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Past Valve Book Events

cover of the book Theory's Empire

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cover of the book The Literary Wittgenstein

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cover of the book Graphs, Maps, Trees

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cover of the book How Novels Think

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cover of the book The Trouble With Diversity

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cover of the book What's Liberal About the Liberal Arts?

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cover of the book The Novel of Purpose

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The Valve - Closed For Renovation

Happy Trails to You

What’s an Encyclopedia These Days?

Encyclopedia Britannica to Shut Down Print Operations

Intimate Enemies: What’s Opera, Doc?

Alphonso Lingis talks of various things, cameras and photos among them

Feynmann, John von Neumann, and Mental Models

Support Michael Sporn’s Film about Edgar Allen Poe

Philosophy, Ontics or Toothpaste for the Mind

Nazi Rules for Regulating Funk ‘n Freedom

The Early History of Modern Computing: A Brief Chronology

Computing Encounters Being, an Addendum

On the Origin of Objects (towards a philosophy of computation)

Symposium on Graeber’s Debt

The Nightmare of Digital Film Preservation

Richard Petti on Occupy Wall Street: America HAS a Ruling Class

Bill Benzon on Whatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhat?

Nick J. on The Valve - Closed For Renovation

Bill Benzon on Encyclopedia Britannica to Shut Down Print Operations

Norma on Encyclopedia Britannica to Shut Down Print Operations

Bill Benzon on What’s an Object, Metaphysically Speaking?

john balwit on What’s an Object, Metaphysically Speaking?

William Ray on That Shakespeare Thing

Bill Benzon on That Shakespeare Thing

William Ray on That Shakespeare Thing

JoseAngel on That Shakespeare Thing

Bill Benzon on Objects and Graeber's Debt

Bill Benzon on A Dirty Dozen Sneaking up on the Apocalypse

JoseAngel on A Dirty Dozen Sneaking up on the Apocalypse

JoseAngel on Objects and Graeber's Debt

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Wednesday, July 27, 2005

An Ambiguous Comment about TE’s Politics Expressed With One Linked Word; More Mark

Posted by Jonathan Goodwin on 07/27/05 at 12:41 AM

Placet.

I wrote about Mark’s ending before. Here’s Frank Kermode from The Genesis of Secrecy:

A main obstacle to our accepting “for they were scared” as the true ending, and going about our business of finding internal validation for it, is simply that Mark is, or was, not supposed to be capable of the kinds of refinement we should have to postulate. The conclusion is either intolerably clumsy, or iit is incredibly subtle. One distinguished scholar, dismissing this latter option, says it presupposes “a degree of originality which would invalidate the whole method of form-criticism.” This is an interesting objection [. . .]Now all interpretation proceeds from prejudice, and without prejudice there can be no interpretation; but this is to use an institutional prejudice in order to disarm exegesis founded on more interesting personal prejudices [. . .] Mark is not original. To be original at all, he would have had to be original to a wholly incredible extent, doing things we know he had not the means to do, organizing, alluding, suggesting like a sort of ancient Henry James, rather than making a rather clumsy compilation in very undistinguished Greek. (68)

Cf. Nietzsche: “It was subtle of God to learn Greek when he wished to become an author and not to learn it better.”

Neither remark is a sneer. Discuss.


Comments

Smooth talkers don’t always get a sympathetic hearing?  If the ending of the gospel carried past 16:8 is naive about drama and storytelling - which I don’t think it is, not really (the shorter alternative reminds me a bit too much of the ending of Fahrenheit 451 & similar modernist-apocalypses; the longer ending does much more interesting things with tense and temporality) that wouldn’t necessarily mean it was equally artless about the way too much literariness can interfere with creating an authoritative impression.  A story obviously framed for effect usually has less of the difficult-to-narrate messiness of the real.

By on 07/27/05 at 07:02 AM | Permanent link to this comment

This is an entirely profane discussion, I should say, but Bradbury? Eek. Kermode’s The Sense of an Ending is all about modernist apocalypses of a bit more supercilious type, though.

I think Kermode is saying that it’s literary in spite of itself. It (the ending) anticipates and creates a new generic expectation. That this was because of historical accident and textual ambiguity fits with Nietzsche’s comment.

By Jonathan on 07/27/05 at 11:00 AM | Permanent link to this comment

Many authors benfit from the assistance of an editor.

Bilibcal studies are way outisde my field, and I have no idea whether the original text of Mark’s gospel ended at 16:8 .. but to this twnety-first century reader, the version ending at 16:8 does read much better. This might be a case of an edit that improves the text for the modern reader. (While “Mark: The Director’s Cut” is still available for the hard-core fans :-)
Apologies to any fundamentalists who are upset by me referring to the NT as if it were a film hacked up by the studio.)

By on 07/27/05 at 03:15 PM | Permanent link to this comment

It’s funny Susan, because I thought of exactly the same analogy - Blade Runner, actually - & left it off because, well, Ray Bradbury is a scary enough comparison. 

The director’s cut of Blade Runner ends on a similarly abrupt and open and exciting note.  It’s also the one that is supposed to be less conventional and more original, and to show the signature of the auteur rather than the imprint of the studio.

In case anybody cares, the ending of F451 has Montag and the other book people heading towards the atom-bombed city; Montag is thinking of the verses from Revelations about the tree of life -

“Yes, thought Montag, that’s the one I’ll save for noon.  For noon…
When we reach the city.”

Here be an instance of literariness so selfconscious it almost makes me gag.  If the truncated Mark is literary in the same manner, then it must be as you say: the ending “anticipates and creates a new generic expectation.” Sort of like what Borges pointed out about Browning, Kafka, and “the kafkaesque.”

By on 07/27/05 at 09:12 PM | Permanent link to this comment

I bought a bracelett under the bak side reads
Cogito Te over the E has a line. Do you know what this means? Thanks Kim

By on 08/25/07 at 02:17 PM | Permanent link to this comment

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