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why should we read a tale told by an idiot? part i

June 30, 2010

In preparation for a rereading and defense of The Sound and the Fury, 3 theses inspired by my recent reading of the critic Yvor Winters:

Thesis 1: With regards to responsible and consummate art, an understanding of the techniques that the artist employs does not detract but contribute to the appreciation of his work.

Thesis 2: The technique known as “stream-of-consciousness” is only superficially an imitation of impressions and thoughts as they might be supposed to pass through the mind of a character. Just as with more “traditional” narrative techniques, an accomplished author employs stream-of-consciousness as a form for the exposition and judgment of the themes, materials, situations and actions that converge in the formed experience which his work of art embodies.

Thesis 3: Nevertheless, the very advantages in the portrayal of plot and character, the inherent nuances and precisions in selection and judgment of which this form (stream-of-consciousness) is capable have something to do with its peculiar “closeness” and attention to the margin of experience in which the unformed, the automatic, the accidental and (in the broadest sense) the material impinge upon form and yet may admit (at least to some extent, and some of the time) of moral and intellectual transformation.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Sebastian permalink
    July 1, 2010 7:21 pm

    Clever title.

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