Friday, February 06, 2004

Holy crap! Smart people on the internet!

Who knew? And why didn't I join Readerville sooner? Been rambling through the archives and found some great insights into Byatt's The Biographer's Tale:

"It makes little difference that most of what we take for "fact" is actually illusion or at least distortion, imaginative inferences from selective takes on conflicting evidence. Byatt's Biographer's Tale is a little fable about the heart of darkness that exists at the core of history, a darkness that stretches between actual history and human perception of it."

"It's an incredible demonstration of how seductive it [me here: I think what the poster means by "it" is the search for truth/knowledge/etc. Epistemology is a big theme in Byatt's work, from what I've seen] is and what a waste of time it is, all in one fell swoop, which is what I'm so endlessly fascinated by. "

In the course of the novel our protagonist discovers three documents, written by the biographer he's researching, which concern themselves with Linneaus, Ibsen, and Galston:
"Maybe they're intended to represent a more traditional threesome? Maybe logos, ethos, pathos? The three fates? The norns? Father, Son & Holy Ghost?

...Larry, Curly & Moe?"


"A.S. Byatt's The Biographer's Tale is not an easy book to love -- but as I've said elsethread, it should make a great book for discussion." Which seems to be the case; my opinion of it certainly improved as a result of these discussions, but that doesn't mean I'm gonna reread it any time soon. One of those books that are more fun to talk about than actually read.

This was my favorite comment though:
"The Biographer's Tale is rather like Boswell with Attention Deficit Disorder."

Which pretty much sums it up.


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