‘The Group’, Mary McCarthy

I read the first 16 pages of Mary McCarthy’s The Group© 1. I am neither intending to read any more of it nor am I intending to retrieve it from the trash.

My belief was I’d be reading a literary account of industrialized – not the same as ‘industrial strength’ – womanhood; Of 20th century womanhood before the more full enfranchisement wrought by feminism.

Instead, imagine attending an unspecified event thinking the event artistic, literary.  Upon entering the venue I find Mary McCarthy in a boxing ring, punching uppercuts at the air as part of some warmup routine.  Her opponents are characters of the novel; The characters representing others, whether former classmates, acquaintances, etc.  Actually, her opponents don’t seem limited to people she’s known any more than the occidental opposition of Fyodor Dostevsky’s The Idiot.  In other words, the disdain seems group  (Thus, the title ‘The Group’?) disdain rather than individual.   [Also, within this first 16 pages of The Group© is an acronym, C.Y.K, 2 which is reminiscent of the N.F.B. of The Idiot.  C.Y.K. is an abbreviation of ‘consider yourself kissed’ which is apparently a salutation.  So, there’s that.]

Take your pick; catty, venomous, backbiting, bitchy. 3 Any is apt.

I suppose a sneering review requires, at least, a fair reading of the entire work.  Tough shit . Consider this an unfair review.

1 The Group, Mary McCarthy, ©1963, Virago Press 2009, An Imprint of Little, Brown, Bookgroup, London

2 Ibid, pg. 4

3 https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english-thesaurus/catty


‘The Complete Short Stories’, Franz Kafka

Franz Kafka is Jewish. I am not educated of Judaism so I had difficulties understanding some of the finer points of Franz Kafka, The Complete Short Stories, edited by Nahum Glatzer. 1 This is not to say Kafka is confusing but that the confusion is a result of this readers limits. In other words, I attribute my occasional perplexity to my own faults rather than Kafka being mystifying. I was happy to partake of the work as reader.

Kafka has left us an account of the syncretic relations resulting of industrial civilization and religious antiquity. This mixing we know as ‘civilization’. As member of this civilization Franz Kafka suffers this syncretic; as observer and author Kafka elaborates this syncretic. The term ‘Kafkaesque’ has come to be synonymous with surreal yet the synonymity is casual and resultantly superficial. Dealing with both the industrial, physical world as well as the religious, metaphysical world is an expansive oeuvre. If Kafkaesque is to mean anything I think it ought to incorporate this expansiveness.

The fin de siecle of the 19th and 20th centuries is vexing. Democracy, scientism, humanism as foundational beget as much binding forces as emancipating forces. Stephen Zweig in ‘The World of Yesterday’ writes of the time before WWI as being a time when people actually thought mankind had progressed to the point of benignity, of possibly never experiencing war again. (Hindsight reveals, instead, a kind of flux between benignity and malignity with neither benignity nor malignity stable concepts.) Among these gargantuan forces still resided the individual. The individual as social group – the demotic – was overrun by industrial, political economy. Economics – production and labor in particular – seemed to supplant all manner of non-economic impulse. The Industrial Revolution didn’t so much unburden humanity as burden it alternatively. To say burdens of the Industrial Revolution  are but alternative  seems a great understatement if the pathos of Kafka’s work provides any evidentiary proof.

The story, ‘The Metamorphosis’ is an example of modernity’s adulteration of a socioeconomic associated with the demotic. Gregor Samsa’s morphing [ I won’t give a synopsis as the story is well-known and Googleable.] represents the societal havoc wrought by the Industrial Revolution. Gregor has become a bug; He’s no longer human. Gregor and family seem ineffably devoted yet socioeconomic demands hold sway. One of the first concerns is, Will Gregor be fired? Thus, the surreal is as it should be, a mere literary device by which Kafka expresses the realism of an industrial reordering; A reordering founded upon the purported. Life purported; Such life becomes non-purported only with Gregor’s metamorphosis into a bug, no longer pinioned yet still able to attest to interpersonal intimacies.

