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05/18/2005

Comments

Chrissylitchic

They write unto to me to show thee:
"Thou art disdainful. Pitifully dull. Monotonous. Thy writing dreads my evening hour. I look forward to it with fear and distrust. I knowest that thou art out to get me and my fiendest of friends and my friendliest fiends. May God bless thy soul for I shall I have none on myself."
Oh! Whither are we? We who have been so lost for so long! Thou hast come to savest us, and we disdain thee. We knowest that thou art of the kindest nature and havest only good intentions, and thus, we execute such harm on good. Who is it of all of we who hast the dilemma? 'Tis not you, sir. Doth not look away. It is We. I speak in behalf of all uneducated, careless souls. "Judge not lest ye also shall be judged;" "Forgive them for they know not what they do." Thou art an angel, an arcangel. God bless thy writing. Keep it up, my Friend of Friends.

Dan Green

Huh?

Michael Blowhard

Small kink in your reasoning ...

On the one hand, you write: "I tend to stay away from claims about the 'fundamental' elements of anything."

On the other, you write: "Finally everything in a work of literature does come down to writing, the words on the page."

The latter is the hardcore modernist view of lit. Which is fine -- I like a lot of the books that have come of that tradition. Well, some of them, anyway. But it's a much more debatable stance than you seem to think it is. And it's just one stance among many.

As for whether a novel's story per se can be separated from the way in which it's told ... Well, sure it can: otherwise plot synopses couldn't be written. And many novelists work out stories, plots, and outlines before they sit down to type their books out. Completed outline equals story. Typing it out equals the way it's told.

Maybe what you may mean is that the specific experience of reading a given work of fiction results from a big bundle of elements, all of which make their impact and which combine in unique and distinctive ways? Always a good point. On the other hand, and to use a meal as an analogy: no reason not to discuss the ingrediants, is there?

Dan Green

I was using Douglas's own separation of "story" and "writing"--"the way the story is told" involves more than just what he calls "writing," which mostly had to do with facility of expression. "Words on the page" certainly are irreducible in the material sense--otherwise there's nothing--but they also give rise to other effects that the reader experiences as transcending those words. This is the subject of criticism--it examines the way writers use their words to create these effects. But these effects can be multifarious; that's the point I want to make.

"Maybe what you may mean is that the specific experience of reading a given work of fiction results from a big bundle of elements, all of which make their impact and which combine in unique and distinctive way?"

That is indeed what I mean. It's the burden of the whole post.

A.C. Douglas

"I was using Douglas's own separation of "story" and 'writing'--'the way the story is told' involves more than just what he calls 'writing,' which mostly had to do with facility of expression."
-----------------------------

And I was using Michael Blowhard's notion of "writing" (or "writin'," as he calls it; the "word-to-word, sentence-by-sentence writing"). Michael seems to imagine that the "writin'" is distinct from the story in a work of fiction. I contended that was an impossibility -- which was "the burden of [*my*] whole post."

ACD

molly chiluwa

you talked about the role of story and characters in a prose fiction, if i may ask, can a story be writen without imagination? molly chiluwa

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