Dear Francis,
    I was the one who introduced Madame Bovary into the conversation.  I
was using it in order to press Jennifer on the question of character in
poems.  The posts are around if you want to remind yourself that she did
not posit MB as the exemplary novel.

    The calendar doesn't have the final word.  Have you considered that
Flaubert's masterful control of point of view in MB (which some think
marks it as the first modern novel) was translated into E's control of
voice in TWL?  (Of course others say that Don Quixote was the first
modern novel.  Others, Tristram Shandy.  Others, the book that your
grandchild's classmate will write.)  Modernism didn't change
Everything.  You are ignoring Bellow, Mailer, Kesey (whose Cuckoo Nest
is written a la Flaubert's techniques), Salinger, ... .  Hard to connect
Hemingway or Barth or Heller to the Modernism of Eliot and Pound unless
you want to turn a new way into All New Ways.   Or Robert Frost, Wallace
Stevens, WCWilliams, the Beats, Robert Pinsky, Derek Walcott, Anthony
Hecht, ...  And then there are the writers today.  Why not say that
Dryden irrevocably changed everything (as Eliot would have said had he
not been more careful in what credit he gave Dryden) and then ignore the
part of other writers and monuments.

    I do think Jennifer's argument that a novel can't be written in
verse is as off the mark as yours is that narration and character, tout
court, make a novel .   But what does?  It isn't easy to say.
    Neither do I understand your point about time travel.  Anyone can
play that game with no fear of being proven wrong.  How can you argue
against my contention that Alexander Pope, for instance, would be more
sympathetic to, and understanding of, TWL than 999.99 people out of any
100 living since 1922?  Perhaps Eliot was thinking of the Dunciad and
its notes.  Who knows?


Francis Gavin wrote to Jennifer:

>I gleaned Madame Bovary to be your prime citation of
>what you considered to be a novel as literary form as opposed to a poem like
>TWL. I found it rather telling that you would compare something from the
>Nineteenth with something from the Twentieth century.  While Bovary is a
>book with a theme that is timeless, it is still very much a book of its
>time. And between that time and the coming of Modernism everything changed
>forever. I think a person who was brought forward in time from the 1920's
>would have a much better chance of grasping and surviving in this world,
>this time, than one brought from the 1860's to the 1920's. Few people from
>Flaubert's period would have considered TWL a novel or a poem.