Harry Mathews Roundtable

The Quarterly Conversation has posted a roundtable on the great Harry Mathews, including essays by Dan Visel and Ed Park  on The Conversions, Laird Hunt on My Life in CIA, John Beer on The New Tourism, Daniel Levin Becker on Selected Declarations of Dependence, and Jeremy M. Davies and myself on Cigarettes.



William Gaddis Occupies Wall Street in JR

Dalkey Archive Press has just reissused two of the most important texts of the past sixty years–William Gaddis’s The Recognitions and JR. Introductions are by William H. Gass and Rick Moody.

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Dalkey Archive Press

Until I make my pilgrimage to Champaign, this realtor-walkthrough video of Dalkey Archive’s warehouse (squired by founder John O’Brien, no less!) will have to do:


With some insight into the workings and history of Dalkey from O’Brien and Jeremy Davies.

Gabriel Blackwell on Stanley Elkin’s Boswell


I am, by way of introduction, perpetually adjunct; not quite ad hoc, still not joined. Inessential. A barnacle, an on-looker, a modifier. I worry. What encomiums for the adjunct?

I am a “Visiting Assistant Professor of Creative Writing.” This is already my second year of visiting, my reunion with familiarity, a second chance for consequence. In nine months, I hope to still be visiting, to have immured my hosts to the fishy odor marking the offices I occupy. I’m a good guest. Quiet. I leave nothing behind. Boswell says: “I have come to make my fortune and have instead added to the fortunes of others. That’s the role of most men, I suppose.” Would it be wrong to find myself in his words? Too grand? I am a guest-post, a ghost, even here, on this blog. And you? You are a reader, a rubber-necker just like me.

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Using Viktor Shklovsky

My hero.

[This post began as a response to some comments made by Douglas Storm on Amber’s most recent post.]

The name “Viktor Shklovsky” comes up a lot at this site (I’m guilty of mentioning it in perhaps half of my posts), and one might wonder why the man and his work matters. Below, I’ll try and lay out what Viktor Shklovsky has done for me, and what he might be able to do for you, too! Because Shklovsky might be the single most interesting and, above all else, useful critic I’ve ever encountered…

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This is the book I’m most looking forward to this year

And it’s a reprint, and I already own the original:

It’s that good.

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A Pan-English Dictionary (for readers of Harry Mathews’s The Sinking of the Odradek Stadium)

J.R.R. Tolkien’s not the only novelist who invented fictional languages! In Harry Mathews‘s early masterpiece, the epistolary novel The Sinking of the Odradek Stadium, newlyweds Zachary McCaltex and Twang Panattapam, separated by the Atlantic, exchange letters in which they “try to trace the whereabouts of a treasure supposedly lost off the coast of Florida in the sixteenth century, while navigating a relationship separated by an ocean as well as their different cultures.”

Twang, who hails “from the Southeast-Asian country of Pan-Nam,” peppers her letters with snatches of her native language, “Pan.” Fortunately for her husband and the reader, she also translates it on the spot. I’ve collected all of the Pan and its English equivalents in the hope it will be of interest; it’s all after the jump.

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