What has happened to me, he thought. It was no dream. His room a regular human bedroom, only rather too small, lay quiet between the four walls. Above the table on which a collection of cloth samples was unpacked and spread out – Samsa was a commercial traveler – hung the picture which he had recently cut out of an illustrated magazine and put into a pretty gilt frame. It showed a lady, with a fur cap on and a fur stole, sitting upright and holding out to the spectator a huge fur muff into which the whole of her forearm had vanished! 2

This ability to unmask a purportedness and find, transcendentally, an ethereal seems particular to Kafka. I don’t mean to hyperbolize the demotic but neither am I dismissing its universality. [Mark Twain seems similarly demotic]

A sturdy biblical understanding underlies much of these stories. The story ‘Fellowship’ is an example. The narrator of the story explains he and four friends – total of five – don’t want to associate with a sixth.

There was a time, of course, when the five of us didn’t know one another, either; and it could be said that we still don’t know one another, but what is possible and can be tolerated by the five of us is not possible and can not be tolerated with this sixth one. 3

Now this story certainly seems inviting of interpretation. I don’t have any special or even competent hermeneutic knowledge, yet interpreting this as a theme of Judaic law vs. Savior seems reasonable. The five associates allude to the Pentateuch and biblical law. The sixth – of whom the five don’t wish to associate – alludes to Christ or, possibly, any Messiah.

So, this sturdy Biblical, is especially Judaic. I think this composed quality of allaying anxieties which seems to run through all these stories results, significantly, of Judaic understanding.

Kafka’s writings serve as allayer of a host of anxieties. ‘The Metamorphosis’ and ‘Great Wall of China’ allay socioeconomic adulteration induced anxieties, ‘The Judgement’ allays interpersonal difficulties, or – as in ‘Fellowship’ – a Law vs. Messiah anxiety is allayed. This allaying seems due to Kafka’s settled Judaic understanding. This quality also speaks to enduring Judaism. Despite persecutions, Judaism itself – its hermeneutic, its perseverance, its forbearing touch all contribute to an allaying of anxieties.

I like the phrase ‘literary conceit’. It speaks of a presumptuous sagaciousness which unfurls to reveal folly and omission. It is essentially harmless since perfection is not expected. Still and all, the word ‘conceit’ has an ad hominem quality about it. An author faced with the particulars of their literary conceit might be imbued with an ad hominen taint of conceit of the non-literary sort. With Kafka there doesn’t seem any non-literary conceit. The stories are emplaced with an especial, unimposing demotic impetus. Despite possible duplicity in telling Max Brod, an associate, not to publish his [Kafka’s] works, the works of Franz Kafka, The Complete Short Stories, seem, themselves, traceless of duplicity and the mercenary.

To some degree Kafka seems as much victim of the era as the demotic he upholds. Kafkaesque has come to mean absurd, surreal, bureaucratic. All 3 are evident in these stories yet they seem to be used to characterize Kafka rather than the work.

His own view is that Kafka was “the poet of his own disorder.” 4

This seems significantly an ad hominem, accusatory argument.

1 Franz Kafka, The Complete Short Sories, edited by Nahum Glatzer, Vintage 2005, Vintage Random House, London
2 Ibid, pg. 95
3 Ibid, pg. 467
4 https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/07/is-franz-kafka-overrated/309373/

