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POETRYETC  September 2008

POETRYETC September 2008

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Subject:

Re: hello, again

From:

David Bircumshaw <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Poetryetc: poetry and poetics

Date:

Wed, 10 Sep 2008 00:15:58 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

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text/plain (265 lines)

Here's another PS for you Judy. My re-write and take on Samuel
Beckett's joke is:

'God, the bastard, he does exist'.

Now that's about where I am.


Yrs

davo

2008/9/9 Judy Prince <[log in to unmask]>:
> See, Dave, you were 'having me on', what many USAmericans would call
> 'teasing' or 'joking'.  Billions of words've been written on English wit;
> how USAmericans don't get it and can't do it themselves.  If I didn't
> believe there was a divide in the humor [humour] department between our
> countries, I wouldn't mentioned it here.  But I find the divide fascinating
> all real.  The difference may be tied to our separate 'takes' on religion,
> conformity, 'sociability', and word choices.  Naturally, these differences
> hang mostly on who were our respective forbears.
> [A quick non-aside here and now:  You write 'centre', we write 'center'.
>  Most Americans would assume that the Brit spelling is 'older', but in fact
> it is 'younger' than the American spelling.  Many phrases and expressions
> used now in the USA are no longer used in the UK [UQ].  This is just one
> 'proof' of how insular USAmerica is and has been.  That's the second part of
> my theory about our different humor and our ways of being sociable or
> religious.  I theorize, in a nutshell, that those differences derive from
> who came to America [largely from your country], as well as their
> offspring-generations who remained secluded here, geographically, for some
> 500-plus years.  After all, island folk (e.g., Brits, Japanese,
> Scandinavian) are known for their resourceful "visiting" [read 'plundering']
> other countries with more and different resources.
>
> All USAmericans needed to do was to lay claim to and wrest the entire
> country's land from native Americans, buy land "owned" by Russia and France,
> steal some from Mexico, and this immense, geographically varied and rich
> land was all we needed; we didn't need, weren't close to, and didn't want
> [for sheer pragmatism and comfort] to go beyond our country.
>
> A (dwindling as immigrants continue coming here) majority of USAmericans
> are, then, fascinatingly, a little Museum of Merry Olde England and its
> significant attached land bits called Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and
> Cornwall, as well as hundreds of little islands.
>
> So "our" humor, as distinct from "your" humour, comes from those of you who
> came here----and mainly as opposed to those of you who stayed there:
>  Strongly non-conforming yet conformist religionists, a sprinkle of landed
> gentry, some renegades, near-starving displaced Scottish Highlanders, and
> starving Irish and Welsh.
>
> [On a related issue that I'd like to understand:  Exactly who were the
> slavedrivers [literally] in early USAmerica?] Irish?  Scottish?  Welsh?
>
> Aside from the non-nuance of emailed messages, then, an English ironic
> statement will fly directly over an American's head but will be caught by
> most Brits.
>
> Trying to characterise Brit humour and American humor intrigues me.  Y'all's
> 'super-subtle' irony tends to be self- or country-deprecatory, whereas
> Americans' irony tends more often to be brash, in-your-face, obvious, and
> 'other-demeaning'.  Our other immigrant-imported humor, especially from the
> huge influx of western Europeans and middle Easterners (in the
> destructing-dynasties days of the mid-1800s), and much later the eastern
> Europeans (glasnost Russians, "revolting" Hungarians, to name just a few)
> give us quite different, and wonderful, wit styles.  As our Asian immigrants
> assimilate, we're getting---much too slowly, for my taste---Chinese,
> Japanese, Thai, and Filipino humor.
>
> End of lecture, flawed as it surely is, since it's totally unresearched
> (!!).
>
> And now, Dave, to the unsurnamed mysteryman, F, surely his relative
> obscurity's due to his humorlessness.
>
> BTW, the only witty person (your style) I regularly converse with here is
> the man who sells me stamps at the US Post Office branch nearby.  It usually
> takes me a few seconds to "get" which parts of what he says are wit, and
> which I should take as literal.  <sigh>  Brilliant, that one----and much
> appreciated by me!
>
> unKaramazatic joodles
>
>
> 2008/9/9 David Bircumshaw <[log in to unmask]>
>
>> Judy! The F Russian novelist is (in roman letters) Fyodor of course.
>>
>> 'Chess' is one of those wee books that hit you like a rocket, it was
>> his last and he committed suicide a while after.
>>
>> I'm very wary of statistics: who was it made the adaptation 'There are
>> lies, damned lies, and statistics'?
>>
>> Best
>>
>> Dave
>>
>> 2008/9/8 Judy Prince <[log in to unmask]>:
>> > Yes, JM Forster---one of the quickest aids for novel-reading [which I
>> > generally loathe to do, despite it having been a big hunk of my
>> > schooling]---does creatively simplify and clarify how to "niche" novels
>> > rather than just pocket their chronology and inevitable lead into the
>> next
>> > generations.
>> > I took a Women Novelists course once, the female prof who'd decided that
>> > there were clear gender-markings of subjects and handlings-of-subjects.
>>  As
>> > we ran thru the Usual Suspects of women-writ novels----unfortunately,
>> mostly
