Women and Men discussion

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message 1: by Nathan "N.R.", James Mayn (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 662 comments I'll be digging up some links and other resources which might be helpful for reading and understanding Women & Men. My intention is to keep these items relevant to this novel and not let things sprawl too far into the rest of his ouevre.


message 2: by Nathan "N.R.", James Mayn (last edited Sep 21, 2012 11:26AM) (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 662 comments goodreads Friend Paul Gleason has written an excellent piece on W&M and DeLillo's Underworld:
History as Accretion and Excavation
http://www.electronicbookreview.com/t...


message 3: by Nathan "N.R.", James Mayn (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 662 comments The McElroy homepage, which contains some of his shorter works, if you can figure out how to navigate it:
http://www.josephmcelroy.com/

The chapter which was cut from Women and Men:
Preparations for Search
I've not read it yet.

One of the few critical volumes:
Joseph McElroy
Includes four essays on W&M.


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

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 662 comments For the audacious who'd like some likely unrelated related material regarding the meteorological material in W&M:

From Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy, Second Partition, Memb. III, "Air rectified. With a digression of the Air."

Possibly Aristotle's Meteorology.


And if you can find a copy of Small Is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered, Joe says this on the copyright page:

"In the writing of this book I have meditated often upon Small Is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered (Perennial Library, Harper & Row, 1975) and more particularly upon his phrase 'an articulated structure that can cope with a multiplicity of small-scale units.'"


message 5: by B0nnie (new)

B0nnie | 7 comments Small Is Beautiful is online at: http://www.ee.iitb.ac.in/student/~pda...

I glanced at it, couldn't really get a grip on it. And he throws out statements like:

"First of all, there is language. Each word is an idea. If the language which seeps into us during our Dark Ages is English, our mind is thereby furnished by a set of ideas which is significantly different from the set represented by Chinese, Russian, German, or even American. Next to words, there are the rules of putting them together: grammar, another bundle of ideas, the study of which has fascinated some modem philosophers to such an extent that they thought they could reduce the whole of philosophy to a study of grammar".

I have no intention of starting a Sapir-Whorf war here but this is crazy talk. And the *whole* of philosophy to a study of grammar? Not even Chomsky!


message 6: by B0nnie (new)

B0nnie | 7 comments Nick wrote: "For those wishing to read Preparations for Search and who do not mind ebooks, it can be purchased from Dzanc Books here."

If you do not mind ebooks, the whole book Women and Men is here: https://docs.google.com/open?id=0BzA0...


message 7: by Nathan "N.R.", James Mayn (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 662 comments B0nnie wrote: "I have no intention of starting a Sapir-Whorf war here but this is crazy talk. And the *whole* of philosophy to a study of grammar? Not even Chomsky! "

Sapir-Whorf weren't philosophers. But there was a significant school of analytic, 20th century philosophy which believed that all philosophical problems could be reduced to a question of grammar. I won't blame Wittgenstein for it, but his is related. Definitely not Chomsky; he was a linguist and his philosophical contributions had to do with the philosophy of mind. The 20th century was, after all, the century of the philosophy of language, on the continental side as well.

Other than McElroy's favorite quote about articulated structures, I don't know much about Schumacher. Anything. And thanks for the Small document, B0nnie.


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

Some excellent footage of McElroy discussing fiction and publishing in the modern age:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBeC7D...


message 9: by Nathan "N.R.", James Mayn (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 662 comments Sean wrote: "Some excellent footage of McElroy discussing fiction and publishing in the modern age:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBeC7D..."


Video's not working for me this morning. Is this from the reading tour in early 2011 for Night Soul? With really low audio and middling video quality?

Audio of "Forms of Crisis: Harry Mathews & Joseph McElroy (with Obstruction)":
http://canopycanopycanopy.com/podcast...
I bookmarked it but I believe I've not returned yet to listen to it. This "Harry Mathews" guy is schleiching onto my radar lately.


message 10: by Vilma (last edited Oct 01, 2012 08:11AM) (new)

Vilma (vaalkyrjaa) Mathews sounds familiar as a George Perec translator. Didnt Dalkey publish some of his novels too? or am I mistaken now?