Other Consulted Material

The Insufficiency of the Noetic

++++How Banagher thought was like this:  “Downtown . . . downtown. . . what makes downtown ‘down’?”
++++It was the kind of thought drawn of contradiction.
++++“‘Down’ itself seemed uncomplicated, as did ‘town’ but the combination -‘downtown’- seemed rather inexplicable. Mid-town seemed uncomplicated – the mid or middle of the city –  but ‘downtown’, the ostensible center of the city, seemed questionable.  Was this ‘downtown’ actually down from the surrounding town such that its elevation was less than that of its surroundings and could thus be said to be ‘down’ as in lower? Possibly something corresponding to split level?”  Not of which Banagher was aware.  “Was this ‘down’ a postulate awaiting some manifestation of ‘down’? Might one who came upon the border of this ‘downtown’ be obligated to go ‘down’ in some sense?  Nod their head down, for instance.  Would such a response be awaited, even mandated? Could such nodding – or other manifestation of ‘down’ – be some declaration that one was, in fact, ‘downtown’?  Might the downtown community agonize should some kind of ‘down’ not be manifest? Was there a limit to such manifest ‘downs’? Presumably, prostrating oneself wouldn’t have been called for.”
++++“Suppose one had come upon downtown but acted antipodal to the ‘down’.  Enacted an ‘up’ instead of a ‘down’. Would the implication be they were uptown even though they were, in fact, downtown?  Could such mistake be assessed as ignorant or, possibly, fraudulent?  Would such apparent mistakenness cause alarms to sound . . . streets to curve anew, left instead of right or right instead of left?  If one were uptown rather than downtown would the postulate be ‘up’ rather than ‘down’?”
++++Banagher was separated from the outside by residence, a studio apartment. Ambling over to a window he separated sheer, unadorned white curtains.  The pellucidity of the outside environs which the curtains had diffused and obfuscated stimulated Banagher for a moment.  Song-birds flittered here and there among the flora under the spring sun. Larger birds floated serenely above, entanglements seeming far off;  Eurythmy sufficed.
[++++Amongst the coruscated green buds of maple and oak trees hunkered snarls of branches. Banagher realized  the luminous young buds portended new, unknown snarls.   Diminished, Banagher trundled back to his seat.
++++“‘Down'” cerebrated Banagher, “was simple enough, but ‘downtown’ . . . something was not apparent.”
++++“Was there an aspect of ‘downtown’ such that one could speak normatively of being uptown of downtown . . . of being downtown of uptown?”
++++If not, why not?

Misplaced Bill of Rights

++++Recent abortion restrictions such as those of Georgia, Alabama, Missouri ¹ – seemingly contradicting Roe vs. Wade – reminds me of state conflicts of the Civil War antebellum period. [No, I’m not suggesting the present is an antebellum period in the making, just that the political discourse seems similar; Contentious, State-centered, Victim/Perpetrator] The antebellum was marked by various efforts to resolve interstate disputes over slavery. [Despite slavery being an acknowledged issue other issues were also familiar. Both North and South had economic concerns antagonized by either abolition or slavery, and most importantly – aside from slavery itself – the fear of majority tyranny. These I won’t get into.]
++++The antebellum period of the Civil war, although deliberative, seemed a purblind deliberation. ²  Slavery’s morality was well-considered; States rights were a well-recognized issue, though obviously not primary. In the end, the sovereignty of state entities proved ineffectual, a union resulted and a republic was significantly nullified. Why was a republic of sovereign states futile? Because the republic relation between states – abstract, impersonal – was muddled by the personal, citizenry-level facet of the Bill of Rights which should have been a more local concern of the state rather than republic concern.
++++This is not to say a Bill of Rights is neither needed nor admirable but rather that any interpersonal narrative such as a Bill of Rights belongs of the state level rather than republic level. [I have some concern statehood is not ‘grand’ enough or ’eminent’ enough to ensure individual rights, that only  national laurels can secure individual magistry.  Republic concerns are abstract and conceptual but in so being seem to achieve some lofty status, while state concerns being more individual and of citizenry, seem to diminish into pragmatic.]
++++Encyclopedia Britannica© describes the state-national duality among the founding era’s anti-federalists this way:

[Anti-federalist] agitations led to the addition of a Bill of Rights. The first in the long line of states’-rights advocates, they feared the authority of a single national government, upper-class dominance, inadequate separation of powers, and loss of immediate control over local affairs. ³

