Read Textermination by Christine Brooke-Rose Online


In her latest novel, Textermination, the eminent British novelist/critic Christine Brooke-Rose pulls a wide array of characters out of the great works of literature and drops them into the middle of the San Francisco Hilton. Emma Bovary, Emma Woodhouse, Captain Ahab, Odysseus, Huck Finn... all are gathered for the Annual Convention of Prayer for Being, to meet, to discuss,In her latest novel, Textermination, the eminent British novelist/critic Christine Brooke-Rose pulls a wide array of characters out of the great works of literature and drops them into the middle of the San Francisco Hilton. Emma Bovary, Emma Woodhouse, Captain Ahab, Odysseus, Huck Finn... all are gathered for the Annual Convention of Prayer for Being, to meet, to discuss, to pray for their continued existence in the mind of the modern reader. But what begins as a grand enterprise erupts into total pandemonium: with characters from different times, places, and genres all battling for respect and asserting their own hard-won fame and reputations. Dealing with such topical literary issues as deconstruction, multiculturalism, and the Salman Rushdie affair, this wild and humorous satire pokes fun at the academy and ultimately brings into question the value of determining a literary canon at all....

Title : Textermination
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781857542943
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 184 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Textermination Reviews

  • Fionnuala
    2019-07-19 06:27

    Just as Magritte’s pipe looks like the perfect pipe, Textermination reads like the perfect novel. It has a cast of famous characters, a series of interesting narrators, recognisable locations, a certain amount of humour and a plot of sorts. But nevertheless, it is not a novel. It is rather the very clever image of a novel inside of which lies a thought provoking essay on literary theory, and more specifically on readers and the texts they read and how the two interrelate. In my reading of this novel essay, Christine Brooke-Rose argues that novels, and the characters within them, exist because readers read them. Readers have responsibilities. If readers stop reading, characters stop existing. While she gives great power to the reader, she also knew very well that the power lies first with the publishers and the critics; she briefly mentions changes in relevance, how works fall off the tip of the overly conservative ‘canon’ because of ‘cultural modifications’ and perhaps she has personal experience of such relevance and lack of relevance. However, in Textermination, her main focus lies with the reader, the reader holds all the power, the reader is God. In order to prove her point, she builds a complex allegorical framework, which I will call a bible because that word belongs in my particular store of useful words and it embodies an easily communicated idea without me having to be overly precise, and because I’m lazy and can’t think of a better word. Some sections of this bible have an old testament-like feel to them, aged men with long beards in worn robes or animal skins, sometimes hobbling along on one leg or borne on litters, march through the narrative forecasting doom. Other sections have a more New Testament feel, as in the Good News for all Good Readers: your kingdom has come, you chosen people because there are millions of characters for you to interact with, and not only can you meet them in one incarnation but you may also come across the same character in an entirely different manifestation or at another point in their lives, or in a different language and from a different cultural perspective.It is as if Christine Brooke-Rose is speaking directly to us goodreaders here, saying take heed of today’s lesson and carpe diem. For, like John the Revelator, she can also see the coming of an apocalypse, an end time scenario when all characters will be dead and all books will be destroyed. This very clever book was written in 1992 but I think the author could see e-readers in her dreams. This essay is also useful to help interpret the celebrated work which appeared on goodreads earlier this year, The Queue for the Bus or : A Whale of a Tail

