Completists' Club discussion

John Barth
This topic is about John Barth
89 views
Authors A-D > John Barth

Comments Showing 1-30 of 30 (30 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Nathan "N.R." (last edited Sep 18, 2012 08:52AM) (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 258 comments Fiction
The Floating Opera (1956)
The End of the Road (1958)
The Sot-Weed Factor (1960)
Giles Goat-Boy, or, The Revised New Syllabus (1966)
Lost in the Funhouse: Fiction for Print, Tape, Live Voice (stories) (1968)
Chimera (three linked novellas) (1972)
LETTERS (1979)
Sabbatical: A Romance (1982)
The Tidewater Tales (1987)
The Last Voyage of Somebody the Sailor (1991)
Once upon a Time: A Floating Opera (memoirish novel) (1994)
On with the Story (stories) (1996)
Coming Soon!!!: A Narrative (2001)
The Book of Ten Nights and a Night: Eleven Stories (2004)
Where Three Roads Meet (three linked novellas) (2005)
The Development (2008)
Every Third Thought: A Novel in Five Seasons (2011)

Nonfiction
The Friday Book (1984)
Further Fridays (1995)
Final Fridays (2012)


message 2: by Nathan "N.R." (last edited May 19, 2013 05:12PM) (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 258 comments Nearing completion.

Yet To Read
The Tidewater Tales
The Development
Every Third Thought: A Novel in Five Seasons

Read
Everything else, three essay volumes inclusive. Or is there some odd Dutch-language only collection I don't know about?


message 3: by Mark (new)

Mark Flowers (droogmark) | 6 comments Oh how I'd love to have the time to get to more Barth. Of the 17 fictions I've only read 7. Gotten get back to him.


message 4: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 258 comments Mark wrote: "Oh how I'd love to have the time to get to more Barth. Of the 17 fictions I've only read 7. Gotten get back to him."

Which seven? I'd like to get to Tidewater soon in order to rest my brain, but other brain-crunching books keep putting themselves at the head of the line.


message 5: by Mark (new)

Mark Flowers (droogmark) | 6 comments Let's see:
Floating Opera
End of the Road
Sot-Weed Factor
Lost in the Funhouse
Chimera
Coming Soon
Development

Funhouse and Sot-Weed are two of my all-time favorites, but for some reason I've always been a bit intimidated by Giles. Is it worth it?


message 6: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 258 comments Mark wrote: "Funhouse and Sot-Weed are two of my all-time favorites, but for some reason I've always been a bit intimidated by Giles. Is it worth it? "

If you've already done Sot-Weed, there's no need for intimidation in the face of Giles. They be twins. If you've already made it this far into the House of Barth, allow me to recommend his first two essay books. And once you've done Giles, you can go for the truly intimidating Barth--LETTERS, in which are recycled the characters from his first six books.


message 7: by mark (new)

mark monday (majestic-plural) | 44 comments Floating Opera and Chimera, long ago. mixed feelings.

i have Giles Goat-Boy & Lost in the Funhouse on the bookshelf and have been eyeing them dubiously for years.


message 8: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 258 comments mark wrote: "Floating Opera and Chimera, long ago. mixed feelings.

i have Giles Goat-Boy & Lost in the Funhouse on the bookshelf and have been eyeing them dubiously for years."


Funhouse won't make you happy if you weren't all aglow about Chimera, but it could. Floating Opera is of the early twins, and Giles is nothing like any of those you've mentioned. I'd say, give Giles a go for a piece.


message 9: by mark (new)

mark monday (majestic-plural) | 44 comments thanks NR!


message 10: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 258 comments mark wrote: "thanks NR!"

Barth repeats himself a lot, but the books you've mentioned are, indeed, quite diverse.


message 11: by Lisa (new)

Lisa | 5 comments No one is looking at the discussion I started about this on the page for The Floating Opera, so I thought I'd check with you completists.

Apparently Barth's first publishers made him rewrite the ending of The Floating Opera before they would accept it. Has anyone read this alternate ending that was published in the 1957 edition? I'm curious as to how it differed from the "restored original ending" in the later edition I read.


message 12: by Mark (new)

Mark Flowers (droogmark) | 6 comments No Lisa, I've only read the "restored original" - I'd be very curious to read the alternate though.


message 13: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 258 comments Lisa wrote: "No one is looking at the discussion I started about this on the page for The Floating Opera, so I thought I'd check with you completists."

I couldn't find that discussion. But, no, I've not read that first ending. I would count it as non-canonical because it was produced under duress. My assumption is that the non-nihilist ending (I can't call it the 'original' because the original ending is what was restored in the 1967 edition and reprinted in all subsequent editions) exists only in the first hardcover of 1956 and the paperback of 1963. But now that you've reminded me of this little textual deviation, I'll have to keep my eye out for one of those early editions.


message 14: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 258 comments Of possible interest to Barth readers and completionists, I've created a thumbnail sketch of his books and their various twin-pairings, attempting a comparative overview of his career, within my Tidewater Tales review:
http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...


message 15: by MJ (new)

MJ Nicholls (mjnicholls) | 211 comments ^ An invaluable resource, gracias.


message 16: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 258 comments MJ wrote: "^ An invaluable resource, gracias."