++++It seems to me, the Bill of Rights, rather than forestalling authoritarian nationalism, LED to this feared nationalism.
++++The Constitution – an essentially interstate document – transmuted into an intrastate document due to the addition of the Bill of Rights. The various separate, independent states had by virtue of the Bill of Rights become a single state body – the national – rather than a several state body republic. Thus, the lack of states rights – made lacking by a national level Bill of Rights – lead to a more monolithic national concern rather than several, independent states organized into a republic.  Intrastate and interstate relations are NOT consubstantial relations.
++++Antebellum arguments failed to consider the intrastate effect the Bill of Rights imputed upon interstate relations.
++++Ethnocentric nationalism – which otherwise might have been limited to several ethnocentric states but not the ethnocentricity of an entire nation – resulted. Arguments could not be settled by virtue of separate, individual valuations, i.e. states, but only by more aggregated, absolutist valuations.
++++Ethnocentricity would, just as likely, have resulted had the Confederacy won rather than the Union. Ineluctable slavery would probably have proven the norm. Thus this, essentially, unrecognized obfuscating of state entities beget a nation rather than begetting a republic of states.
++++Today, abortion is being treated similar to slavery of the antebellum period, as national in scope rather than the responsibility of each state. This is so for the same reasons, a state or intrastate responsibility – bills of rights – is attached to the abstract, interstate relationships of a republic.
++++I’ll address some criticisms of this position:  Firstly, states-rights is not synonymous with slavery. Plenty of states – acting with sovereignty – proscribed slavery or, at least aspects, of slavery.
++++Secondly, I concede that within republican form of government one will, necessarily, find some states governance an anathema of which one will have no deliberative recourse. The obverse of this Hobson’s choice is authoritarianism of which ethnocentrism – seemingly characteristic of the U. S since the Civil War – seems harbinger. Separate, individual, sovereign states – states rights – seems a not inconsiderate defense against potential authoritarianism.
++++Thirdly, nothing socially constructed whether individual state or republic aggregation of states is so precisely prescribed as to be free of the fallibleness of individual ministrations. I don’t have an answer to such.
++++This argument may be impractical or otherwise useless, but it seems to me importantly logical. In the logic not being addressed, more practical arguments lose credibility.

++++The only Civil War reading – outside of school – I’ve read is David Potter’s The Impending Crisis, America Before the Civil War 1848-1861© (4).  [Despite the hackneyed and vapid expression, I highly recommend it.]  Although somewhat skewed favoring statehood over ‘Union’, it was this book which lead me to the opinion the Bill of Rights as a Republic document rather than State document is a misplacement.

¹ https://www.vox.com/2019/5/17/18628265/alabama-abortion-law-missouri-georgia-roe-v-wade

² The Impending Crisis, America Before the Civil War 1848-1861, by David M. Potter with Don E Fehrenbacher,  ©1976 Estate of David M. Potter, Harper Perennial reprint 2011, Harper Perennial, New York, N. Y.

³ https://www.britannica.com/topic/Anti-Federalists

4 The Impending Crisis, America Before the Civil War 1848-1861, by David M. Potter with Don E Fehrenbacher,  ©1976 Estate of David M. Potter, Harper Perennial reprint 2011, Harper Perennial, New York, N. Y.

Wary of Mankind’s ‘Truths’

But you can’t have it both ways. Either you endorse a position and critique others from there, or you commit fully to your epistemic skepticism. I have no problem with those who disrupt our historical narratives in order to supply better ones. But I find it frustrating when criticism and deconstruction become their own ends, as if human life—both individual and collective—can survive without shared frameworks of meaning and truth.


++++Mr. Watt’s recommending alternative solutions rather than bare criticisms ignores the martial foundation of established, orthodox solutions. Orthodoxies principles and protocols – ‘writ history’ if you will – not infrequently become dictates and fiats upholding martialism .
++++For example,

‘ . . . as if human life—both individual and collective—can survive without shared frameworks of meaning and truth.’

as principle seems fine. Yet, the inquisitors of the Spanish Inquisition shared similar meanings and – for the inquisitions adherents – similar truths. There are 100’s – probably 1,000’s – of other examples of collectives, each, equally inflictive. Both individuals and collectives adhere to meanings and truths and both can become harsh and inflictive.
++++Criticism, such as post-modernism, which eschews resolutions as truths also eschews resolutions’ ductile degradations into the harsh and inflictive.
++++Additionally, post-modern skepticism is not just disenchanted with others claims of truths but with truth per se.  To offer resolutions is to decree truths which is to proclaim absolutes all of which are anathemas to post-modernism.
++++I suppose I should admit a fondness for post-modernist literature which – as Mr. Watts mentions – is distinct from post-modern philosophy.