  • Lynne King
    2019-06-30 05:08

    FINAL ATTEMPT AT A REVIEWOnly God interprets. We exist only because God thinks of us. If God would, no, should efface Himself for one brief moment, the whole Universe, its past and all its futures would be effaced too.Do not take the above literally, as has been rightly pointed out by an excellent Goodreads' reviewer. This statement is not what it appears to be. It is one of the wonderful thoughts of Christine Brooke-Rose. I do not want to give readers the wrong impression here!That opening sentence is purely one of many that are studded throughout this remarkable book. As a result, I want to shout it from the tops of mountains, down to the deepest part of the oceans and into the core of our wondrous planet, to everyone who is living and who loves to read and my message is: READ THIS BOOK I do believe that this is a chance in a lifetime book that has to be read. I encourage and challenge you to do this as it certainly is not a work for the faint-hearted. It is a true gift from the gods.I’ve read some splendid books this year, thanks to Goodreads, but trying to think of the book that has had the deepest effect on me (and there are several close seconds for their genres), well it has to be Textermination by Christine Brooke-Rose (CBR), who apart from being an experimental/meta fiction novelist was also a theorist and critic. In parallel I loved her “Amalgamemnon”, however, it was so completely different. I can only compare it to asking a father which child he loves the most and, of course, he would find that difficult to openly admit to even if he could.This is such an exquisite tour de force and CBR is imperceptibly drawing closer to my all-time favorite author, Lawrence Durrell (LD), which I never ever thought would happen to me. This oddly brings Carroll’s words to mind: Will you walk a little faster?’ said a whiting to a snail,There’s a porpoise close behind us, and he’s treading on my tailAnd as for CBR yes, she’s indeed coming up at the rear and she is very, very lightly treading on LD’s tail and,will she, won’t she, will she, won’t she, will she join the dance? Well I’ll have to see but I have to confess that it’s becoming interesting.*Whatever one says about CBR’s writing style, she adds richness and splendor to prose that I rarely encounter nowadays. I do, of course, exclude our wonderful classics that will always remain in our minds, once they are read and many times reread – and yet ironically that is another reason to read this book.I cannot believe that anyone else could possibly have come up with this unique concept of writing about charactersout of great works of literature. They convene at the San Francisco Hilton to seminar and pray – pray for their continued survival in readers’ minds and What begins as an orderly exercise devolves into spectacular pandemonium as characters from various cultures, times and genres are swept into the political and academic conflicts of our day. The reviewer of the above-mentioned quote could not have put it better. I loved the spectacular pandemonium. I think we all need this piquancy at some time, if not many times, in our lives as it keeps us on our toes and ensures we don’t slip into complacency.This is a novel, well within many novels I guess, is the only way to describe it, as has already been mentioned by other individuals. Imagine when you go to a convention and you look for your friends/business colleagues but then you stumble across some unexpected and rather odd individuals on the way, and you have all of this in a nutshell, with groups sticking together for whatever reason, be it from the Greek times, through European and the Middle Eastern history through to actors from famous films. Whenever someone sprang to life (be it authors such as Shakespeare and fictional characters such as Jude Fawley, Sheherazade, Emma Bovary, Emma Woodhouse (these two are often getting mixed up with different characters), Cassandra, Mira Enketei (who is trying to determine whether she is fact or fiction), etc. and the list is endless, I beamed in anticipation. This all added to the reading enjoyment.The biggest surprise was the arrival of Lieutenant Columbo (known as everyone's favorite rumpled television detective), and there’s a spectacular section where some of the delegates at the convention start fighting, the San Francisco police intervene with tear gas and there is pandemonium and much shouting and roaring from everyone.This is also a book of contradictions and it is multi-faceted, be it from a philosophical, and laid back viewpoint with its reflective periods; then we have the boomerang effect with plenty of action; and then the return to reflection and sensitivity. I compared parts of it to the film The Mask with Jim Carrey, who plays Stanley Ipkiss and whenever he places this special mask on his face can transform himself into a green-faced, bizarre trickster known as The Mask, who is able to cartoonishly alter himself and his surroundings at will. I was intrigued but puzzled when I read the final paragraph in the book and, as I closed it, it dawned on me where I had seen it before. How ingenious on the part of the author.All in all, this book, as you can no doubt see, thrilled me no end, but did I get a chance to really delve into CBR’s mind? No, I don’t believe I did, but I did briefly slide across the tip of the iceberg, and quickly peeked inside, and I tried so hard to dive in deeper but no, she continues to remain unfathomable to me. Nevertheless, get out the showmen, music and whatever draws a crowd and shout bravo innumerable times. Curtain call, curtain call…What else can I say before I go into full flight about this remarkable book?* * * * * * * * * *I have finished this magnificent book; in fact the best book I have read in 2013, perhaps the second best in my life after Lawrence Durrell. What a way to end the "literary" year. Sighs of pleasure.I'm attempting to write a review of this highly remarkable book by a modernist, a twentieth century woman who had it all. Will I succeed? I very much doubt it. We have a "pun-anneer" here...Admiration galore....Read, read, read this incredible book or lose something remarkable that your soul and alter ego need. Replenish all your vital parts, body and soul.What is the word for this work? All I can think of is sublime... Mmm Mmm Mmm. My taste buds need more.And my heartfelt thanks go to Scrib for introducing me to this incredible individual.

