Monthly Archives: August 2006


As I finally read the title story in Wallace’s recent collection last night, I noticed a reference to Kurt Eichenwald’s Serpent on the Rock that I couldn’t quite place. I thought of an experimental or symbolist Austrian writer, perhaps, one whom the precious narrator might choose for his livre de chevet. The actual book was, of course, even more suitable; but these hyperintellectualized interior portraits (think of the last brief interview with a hideous man, the law student) seem comments only on the impossibility of narrative projection or empathy. I am reminded of the voluntary autistics from Greg Egan’s Distress.


Googled a bit to see what others had said, cringing in anticipation of what I may find after writing something both brief and unrevealing above, I see, from a small sample (one not including Stephen Burn’s perceptive piece), that it must be horrifying indeed to write, publish, and be met with so little understanding. But see above.

The Burial Ground

I’ve just skimmed over The Shining, and it seems to be the case that the haunted Indian burial ground origin was added by the film, and later borrowed, farcically, in Poltergeist.

The transformation of topiary (but see Zork II) into labyrinth, ostensibly a matter of economy, is hard to avoid; but I was interested in, while reviewing the novel, the ultimate stupidity of the haunting contrasted to the hints of menace in Shockley’s reaction to Jack’s research plans, which seem to go beyond any self-interest.

Did you know that the common pinfish was once irradiated for science? You can read it about it in “Effects of Acute Gamma Irradiation on the Blood Constituents of Pinfish, Lagodon rhomboides,” by David W. Engel; Joseph W. Angelovic; Edna M. Davis in Chesapeake Science 7.2 (1966): 90-94. JSTOR. Under the partial auspices of the U. S. Atomic Energy Commission, I suppose the idea here was to contemplate the extent of marine ecological catastrophe in a post-nuclear apocalypse.

Remark from Tate

“Economy is the secular image of religious conviction” (“Remarks on the Southern Religion”).

Is the imagined economy more interesting quantitatively or qualititatively? Tate intends the latter, I suspect, and invokes the ritualized violence of politics needed to return the contemplative life.

I am curious to learn if Tate had read Wyndham Lewis at all.

A Trajectory

Heraclitus through Theodorus Prodromus through Carlyle through Galton through, forgive me, Frank Herbert.

Human plenipotential. I know what Bertrand Russell thought of this, but did his actions bear it out?