>> > the bottom-of-the-barrel ones----so that she could buttress her premise,
>> I
>> > felt I'd explode if I didn't stop her.
>> >
>> > I asked her to rebut the view that Tolstoy, especially in W & P, if not
>> AK,
>> > exhibited ALL of her so-called Female Novelists' Subjects and Techniques.
>> >  Don't remember a bit of her response, just felt tremendously relieved
>> to've
>> > stated My Truth.  <g>
>> >
>> > In the 19th c---Englishly, at least---there was an audible frustration
>> > constantly emitted by successful male novelists who were angered at
>> readers'
>> > choosing female-authored novels over theirs.  Odd, that.
>> >
>> > Don't know contemporary stats, but it seems for every male-written and
>> > male-read SF novel, there's a handy Bodice-Ripper [some quite
>> > sophisticated!] read by a female.  I'd love to be a little mouse <ahem>
>> > looking at the books that Educated Folk read for their amusement.
>> >
>> > Thanks for reminding me of _The Death of I I_, David.  Haven't read it
>> since
>> > uni days, and suspect that I'd receive it altogether differently now.
>> >
>> > Have never heard of Stefan Zweig's _Chess_.  Should I put it ahead of all
>> > the Scots' novels and poetry as well as Goethe and Montaigne?  Someone
>> > advises me that reading Proust [no, I have NOT read this much-touted
>> > 'madeleine-crusher'!] is not worth the wearying.  Well, Dave---is it
>> true?
>> >
>> > I'd much rather read your begun-memoir than all the other stuff, anyway.
>> >
>> > Best,
>> >
>> > Judy who wishes she knew the _F_ Russian novelist's name
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > 2008/9/8 David Bircumshaw <[log in to unmask]>
>> >
>> >> Judy, yes, Tolstoy can be a bit soap-operatic, however, if you get
>> >> past the first three hundred pages or so of War and Peace, you get, as
>> >> Forster said in Aspects of the Novel, 'great chords' beginning to
>> >> sound. On a smaller scale in 'The Death of Ivan Ilyich' a certain
>> >> inevitability happens, that one only normally associates with those
>> >> Antique Greeks, or Shakespeare at his best.
>> >> Or maybe Stefan Zweig's novella 'Chess' or maybe etc ... I'm sure you
>> >> know what I'm getting at.
>> >> There was also another 19th century Russkie writer, who was in some
>> >> ways completely barking, as we say over here, but also magnificent. I
>> >> think his first name began with F.
>> >>
>> >> best
>> >>
>> >> Dave
>> >>
>> >> 2008/9/8 Judy Prince <[log in to unmask]>:
>> >> > Hadn't I hesitated just _this_ much, thinking 'hey, this echoes....',
>> >> having
>> >> > years ago done a respectable minor in 'Rushing Lit' at U of Michigan!
>> >>  But
>> >> > ease yourself, Christopher---you wrote the collapsing scaffold
>> POETICAL,
>> >> and
>> >> > those lightweight Russian novelists/shortstorytellers hadn't the
>> talent
>> >> to
>> >> > distill their comparison, had they?
>> >> > On that subject, naturally:  Who's your favourite 19th c Russian
>> writer?
>> >> >  Overall, mine's Chekhov.  Fun as Tolstoy is, he's too 'soap
>> operatic',
>> >> > couldnae even insinuate War into Peace in that interminable book.
>> >>  Gogol's
>> >> > 'Dead Souls'---fantastic!  Pushkin......hmmm......groundbreaking, in
>> >> Russia
>> >> > and at that time.....but.....too much the writer of domestic 'cameos',
>> >> > Tolstoy in poetry.
>> >> >
>> >> > Then there's the man who can describe the 'battle' of the blundering
>> >> sexes,
>> >> > the quintessential Russian writer:  Lermontov.  'A Hero of Our Time',
>> the
>> >> > passionate, but gently objective slivering away at our bleeding
>> corpses.
>> >> >  His incisions, so blindingly felt, nevertheless don't hurt.....they
>> >> build
>> >> > us new tissue [scaffolds of incipient poetry?].
>> >> >
>> >> > Ah yes, $$$ Casually Acquired clothing:  best to buy basic jeans and
>> >> you'll
>> >> > never go wrong.
>> >> >
>> >> > Judy
>> >> >
>> >> >
>> >> >
>> >> > 2008/9/8 Christopher C Jones <[log in to unmask]>
>> >> >
>> >> >> Many thanks but I should perhaps say that writers using scaffolds
>> which
>> >> >> are later removed has been used before by Bakhtin and was it Tolstoy?
>> >> >> Collapsing scaffolds is more so one of my variations especially when
>> it
>> >> >> comes to novel creation of worlds. Many best wishes all the same and
>> >> >> thanks.
>> >> >>
>> >> >> PS. I have just discovered a dress code called neat casual attire,
>> which
>> >> >> appears to what got termed designer wear in my days, especially since
>> it
>> >> >> cost two or three times what a business suit would.
>> >> >>
>> >> >>
>> >> >>
>> >> >> On Sat, 2008-09-06 at 02:19 -0400, Judy Prince wrote:
>> >> >> > Love this image/analogy of yours, Christopher:  "a scaffold which
>> >> needs
>> >> >> to
>> >> >> > be removed or collapses into the text....."
>> >> >> > Judy
>> >> >>
>> >> >
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>
>> >> --
>> >> David Bircumshaw
>> >> Website and A Chide's Alphabet
>> >> http://homepage.ntlworld.com/david.bircumshaw/
>> >> The Animal Subsides http://www.arrowheadpress.co.uk/books/animal.html
>> >> Leicester Poetry Society: http://www.poetryleicester.co.uk
>> >>
>> >
>>
>>
>>
>> --
>> David Bircumshaw
>> Website and A Chide's Alphabet
>> http://homepage.ntlworld.com/david.bircumshaw/
>> The Animal Subsides http://www.arrowheadpress.co.uk/books/animal.html
>> Leicester Poetry Society: http://www.poetryleicester.co.uk
>>
>



-- 
David Bircumshaw
Website and A Chide's Alphabet http://homepage.ntlworld.com/david.bircumshaw/
The Animal Subsides http://www.arrowheadpress.co.uk/books/animal.html
Leicester Poetry Society: http://www.poetryleicester.co.uk

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