  • Brian
    2019-06-30 07:08

    If you are reading this right now I'm not shattering your world to tell you that somewhere between 50-100 years from now your story, like mine, will most likely fade to oblivion. If you have children, grand children, great-grand children, the memories and stories about you and me will ultimately become things of family mythology - if they exist at all. But at some point, very soon, we will cease to exist all together.What of the characters of fiction? Beloved Dickensian rapscallions, Melville harpooners and Victorian heroines? What is the half-life of Emma Bovary? Won't there come a day, like us humans made of weaker tinder, that they too will fade away? Here's what the Booker winning, incomparable Julian Barnes has to say about his collision with that destiny:And at some point—it must logically happen—a writer will have a last reader. I am not asking for sympathy; this aspect of a writer’s living and dying is a given. At some point between now and the six-billion-years-away death of the planet, every writer will have his or her last reader... And for each of us there will come the breaking of the single remaining thread of this strange, unwitnessed, yet deeply intimate relationship between writer and reader. At some point, there will be a last reader for me too... My last reader: there is a temptation to be sentimental over him or her... But then logic kicked in: your last reader is, by definition, someone who doesn’t recommend your books to anyone else. You bastard! Not good enough, eh?Brooke-Rose takes this premise (the self awareness of the literary character's ultimate demise - and by extension their author - by lack of readership) and creates a new sub-genre of existentialism. Forget about the noise-less/full tree falling in the woods, does Ahab hunt a whale if we don't read? Is Humbert Humbert a pedophile? If all these characters are thrown together in the San Francisco Hilton for an annual conference to discuss their state of being, what could benefit them? This is a novel novel, a wholly original idea that reminds us not only of our mortality - but also of the mortality of those literary characters we love. And if you read and love this novel - which you should, gentle reader - then you absolutely must read Scribble Orca's genius epilogue to this book that would make CB-R proud.

  • Rowena
    2019-06-20 11:29

    “It is said that books have no life. But who has ever proved the insensibility of the inorganic world? Who knows if a book doesn’t also aspire, in a strange way we cannot apprehend, to the company of other books in the society of which it has lived for a long time? We call them dead matter. But what is dead has lived. Books are more important than animals, more important than human beings.” - Christine Brooke-Rose, TexterminationThis is a fantastic book once you know what’s going on. I would best describe it as literary criticism dressed up as fiction. Fictional characters from both literature and film interact in present-day California at a conference where the book characters meet to pray for their continued existence in the reader’s mind. There are real life journalists sent to cover the event but, obviously to us, they are also fictional. It’s quite an adventurous undertaking but one carried out very well.We know these characters, at least some of them, we know their stories but we see them in an unfamiliar setting. Questions arise as we see characters from different books and eras interacting with each other:“Who talks to who? And all the dropouts of today, can they meet any but each other, Holden Caulfield and Lazarillo and Lucky Jim?” It’s satire and it does have several truly funny exchanges. Beneath the satire lies the true fear of classics eventually sitting unread; how many forgotten books are out there?“But what is survival? Derrida or someone said survival is a quality that starts at the beginning of life, sounds damn deterministic, a character or an author has it long before he actually dies and survives. So why are there so many false reputations, great names, great books hailed as modern classics that sink into oblivion after a generation, a decade even? And those ignored that are then later discovered to have had that survival quality? Perhaps they had it all the time, merely, it wasn’t felt.”A lot of literary characters and events are mentioned in the book, and there are so many I didn’t recognize so I think this just reiterates Brooke-Rose’s point that characters are dead because we aren’t reading them. I get the impression that the more of the classics one has read, the more enjoyable the read will be as it will be easier to get the references.This wasn’t a quick read but it was a wonderful reading experience. It’s thought-provoking. It’s a fun read. Questions asked that I never would have considered. The state of a fictional character: are they alive only in a reader’s mind? Is the reader God, and does the character need them to stay alive?I appreciated the philosophical discussions in particular the one about deconstructivism, and also the criticism about the literary canon (little ethnic diversity, too few female authors, see the #weneeddiversebook hashtag on Twitter). This book will encourage you to read more widely and that’s definitely a good thing.The only way to save the text and therefore the characters is by reading it. I’m encouraged to revive some of the old classics from my shelves, maybe the characters will thank me.One minor criticism: I wasn’t a fan of the large sections of untranslated German, Spanish etc. Still, I am giving the book full marks for creativity, great writing, for making me think, and for managing to include my favourite televison detective, Columbo!