That should be the one - hopefully, not that there are two authors with the same name lol would be embarassing.

http://www.dalkeyarchive.com/search/?...


message 11: by Geoff (last edited Oct 01, 2012 08:14AM) (new)

Geoff | 9 comments Hay Nathan thanks so much of that link, super excited to give McElroy/Mathews a listen...


message 12: by Nathan "N.R.", James Mayn (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 662 comments Vilma wrote: "Mathews sounds familiar as a George Perec translator. Didnt Dalkey publish some of his novels too? or am I mistaken now? "

That should be him, yep. McElroy's got an essay on him in an issue of RoCF:
"Harry Mathews' Fiction: A Map of Masks."
Review of Contemporary Fiction 7.3 (Fall 1987): 84-90.
http://www.dalkeyarchive.com/book/?GC...

Goodreads credits him with a few Oulipo translations, including Perec's Ellis Island:
http://www.goodreads.com/author/list/...

I haven't gotten many author recommendations from McElroy, so I think I'll have to look into Mr Matthews before too long.


message 13: by Vilma (new)

Vilma (vaalkyrjaa) The Journalist and 20 Lines a Day have already found their way into my Amazon wishbasket. GRRR! These two are the most promising I think, the rest not so much - especially not his book about masturbation lol


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

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 662 comments Vilma wrote: "especially not his book about masturbation lol "

Now, which one is that? Sounds like required reading for folks who read books which others accuse of being "masturbatory" and "self-indulgent."


message 15: by Vilma (last edited Oct 01, 2012 08:40AM) (new)

Vilma (vaalkyrjaa) Singular Pleasures

"The subject of this unique book of short fiction is masturbation, a practice both universal and virtually taboo. In sixty-one vignettes, Mathews records the imaginative varieties of this solitary activity in prose that is playful, intimate, urgent.."

I have nothing against masturbation or self-indulgence, but I dont have to read about it, not exactly.

the GR description says it even has illustrations LOL makes me wonder rofl


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

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 662 comments Geoff wrote: "Hay Nathan thanks so much of that link, super excited to give McElroy/Mathews a listen..."

I recall now that I haven't listened to this because the audio is atrocious.


message 17: by Stephen M, Tome Terminator (new)

Stephen M | 81 comments Big thanks to Nathan and everyone else on this thread contributing. This is an awesome amount of material to use for studying. I'll make sure to get through all these links by the time reading rolls around.


message 18: by Nathan "N.R.", James Mayn (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 662 comments Joe's twitter account. Likely operated by his agent, but still . . .
https://twitter.com/watrwake


message 20: by Stephen M, Tome Terminator (new)

Stephen M | 81 comments "And years later Jim found what he wanted to connect the habit to–the movements or motions you felt overall, in an apartment house, that were less from people doing things than from what was left of them after they went out to work or away on business or vacation, athough it might be the elevator or the edifice responding to the wake of a truck passing in the street."

Wow, that is beautiful. I may have to post quotes in the threads as I go along.


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

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 662 comments Stephen M wrote: "Wow, that is beautiful. I may have to post quotes in the threads as I go along. "

Please do.
Would you provide page numbers?


message 22: by Nathan "N.R.", James Mayn (last edited Oct 04, 2012 12:04PM) (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 662 comments A short essay regarding the question of reading McElroy's novels, "The Courage of Joseph McElroy," by Mike Heppner (link to pdf):

http://www.goldenhandcuffsreview.com/...

"I see Proust, I see James, but not Coover or Barth."


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

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 662 comments Following up on the Heppner article (which is fantastic), one musical comparison made is with Varese. Here a few pieces for purposes of comparing with McElroy's own prose rhythms, "The rhythm is Varese, not Johann Strauss."

Ionisation
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9mg4K...

Poème électronique
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7AIiT...

