Re: An uneducated look at Dhalgren
<kmisho64 <at> aol.com>
2002-06-01 18:51:41 GMT
In a message dated 5/28/02 8:22:30 AM Eastern Daylight Time, Johnwlsh6 <at> aol.com writes:
1.)What was your initial reaction to the book as compared to your
subsequent appreciation of it?
2.)Do you have this same trouble with the last sections of the book,
and if not, what "happens" in your opinion, in the last part of the
I ask the second question because it seems there's some kind of
cataclysm happening, but I'm not sure, because I think I've only
skimmed the last pages in the last couple of readings I've done.
Also, anyone know of any art or music inspired by Dhalgren?
Everyone's first reading of Dhalgren must be a rather unique experience. I think it depends on what you want, like, expect at the time. I thought up until page 52 (of the old paperback edition) that there was no way I would remain interested enough to read this book. The opening seemed odd but not particularly amazing. And who could care about the details of walking down the street and across abridge into a city?
On page 52 is introduced the notebook that is very like Dhalrgen itself. At this point I was sold, always having been fascinated by logical conundrums. And when, before long, Kidd ended up messing around the Richards, the book had gained enough interesting plot to keep me interested. I consider Mrs Richards to have been the most insane person in the entire book, even though she is outwardly the most middle-class normal. Anyway, I read about 100 pages per day after that and finished Dhalgren in a week.
I won't say much about subsequent readings other than that I did not feel like I had actually read the book until I finished it the 3rd time.
A friend of mine had it even worse. He read the first 100 pages of Dhalgren in one day and became totally adicted to the books interior universe. I think he read the entirety in 3 days.
I quite enjoy the anathemata and have no problem with it. The most interesting thing about it is that it is not a jigsaw puzzle. All the pieces do not fit together in the end. Though clearly you can link the end of some parts to the beginning of others, I think it's best to read each section for whatever it contains. In a way, Delany had been preparing the reader for just such a new way of reading throughout the book, mainly with the time-skips that happen here and there. And as individual scenes, the anathemata has some of the most interesting and provocative in the entire book. It's just too bad they can't be firmly fitted into the longer narrative, but this was obviously intentional.
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