  • MJ Nicholls
    2019-06-21 12:16

    This blissful, richly comic, almost unbearably clever and original novel establishes Christine Brooke-Rose in my mind as the most overlooked and indispensable postmodernist superbrain of the last six decades. A bookworm’s wet dream, pasticheur’s paradise, and candidate for the definitive ur-text of the BURIED Book Club, Textermination collects all fictional characters inked on parchment together at a Conference where they debate their longevity as characters in the age of readerly indifference—a mad intertextual mêlée swiftly gatecrashed by imposters from film, television and Rival Media. Writing from the cosy interiors of her Parisian home, you might expect the work of an elderly academic with weighty titles on rhetoric and metaphor and Ezra Pound and to produce a densely dreary slip of frothy frottage. Instead, Brooke-Rose is an entertainer who believes in the READER, and rewards the book-munching unhosed and elite Leavisites with an abundance of playful references, namechecks, puns, devious wordplays, hilarious dialogue parodies, complex authorship puzzles, and commonplace fun and charm. One of the few titles by CB-R still tentatively available, every meta-sympathetic reader on This Fine Site should place themselves in the vicinity of this divine treat lickety-split.

  • Scribble Orca
    2019-07-14 06:05

    are standing in front of the bass top, around its sides, and leaning against the wall behind it, a muttley crewe of pee and pull. Summer clumped conversationally to tether, laffing nervously, Zigarettenasche flying from al momento awkward arm movimenti, vile others stare moodily, at the ground, at the skype, anywhere but each other. A few tap their ped impatiens, cheek their horologues, phlip open their pfones and thumpb txt massages or PhasePage (NASDAQ 23.83 -0.05%) givz and oucHTee ML (not the Rhomanz, oh no, but if so 1zero5zero if you please). One eyepads, one printbooks, one even re-sells a goodnews, though truth to tell, there’s not macho that in these days of marinechant takeovers and arcandemic espionage and Hindus trial navel-gazing and corpus rates arrest.Toot tootToot tootNeh, says one, shaking his head, nix bus. It’s him, one of the Up-the Arschelones. Computational freak. Moore likes than millipeeds hat legs. Pfifing about his neuest Strategie for ches–Toot tootNaf itchy dot, says another, breath smelling of whizkid socked hag. Is the bus. Hurry up. Check the blonde there, the quoit one? Try and grab a–You still renning after Lydia? Hole a life! She’s not comin–Plug yer Kraut trap, yer philistopher, or I'll bury yer in that club. The Keyra Knightly loox-licke. Foll–Toot tootA pair of beautiful and brightly fired lips mouth the words, watch where you’re going with the damn bike, ya cinque!Very PinC of you, says the lips’ hersuite compunion. You’re tehribbly brave. Someone might flag you.I’ve been fragged more times than you’ve had sticks poked at you, Hoop. Where’s the damn bus?Toot tootToot tootDriver, stop here! This is the collection point, says a gorgeous garish imp in long swirling silk, clutching the arm of the traubadour stepping from the tuktuk as well. Spunk, is that Steve?Steve? Spunk looks where directed. Rubicon crossing a skandal? Witchy switch?Either ora neither, the imp shrugs, striding towards a group, and the traubadour follows, mumbling, y yo soy Steve, también. ¿Cómo es que yo soy Spunk?Steve!Hi, Steve!Steve, good to see you!Are you Steve?Aren’t you Steve?Whose Steve?Mark my words, Steve’s more güey than Amman can handle.Mark!mark?That Mark?What mark?Marque? Pire Langoust, natur.Maque? Aber, quel con ce type!Mac, aww, sweet! Love the new bird.Mac, ow! Mai toh, obrigado.Toot tootToot tootA 4WDSUV pulls up in a cloud of dust and the group of Travellers cough and splutter, peering through puffs of silt. A Bengal Priestess and a large, colour-haired, colour-skinned man? No, mad woman. Nomad, man...well, gonads aren’t important...woman has both sohgho with that, climb out of the car. Smiles of recognition, although confusion as to which Bandgirl it is; everyone seems to have their own idea of who, exactly, and no idea seems to coincide