‘The Plains’, Gerald Murnane

++++Crickets chirped intermittently from the obscure lawns.  Once, a plover raised its faint, frantic cry in some far paddock. 1

++++Beautiful . . . really wonderful aesthetic of which I can commiserate.

++++But the immense silence of the plains was scarcely disturbed. 2

++++Wow! nature is majestic yet modest.

++++The road to the estate was an off-shoot from a deserted side road whose signposts were sometimes vague and contradictory. 3

++++Icing on the cake! Meta-fiction forewarning of the authors fallibleness.

++++My patron’s home, of course, was somewhere on the other side of the gate but not within view.  The driveway that lead to it did not even point the way. 4

++++Okay. Well maybe the driveway was missing an index finger.

++++As I drove from the road I told myself I was disappearing into some invisible private world whose entrance was at the loneliest point on the plains. 5

++++Okay . . . let’s see . . . driving, driving, driving . . . down the driveway.

++++Now what remains for me to do? I am so close to the end of my quest that I can scarcely recall how it began. 6

++++Wait a minute is this driveway a quest?
++++‘Uh, yep.’ says an inner voice.
++++‘No’, I exclaim.
++++‘Yep.  The narrative is a farce, an absurdity.’, continues the voice.
++++Unable to comprehend the satire I fall off my chair, knock myself unconscious, and – as if mimicking an episode of ‘The Twilight Zone’ – awake to find myself in Australia. Gerald Murnane stands 20 or 30 ft. from me carrying a copy of ‘The Plains’; A copy adorned with bells and whistles, colorful ribbons, and glitter.
++++‘Welcome to New Zealand’, he says.

++++Sorry, couldn’t resist.

++++The Plains© by Gerald Murnane 1 is the monologic narrative of a young – at least at one point young – filmmakers record of an adventure to film Australia in ‘startling ways’, which is to say artistic but also somewhat pretentious ways. The working title of the film is ‘The Interior’ which refers to non-coastal Australia colloquially known among Australians as the plains, hence the title. In addition to the persona, patronage is involved in order to finance the film, surreal absurdity, and probably most important, a philosophic relativism .
++++Besides the persona are two fictional historic groups each different of outlook. They are the horizonites and the hareman. Both groups are composed of wealthy plainsmen and their associates. As far as I can tell, the groups wealth and divergent apprehensions echoes medieval European heraldry. Both groups have large homesteads – often referred to in the novel as ‘the great houses’.  (Similar as England’s House of Stuart or Germany’s House of Hesse, etc.). Pennants and emblems are made by the families or the families hired artists. Each house also has a wealth of servants, libraries – yes, plural libraries – and they, as patrons, can afford to subsidize clients. These heraldic paradigms are less depicting of wealth and its dynamics than they are depicting of mindsets or outlooks. It is difficult to ascribe these alternative philosophies – as they become manifest – to a specific one of the two groups, yet the philosophies permeate the narrative. The appellate of horizonite or hareman is generally speaking not necessary. The necessary aspect is a recognition of the alternative philosophies not the ascribing of these philosophies to the correct group.
++++One of the two outlooks emphasizes a romantic or naturalistic sense less fettered to a past:

++++Members of the group were challenged ,of course, to explain themselves. They replied by talking of the blue-green haze as though it was itself a land – a plain of the future, perhaps, where One might live a life that existed only in potentiality on the plains where poets and painters could do no more than write or paint. 7

++++The other is an outlook of pragmatic, materialist concerns which are not necessarily secure and thus need attending. The attending seems to account with the past.