Thanks. My completionist impulse requires that I provide myself with some kind of skeletal frame work for sorting through an author's total output. When I discovered that Vollmann was genius it took me several months of scratching and digging before I had a grip on what it was he was about and how his works relate among themselves. I've recently gotten several Q's about Barth's books, whose result is the above skeleton. Barth's own essays were quite helpful in sorting and arranging their twin-ings, etc.

The further comment, apropos nothing, regarding Barth being a one-trick pony--among a subset of his books, the accusation is perhaps compelling, but for the most part, across his career, that "trick" is nothing more than his Barthian voice, much as is the case with any author worth reading (cf. Paul's comments about what is holy about Barth).


message 17: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 258 comments Barthian Completionism.

Shortly, perhaps not before too long, two slim volumes to be delectitized, his final (please no!) twinned volumes of fiction, short stuff, Coming Soon!!! to my red shelves:

The Development
Every Third Thought: A Novel in Five Seasons

Also, see my Tidewater Tales review linked above in # 14 for a cute twinning of Barth's books. (April is Likes month!)


message 18: by Jim (new)

Jim Nathan "N.R." wrote: "Barthian Completionism.

Shortly, perhaps not before too long, two slim volumes to be delectitized, his final (please no!) twinned volumes of fiction, short stuff, Coming Soon!!! to my red shelves:..."


I like the twinning idea.

I'll be reading Giles Goat-Boy this November with the BP group, but to prepare, I also bought his first 3 novels. Hopefully I can get them read over the next 6 months...


message 19: by Nathan "N.R." (last edited Apr 04, 2013 08:50AM) (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 258 comments Jim wrote: "I'll be reading Giles Goat-Boy this November with the BP group, but to prepare, I also bought his first 3 novels. Hopefully I can get them read over the next 6 months... "

I can't say that those three will be of any assistance for Goat-Boy, but you'll still wanna have them for the time when you approach LETTERS. The only prep you might need for Goat-Boy is that Heroes Journey, Joseph Campbell's will serve just fine, and really you need only have a copy of the graphic taped to your library wall. Perhaps one of these: https://www.google.com/search?q=Hero%...
Barth's own accounting of his encounter with the hero myth can be found in The Friday Book (possibly Further Fridays, but likely the first one._


message 20: by Jim (last edited Apr 04, 2013 08:59AM) (new)

Jim Nathan "N.R." wrote: "Jim wrote: "I'll be reading Giles Goat-Boy this November with the BP group, but to prepare, I also bought his first 3 novels. Hopefully I can get them read over the next 6 months... "

I can't say ..."


Thanks Nathan! I printed out the JC version.

I wasn't thinking of the first 3 as needed for G G-B, but as an introduction to his canon. Given how much is on my reading plate, I'll be lucky to complete one before November...


message 21: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 258 comments Jim wrote: "I wasn't thinking of the first 3 as needed for G G-B, but as an introduction to his canon."

In which case, I think you'll be happy to go mano-a-mano with Giles as introductory matter. I preferred Sot-Weed for that purpose for my own preference. Either/or. But there's not much stylistic continuity twixt the first twins and the second twins and no stylistic continuity twixt those two second twins. And they're packed with a [story :: difficulty] ratio of something in the range of [23 :: 6], but I've misplaced the paper which produced those rather profound numbers.


message 22: by Jim (new)

Jim Nathan "And they're packed with a [story :: difficulty] ratio of something in the range of [23 :: 6], but I've misplaced the paper which produced those rather profound numbers..."

Story ratios?! Sounds intriguing. Post if you come across the paper some time.


message 23: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 258 comments Jim wrote: "Story ratios?! Sounds intriguing. Post if you come across the paper some time. "

; )


message 24: by Rayroy (last edited Apr 06, 2013 02:11PM) (new)

Rayroy (lomaxlespark) | 14 comments Nathan "N.R." wrote: "Nearing completion.

Yet To Read

The Tidewater Tales

The Development
Every Third Thought: A Novel in Five Seasons

Read
Everything else, three essay volumes inclusive. Or is there some odd Dut..."


I didn't like "The Development" but it's still better than what passes today for as literture.


message 25: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 258 comments Con McVeety wrote: "I didn't like "The Development" but it's still better than what passes today for as literture. "

There are indeed an occasional low-Barth point along the way.


message 26: by Drew (new)

Drew | 5 comments Nathan "N.R." wrote: "Funhouse won't make you happy if you weren't all aglow about Chimera, but it could."

That's the most ambiguous advice I've ever seen you give, Nathan.


message 27: by Moira (new)

Moira Russell (the_red_shoes) | 43 comments ....nobody but me loves Chimera? //cries


message 28: by Rayroy (last edited Apr 06, 2013 02:49PM) (new)

Rayroy (lomaxlespark) | 14 comments Lisa wrote: "No one is looking at the discussion I started about this on the page for The Floating Opera, so I thought I'd check with you completists.

Apparently Barth's first publishers made him rewrite the e..."


I could be wrong but the original version is printed in The Anchor relase of "The Floating Opera and The End Of The Road" .


message 29: by Lisa (new)

Lisa | 5 comments Hi--no, the Anchor edition is the one I have...it's got the "restored original" ending, not the one Barth was forced to write for initial publication. Thanks, though, if you run across it elsewhere, let me know. Not that I really care that much, just curious. :)


message 30: by Nathan "N.R." (last edited May 19, 2013 05:13PM) (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 258 comments Completionized. Sir.

Final (for the moment) review avec completionist porn here: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...


back to top