From: Marcia Karp
I have been thinking about Nancy's statement "no one even knows each
other except as a text." This is, to me, a challenge to all writing. It is
one I have to disagree with. For instance, people, especially in the past,
have come to know each other deeply and intimately when their only contact
is letter writing. As for literature, I'm not convinced it is a medium
through which readers know, or should try to know, their authors. Other
Very astute remarks Marcia. I take them to heart.
They have inspired certain thoughts.
If Trad. & Indiv. Tal. (T&IT) hold any sway here,
it seems clear to me that knowing an authour through
works other than the autobiographical, is questionable.
Eliot was very little like Prufrock, yet many peopl
want to read him as Eliot's voice. Stephen aedalus lived the
events of Joyce, but was nothing like him.
On the other hand, when we speak through this
medium we carry on an asynchronous conversation.
Sometimes we slip into the essayists voice, but mostly,
I remain convinced, we are using our everyday speaking
voice. The medium is not good at registering its
subtleties. What seems like sounded words in print
for some can look like formal text to others. The
sounded idiom may be little more than an off-hand comment,
while the textul idiom using the same words may be totally
Given the haziness of tone which this medium creates,
it seems necessary to me, every now and then to challenge
certain kinds of remarks, to see what is behind them,
especially when those remarks are aimed at textually
oriented people, and seem to imply that those textually
oriented people can be manipulated by their blindness to
other effects that can be created in this medium.
One does not challenge such remarks by more of the same
kind of remarks, but by a totally different kind of
idiom. The new idiom can change drastically from time
to time. The remarks are like sonar pings. McLuhan
called them probes. They resonate, but not always
as might be expected or from sources that might be expected.
Sometmes that is because there is off-list discussion
which they have, in a certain sense, intercepted.