Re: RARA-AVIS: Archer/Ross Macdonald

From: Michael Robison (
Date: 25 Aug 2007

Mario wrote:

Now truth is a difficult concept to apply here. E.B. White wrote that the trouble with truth is its many varieties... psychological truth is unprovable and you can't argue with it. If a reader believes in the characters and situations, some sort of "truth" has been conveyed,event though a writer's profession is to tell lies.

***************** OK. My fault. I evidently got too artsy with my statement that truth can be obscured by the facts. I was not referring to stories themselves, but the way critcism relates to reader response. What I meant was that your insistence on the separateness of the reader experience and critical analysis is in danger of disregarding the overlap and close symbiotic relationship between the two. It's possible that our disagreement on this subject is based on a definition of analysis. If I ask a boy his opinion of a story and he says it needs a ferret in it, that's analysis. If I ask the Korean girl beside him wants to know why nobody in the story looks like her, I call that analysis too.

My point is simply that there is a potential for these hopes and expectations and critiques to be filed in the reader's mind and integrated into their response to future reading. Criticism shapes response and vice versa in a continuing iterative process. Your orgasm/treatise analogy favors a one-way linear relationship rather than the circular relationship it really is.

As far as proving anything, I've got no idea what that has to do with this discussion. Outside the precise language of mathematics, viable proofs are about as likely as bumping into the Dalai Llama at a Marilyn Manson concert.

And while we're on the subject, I have no more problem with White's varieties of truth than I do with the varieties of science, such as physics, chemistry, and biology.


____________________________________________________________________________________ Boardwalk for $500? In 2007? Ha! Play Monopoly Here and Now (it's updated for today's economy) at Yahoo! Games.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 25 Aug 2007 EDT