[ilds] my time mainly

Charles Sligh Charles-Sligh at utc.edu
Thu Jun 3 17:55:51 PDT 2010

Godshalk, William (godshawl) wrote:
> "Yes. Of course. The /Quartet/ occurs in the reader's time more than any
> other 'time.'" writes Charles.
> My dear Charles, what do you mean? Do you mean that the Q exists only when read? Or does it occur mainly, mostly, when being read?
> Of course, I'm taking this out of context, but I think the sentence alone is intriguing.
My dear Bill:

Glad to intrigue with you any old time. . . .

As a bibliographical artifact the /Quartet/ exists in a way we can and 
do document.   Cloth, ink, paper, stitching, glue. . . .

But yes no story and no poetry and no meaning occur until the moment 
when I open up the book and start reading, Bill opens up the book and 
starts reading, &c.  And you and I make meaning out of the words in our 
time reading.  Darley does not say anything or become anything without 
us there to move him along.  And our re-readings are above all our 
autobiography, the record of our own development as characters.

When the great thing that has been so long coming occurs and there are 
no more humans left on earth, the /Quartet/ will then no longer exist as 
a work of literature.   The book's molecules, however, will persist 
quite contentedly--to paraphrase Tennyson's quip to the materialist 
George Eliot. . . .


Charles L. Sligh
Assistant Professor
Department of English
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
charles-sligh at utc.edu

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