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Interesting, makes me think of my old favorite Katherine Anne Porter
who, like many others, described fiction as creating lies to tell the
truth. I do see your point, but if I disagree with Gordon's
interpretation, it is because I think it is not true, and if I think it
is not true, I guess I'm stuck if someone says I'm calling it a
fiction--how can I disagree--though that kind of fiction may not (is
all but cerainly not) her conscious intention.
In the end, I think her work is seriously flawed. It seems to me not
more nuanced in its "Imperfect Life" manifestation, but more polarized
in its own proclivities (it was polarized more than enough in its
previous manifestations). To anyone who would conclude something about
TSE based on her work, I would have to say "Consider the source." That
doesn't dismiss it; it puts in (I would say) a better (truer)
On Wed, 7 Mar 2001 10:00:08 -0500 Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]>
> Dear Ken,
> Interpretation is not fiction.
> Calling her work "fiction" is dismissive. What fascinates me is that her first
> two books were so cautious and admiring, and she only moved to a
> more nuanced and mixed mode in the third. But even if one does not agree
> with her interpretation, it is valid interpretation, not fiction.
> Date sent: Wed, 7 Mar 2001 10:55:47 -0500
> Send reply to: [log in to unmask]
> From: Ken Armstrong <[log in to unmask]>
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: RE: Eliot's letters--Gordon's Biography
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> On Tue, 6 Mar 2001 21:04:49 -0500 Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]>
> > I do not understand on what possible basis you can judge Gordon's
> > meticulously researched material "fiction." It is consistently based on
> > cited material, and--more signicantly--Gordon has now done three
> > biographies that have gone over and over parallel ground with exacting
> > care. It is simply not possible to dismiss
> But no one is dismissing Gordon; just pointing out that her
> interpretation of Eliot's life is still that, an interpretation. There are
> citations, and then there are the selection and presentation of citations.
> Arwin says explicitly that she excels in facts. It is what she has
> done with them that raises eyebrows. She has cut Eliot's life to fit her
> prejudices. That, too, should not be dismissed.
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