussion last time that Danielewski does good things with Karen that make her more than a simple window dressing / stereotype character. One thing I wonder about is whether her character is influenced by Zampano at all - there are a lot of sections where he just goes into total hero worship of Navidson, talking constantly about his skill as a photographer and going into rants whenever he mentions someone critical of his work on the film, talking about what a saint Navy is for never succumbing to the 'temptation' of women on the road - and I think maybe some of Karen's adultery, etc. we are presented with might be influenced by that.

Amy Friedenberger said...

I'm curious as to why is some parts of the text, Johnny will not include even certain letters or words because they are not legible, and he wants to be as honest to the original manuscript as possible, but then at other points, he will willingly admit that he inserted a word because he thought it would be better for the writing.

Then at other points Zampano is scratching writing out, yet it's still in there, so we are still able to read that part. I'm just having trouble understanding who is an honest author here. They both seem to be scattered.