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It doesn't matter who posited the argument. She carried it forward.



on 10/27/04 6:52 AM, Marcia Karp at [log in to unmask] wrote:

> 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.

I never said Modernism changed everything -- Modernism was and remains an
index of how much everything had changed. The internal combustion engine and
the harnessing of the electromagnetic spectrum changed everything. I suppose
if we wanted lay credit or blame at anyone's feet it would be Gauss and
Faraday. Societies take quantum leaps. Between the late Nineteenth and the
early Twentieth Western Civ took such an enormous leap, culminating in WWI,
that it blew away virtually everything that had meant anything just forty
years preceding.

Nor did I say that the calendar had the final word -- but the way the
argument was moving it sounded as if Bovary was not only the exemplary
Nineteenth Cent. novel but a prime example of what a novel is and is not.

I never tried to define who the first modern novelist was. I said that
modern fiction owed more to Eliot both in voice and in overall structure
than Jennifer was willing to grant. I also cited the authors from whom Eliot
synthesized those voices. And I said that those voices moved through the
culture and lived in literature like a virus because language is a virus.

That does not signify an immediate qualification or quantifiable result. It
means those voices simply are. It means that it they have become so deeply
nested that a writer may write with a voice first fully codified in Prufrock
without ever having read Prufrock. With all due respect I find it surprising
that you don't hear or see those voices or that structure in the works of
the authors you mentioned, particularly Salinger or Hemingway, who gave all
credit to Pound in A Moveable Feast.

As for defining what is and what isn't a novel--my point precisely.
Contextually it is a matter of history. Where has The Novel, as an art form
been -- where is it now -- where is it going. I think both Flaubert and
Eliot knew the answers to the first two questions. I'm not sure Flaubert was
interested in the third. I think Eliot had a keen interest in the third,
both as a maker and a critic.

on 10/27/04 6:52 AM, Marcia Karp at [log in to unmask] wrote:

> 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.