++++He saw the countless objects in his home as a few visible points on some invisible graph of stupendous complexity. If his impression was unusually powerful he peered at the repeated motifs in a tapestry as though to read the story of a certain succession of days or years long before his time . . . 8

++++His group utterly rejected the supposed appeal of misty distances. 9

++++Philosophical relativism – not intentfully mentioned within the book – suffuses these opposing philosophies.  Here is a defining of cognitive relativism:

(1) The truth-value of any statement is always relative to some particular standpoint;

(2) No standpoint is metaphysically privileged over all others. 10

++++Here are a couple of examples of this relativism:

++++[Of a polo match] Central Plains always wore a certain shade of yellow when they rode out against the men representing the Outer Plains. In the official program the outer plains uniform was described as sea-green but the sea was 500 miles away. 11

++++For our narrator the truth value of the ‘sea’ of sea – green is suspect. This suspicion, however, is relative. You or I would probably recognize this duality of playing polo on ‘the plains’ yet wearing ‘sea-green’ colors as a simple design characteristic  or coincidence or both. The narrator’s standpoint is important as to the statement’s truth value.
++++Another example is the ‘bar and stretcher scene’. 12
++++Our narrator is called to a meeting in a bar of a hotel.  Upon entering the bar the narrator’s ‘only shock’ came upon seeing, in a corner of the bar, a man laid out upon some canvas stretcher. The man was not ill or otherwise incapacitated.

++++The others sat erect on stools at the bar. 13

++++I can’t read this as humorously surreal without admitting a relevance apropos of the state of being passed out and drunk. One who might be passed out drunk might certainly be stretched out upon a bar floor. Here, though, we have a related position of a person stretched out upon a stretcher upon a bar floor, yet, the person so positioned is not in any way incapacitated.  Although it’s a funny scene a serious import arises by virtue of relativism.
++++A drunk passed out on a barroom floor being the referent is contrasted by the details of this coherent person stretched out supine, relaxing upon a stretcher. Without the relativism the scene might very well have not been imaginable. Also, stare decisis – a legal concept of precedential fact and present actions – seems applied to this socio-cultural situation. The precedent – if you will – of passed out drunk invokes the supine, resting stretcher as being a germane present relational to the precedent.
++++The driveway/quest quoted above, is another, though different example of this relativism. Here is the quote without my interference:

++++As I drove in from the road I told myself I was disappearing into some invisible private world whose entrance was at the loneliest point on the plains.
++++Now what remains for me to do? I am so close to the end of my quest that I can scarcely recall how it began. 14

++++The driveway and the quest are juxtaposed with one another. As for the narrator the juxtaposition seems to escape him, for the author the juxtaposition is essential, for the reader . . . well . . . the truth value will vary with the reader. None of these standpoints whether the narrator’s, the author’s, or any reader’s is ‘privileged over all others’.  Any one of these explanations – standpoints – of the trip, or any other explanation, is no more or less privileged than any other rationale.  Relativism.
++++I mentioned the concept of stare decisis. It is relevant in understanding an otherwise absurd condition. Take for example near the end of the novella. 15
++++Various families or community or groups – again an appellation is not really necessary and may detract from an inchoate quality – invites the narrator along as they take one of ‘elaborate day long expeditions of families to nameless sites in far corners of their lands.’  They travel in multiple vehicles, set out tents, drink – or are already drunk as they arrive – and generally do seemingly nothing. ( Okay, they chat, form groups of which to take photographs, maybe some other stuff, I don’t know; Murnane can be very comfortable with the inchoate narrative.) The seemingly purposeless folly hearkens to both relativism and a socio-cultural stare decisis.  We can’t be sure of the standpoint.
+++ They – either the horizonites or hareman – might be getting back to nature. But the drinking and photographing, not of nature but of group members and their activities, belies a supposed getting back to nature. Maybe the photographing is an artistic attempt despite it not being of nature or the plains.  Maybe, they preferred to do this field trip instead of  going to a bar.  Relativism.
++++As to socio-cultural stare decisis, I construe an apparent present day pragmatic relation with an ancestral pioneering. The trip recalls earlier pioneers unknown but likely dynamics of leaving outer Australia before settling the communities from which the present group left upon making this excursion. The present group enacts a dissimilar provisional compared with the original pioneers. The original provisional no doubt necessitated serious concerns of food and shelter, etc. – the provisional. The current group in their significantly less burdened state enacts a provisional of drinking to excess. As well, a pioneering interpersonal would have been more serious-minded, again because of being more burdened. The present day group does much of nothing but chat along with the drinking. An interpersonal which is necessarily common to both the pioneers of these plains and the excursion group is made similar but not exact – in keeping with socio-cultural stare decisis of similar to precedent.
++++Thus, today’s descendants of these pioneers – whether biologic descendants or communal descendants – proceed similarly though differently. Both groups irrupt onto the plains in slightly different ways; Nature is kind of disregarded. The socio-cultural, generational concern adhering of the importance of man-made constructions and an attendant continuity is  analogous with stare decisis.  This group trip in all its presentness, preserves an inter-generational group relation.
++++Nonetheless, this particular mindset is only one of two. A concern for nature and the individual – as the narrator seems to have – is the other philosophy, even if it is not part of this particular excursion.
++++So, a seemingly purposeless folly of this excursion seems purposeless only related to the standpoint.
++++The narrator is both genuflectively profound:

++++One of the chief attractions of these remarkable conjectures is that no one is able to use them to alter his understanding of his own life. 16

and possessed of a self-deceiving folly:

++++II am preparing a work of art to show what I and no other could have seen. 17

++++The Plains© was first published in 1982. The viewpoint can seem overwhelmingly occidental and male in this era of contemporary cultural studies.
++++A lot of novels can seem amorphous, unsynthesized. They seem to mistake vagueness for eclecticism or open-mindedness.  Although The Plains© may be synthesized difficultly – that is requiring multiple readings – its focused, novella form seems receptive to a singularness of which other works are not so welcome. Even still, it seems wonderfully multifaceted.
++++I really enjoyed The Plains©.  It is an arcane, post-modernist waltz. It seems more like a  scintillate diamond than a paper and ink production.

++++I too have admired the tortuous arguments and detailed elaborations, the pointing -up of tenuous links and faint reverberations, and the final triumphant demonstrations that  something of a motif has persisted through an immense body of digressive and even imprecise prose. 18

1 The Plains, Gerald Murnane, ©2003, New Issues Poetry and Prose, Kalamazoo, MI., USA in association with Text Publishing Co., Melbourne, Australia, pg. 62
2 Ibid, pg. 62
3 Ibid
4 Ibid
5 Ibid
6 Ibid
7 Ibid, pg. 27
8 Ibid pg. 23
9 Ibid, pg. 29
10 https://www.iep.utm.edu/cog-rel/
11. The Plains, Gerald Murnane, ©2003, New Issues Poetry and Prose, Kalamazoo, MI., USA in association with Text Publishing Co., Melbourne , Australia, pg. 31
12 Ibid, pg.43- 44
13 Ibid pg. 44
14 Ibid, pg. 62
15 Ibid, pg. 98- 105
16 Ibid, pg. 74
17 Ibid, pg. 74
18 Ibid, pg. 73

Other Consulted Material



‘How Immoral are Laissez Faire Ideologues? Ask about Drones.’


++++I believe President Trump is fundamentally a laissez-faire capitalist.  The dakota pipeline, the keystone pipeline, deregulation – in particular, environmental deregulation – large tax cuts for corp.s, etc. evidence such characterization.
++++As far as I can tell, laissez-faire economics is fraudulent as social; Laissez-faire capitalism co-opts an aura of social. Individual economic felicity is the essence of laissez-faire economics. Keynes ‘animal spirits’ is the force behind laissez-faire economics.  Contractual labor dynamics – which I see as  an outcome of laissez-faire economics, a residue not a subpart of economics – doesn’t require the same individual economic felicity, the same ‘animal spirits’.  Labor dynamics are, generally, contractual and expedient.