Hyperprism
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGFLUe...

And because you can't get enough:
http://www.youtube.com/results?search...

And because Frank is a huge Varese fan:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQt2in...


message 24: by Stephen M, Tome Terminator (last edited Oct 04, 2012 12:02PM) (new)

Stephen M | 81 comments "Joseph McElroy is nineteen feet tall and can crush bombproof limousines with his biceps. He will live to be four hundred and thirty-five."

Ha, best line ever.


message 25: by Stephen M, Tome Terminator (new)

Stephen M | 81 comments And I'm just a wee bit skeptical about the "unafraid of abstractions" part of his assessment. I think it's really difficult to pull off effective writing with too many abstractions, because I've seen it fall flat too often. I'm not doubting Mr. McElroy's abilities at all, but just a small worry.


message 26: by Nathan "N.R.", James Mayn (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 662 comments Stephen M wrote: "And I'm just a wee bit skeptical about the "unafraid of abstractions" part of his assessment. I think it's really difficult to pull off effective writing with too many abstractions, because I've se..."

What he calls "abstractions" is perhaps what I call McElroy's "thinking." McElroy says that his writing is thinking. If thinking is a process, and an incomplete process at that, then it will be underway and perhaps feel "abstract" or not solid; its object has not yet formed. What counts as concrete and what counts as abstract is a question which makes McElroy's fiction often rather obtuse, but it's a question which he poses in the very writing of his fiction. Heppner's remarks about abstraction ought to be contrasted and counter-balanced with his comments about McElroy's realism.


message 27: by Stephen M, Tome Terminator (last edited Oct 04, 2012 12:28PM) (new)

Stephen M | 81 comments Yeah, that's probably a useful distinction to make. There's a difference between the type of abstractions as a result of incomplete, fractured thinking (at times IJ) and just shitty writing, which I see way too much of from my peers. The kind of "my struggle is a pale color of disappointment" vague, wishy-washy, meaningless crapola.

Although, what I just wrote is not the worst it gets.


message 28: by Nathan "N.R.", James Mayn (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 662 comments Stephen M wrote: "Although, what I just wrote is not the worst it gets. "

I don't think there's any of that. The presence of objects may appear to be abstract and incomplete, but the presentation of the experience of consciousness is concrete in the sense in which experience is rendered concretely in the Benji chapter of Sound and Fury. What you might want to watch for is the (possible) dearth of metaphor and simile in W&M (just an hypothesis).


message 29: by Stephen M, Tome Terminator (new)

Stephen M | 81 comments I'll definitely keep an eye out. I will probably read the book with a pad and take notes. I'd like to contribute something to the scholarship of the book, considering how little there is out there for it.


message 30: by Nathan "N.R.", James Mayn (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 662 comments Stephen M wrote: "I'll definitely keep an eye out. I will probably read the book with a pad and take notes. I'd like to contribute something to the scholarship of the book, considering how little there is out there ..."

If you can figure out how do create some kind of precis or annotations or readers' guide for those Breather sections I think you'll have some serious dissertation materials.

Or just diagram some of those sentences.


message 31: by Stephen M, Tome Terminator (last edited Oct 04, 2012 02:15PM) (new)

Stephen M | 81 comments That'd be great; a few diagrams may be in order. I think I'm one of the few people who gets excited when finding books that are potential thesis material.


message 32: by Nathan "N.R.", James Mayn (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 662 comments In the recently posted McElroy biblio (message #47) is noted Heidegger's piece "Building Dwelling Thinking." A full text:

http://mysite.pratt.edu/~arch543p/rea...

There is clearly some Heidegger in the background of W&M, not explicit, but I know McElroy has read a fair amount of philosophy (economics too), only that I don't know which. The Heidegger I always hear echoed in the repeated phrases about "articulated structures" which to me is the seminal moment of Heidegger's description of Dasein (the human being).


message 33: by Nathan "N.R.", James Mayn (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 662 comments Jonathan wrote: "By the way I am not surprised in the least to find Brodkey on the list. Maybe we should read the much maligned but probably actually amazing RUNAWAY SOUL next year."

