[ilds] Sophie Atkinson

James Gifford odos.fanourios at gmail.com
Fri Mar 7 21:45:59 PST 2008


I had a lovely moment with a theory-oriented colleague who'd assumed 
that textual scholars want to find the ur-text, as if we were still 
doing some kind of biblical hermeneutics where the first word displaced 
the rest.  The look on his face when I said I wanted as many texts as 
possible, every single one, was priceless -- it was almost as if he 
realized "we'd" always been doing what he'd always been looking for.

Authenticity is a hoax, a fetish, but that doesn't give me any reason to 
be lax in looking for each text available to me, with or without an 
author (another fetish or just another text?).

That same colleague is a Kundera fan, and in a rather provocative way, I 
noted that Kundera sets up a mass grave in which to bury the 
counter-revolutionary variants of each of his texts (Kundera's famous 
hatred of the archive).  As a reader and scholar, I want each item, 
before and after he changed his mind -- the authoritative version is as 
much a fetish as is the authentic.  I want all of 'em, and hang the 
author if he says I can't have 'em.  I like Durrell because he fed on 
that plurality -- he encouraged it.

And what did Durrell think of Kant?  I can guess...


william godshalk wrote:
> *The thing itself.
> *Why would you think that the first published edition is the ding an 
> sich? Just think of what stands between the writer and the first edition.
> You don't need me to tell you.
> Bill
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