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3 hours ago, Wilfrid said:

that text isn't doing anything any more than an unplayed musical score is doing anything.

From the piano lessons of my long ago youth, I can still read music, albeit very slowly. Wouldn't someone much better at it than me be able to "hear" a score by looking at it?

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I meant to make a laudatory post last week to the effect that, where other than The New Yorker might you find a smart, funny, informative article on a literary figure as obscure as Alfred Lord Dunsany

I took that test when we applied to adopt! Picture was from the 30's: any idiot could tell that you were supposed to translate the stallion and the shirtless man in the picture into something sexual.

Mitchell is right on this precise point, though: as a classical music fan, I find its use in classical venues to be an outrage.

9 hours ago, small h said:

From the piano lessons of my long ago youth, I can still read music, albeit very slowly. Wouldn't someone much better at it than me be able to "hear" a score by looking at it?

or taste a dish by reading the recipe?

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I can read simple scores, and imagine the music; I assume someone more competent than me could do it much better.

Can we imagine the taste of a dish by reading a recipe a description? I think so, although I admit my first reaction is that it's less vivid than imagining music -- maybe that's just me.

In both cases, of course, we can have the imaginative experience without the aid of a score or text. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

The piece on Martin Amis's new "autofiction" reminded me that he hasn't been interesting as a novelist -- I want to say since The Information, which was way back in 1995. Then I realized I could remember nothing about The Information. I've read two of the subsequent novels, but don't feel compelled to read more.

He started young, of course, but are there any other novelists of reasonably high achievement who have done all their best work by the age of 44 or 45? Without the excuses of early death or disabling addictions, of course.

 

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Heller, maybe, but there was just the one big novel before he turned fifty.

See with Salinger, he just stopped publishing fiction. Genet stopped publishing novels, and turned to the theater. I am looking for a novelist who kept right on publishing novels, but with a sharp decline in quality.

Kingsley Amis, ironically, actually started publishing godawful rubbish about his mid-forties, but he came back much later with his best work (and he wasn’t a major novelist to start out with).

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an old friend is related to the younger amis's wife and I'm pretty sure amis falls into the addiction category.

melville?

brett easton ellis? (minor, of course)

jay mcinerney? (I guess the new one is supposed to be good?)

 

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I suppose we can't yet know whether Amis has an Old Devils or Billy Budd up his sleeve. Ellis just sort of dried up, hasn't published a novel in 10 years. I don't know anything about McInerney's recent work.

 

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