I've not read word one from Brodkey, but I think I've already dedicated myself to reading every one of his works. How's that for reckless reading habits?


message 34: by Nathan "N.R.", James Mayn (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 662 comments Jonathan wrote: "I may begin to read some more of the McElroy stories alongside W&M as soon as I finish this beast of a Vollmann."

I find that I've gotta get this White Whale wrapped up before I can expect my attention to turn to anything else of consequence. Another few days before W&M gets an earnest beginning with a breather there.


message 35: by Jacob (new)

Jacob | 19 comments Also of some interest to readers in this group: at Bibliomanic, there is
* * a Web Bibliography (http://wp.me/p2tl0C-bR); and
* * an appreciation with McElroy photo & a list of 10 or so his FANTASTIC opening lines (http://wp.me/p2tl0C-by).
Happy reading to those discovering this American genius!


message 36: by Aloha (new)

Aloha | 497 comments Ha! Thanks, Nick.


message 37: by Aloha (new)

Aloha | 497 comments There's also a Kindle version on Amazon for $7.69. I'm getting that one.

http://www.amazon.com/Preparations-fo...


message 38: by Nathan "N.R.", James Mayn (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 662 comments Nick wrote: "If anyone is interested in a print version of Preparations for Search, the chapter cut from Women and Men there are five copies available on AbeBooks."

Someone snagged 'em quick. Only one there at the moment.


message 39: by Nathan "N.R.", James Mayn (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 662 comments Someone has been working on the Women & Men wikipedia entry:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_an...


message 40: by Aloha (new)

Aloha | 497 comments Nick wrote: "Nathan "N.R." wrote: "Someone has been working on the Women & Men wikipedia entry:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_an..."

I saw that earlier. Quite a bit of information has been added."


Thank you. I stayed up all night to do that.


message 41: by Nathan "N.R.", James Mayn (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 662 comments Aloha wrote: "Thank you. I stayed up all night to do that. "

As much as I find it valuable for there to be coherent entries for McElroy's work on wikipedia, it would pain me to think that Aloha's McElroy efforts are being spent outside the confines of our goodreads group. But thank you all the same!


message 42: by Aloha (new)

Aloha | 497 comments I'm just getting started, Nathan. That's nothing.


message 43: by Aloha (new)

Aloha | 497 comments I'm thinking about it. I have duct tape and a full bath tub.


message 44: by Aloha (last edited Nov 02, 2012 04:47AM) (new)

Aloha | 497 comments Here are the Extra Chapters that were omitted from the original published book.
Password: Nathan
In honor of Nathan who brought this book to our attention.


message 45: by Aloha (new)

Aloha | 497 comments *ahem* What were the chapters in Night Soul and Other Stories that was omitted in Women and Men? You told me, Nathan, somewhere, but it's not in this thread. Thank you.


message 46: by Aloha (new)

Aloha | 497 comments You're welcome!


message 47: by Nathan "N.R.", James Mayn (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 662 comments Aloha wrote: "Here are the Extra Chapters that were omitted from the original published book. "

For those who care, Preparation for Search was apparently revised for its Dzanc publication in 2010 (according to the McElroy wikipedia entry.) Which is to say, when you spend that $50 for Prep for Search on abebooks, it'll be an older, outdated text. But I don't know what "revised" means in this situation.

And if I could only get your file unzipped, Aloha. No one's asked me for the pw, but maybe I'm just dense. Thanksthanks.


message 48: by Aloha (new)

Aloha | 497 comments I'll reupload without the password, Nathan. Ha! It won't open for the man in which the PW was named for.


message 49: by Aloha (new)


message 50: by Nathan "N.R.", James Mayn (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 662 comments Aloha wrote: "Here it is:
Extra Chapters No Password"


Thnksthnks. you can remove that one if you need to. I got it. I was once more slick with this thing, but my mac's made me computer not-savvy.


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