exactly, leaving those in the Noh and those nosing out of the gnou knowing neither one from the udders. A noisy interruption as the bus finally arrives and they pile inside. A tall figure, jaundiced, skeletal in form and well-spoken, accompanies a none to a middle seat, seeming to be apostolic. In front sits a purring white-furred cat, and opposite lounges a Lynx with silver whiskers. All turn at the sound of a name; no-one seems to be approaching and Nowyn is friendly, talking to Alland Sundry, and Efferiwon Injenneral, saying everything and hearing nothing.With much ado about something, due sprigandosi hotcakes, trim and pre-served, special tickets, nudge nudge wink wink, say no moar, spring into the bus smiling winsomely at the driver, a dour Typ, featureless, like an Unidentified Avia Thar, initialed DJI.It’s the Muse, hails a voice from the back. And that Irish gal, says another. We’ve just Woken Furies, they explain, skipping down the green Isle and smelling of clover. Hot on their heels is Bruise Nail, a heavy hitting recluse who is joined by the Nick of time, the Nick of Cheer, the Nick of Las, and the Nickin Gear. People applaud the latecomers, still a few stragglers, a phoenix engineer carrying quills, two brilled professors, the latter a Rabbi and the former in search of something lost. More smiles and greetings. A few Greek statues eye their Roman counterinsurgents but Gotts Peace prevails, twice; someone looking like Medusa with difficulty contacting eyes, a couple of forgotten portraits of famous persons, and a bunch of twitterers spectaculating on local issues of not-global importance. Anal & Isis, never seen separated, bored. Someone calls out, Where’s the Top Dog? Everyone looks at everyone else, murmurs, like drinks, all round.Didn’t make it stick––On the way to––recensing––never stops. Impossible to keep up––like it’s hard––going on ars–Laddies and gentleladies, may I have your attention? Ihr piece and microbe arranged appropriately around her head, a blonde woman at the front of the bus smiles at the thong. Her face is intelligent, naturally, she is slender and neatly dressed, also naturally, and a small name badge pinned at her shoulder bears the words Mira Enketei. I am your Interpolator, she names herself, and I will be your guide during your attendance at the Annual Convention on Entreaty for Corporeality. You may notice that some of you are faded around the edges, worse for wear, some of you are practically insievable, others of you are solidly everdense. Undoubtedly, some of you have no doubts as to your reviewability while others are shaking in shoes and contemplating extinction (colour plates in a remembrance volume can be purchased later). Frier not. Any questions you have I will endearme to you to answer. If you are unable to avail yourself of me, my assistant Squirrel hair, she points to a bushy hered character grimacing beside her, will be more than happy to whelp out. Any questions before we foot to the airthought?The crowd is silent, appraising her. The first few minutes are always crittercal. The point of introduction, the establishment of credibility, the willingness to be lead, not sinking. She resists the temptation to razor her eyebrows, tsk exasperatedly, and convey an impression of facepalm pique, instead turning to the bus chew-fur. Driver Jü, let’s go. She grips one of the bus’ steadyon bars as she turns back to the group and continues to smile. In antemancipation.Is there a schedule? says one.Where’s the lecture on how to get liked? A colonel commotion at this, from those who know and want no others knowing, to those who know nothing and want to know, amongst those disdaining such obvious man-oeuvres, although secretly wish it was all that easy. A leader without followers is a shepherd without sheep. Although sheep prefer food to pointification.Can I change my program if I don’t like it?Where’s the lecture on the Art of Commenting so as to Attract Applouse?I want to attend Like Management, when to give and how to avoid being seen indiscriminate – is that included this year?I’ve got too many friends, LOL, I can’t keep up with them. I need a hands-on weeding session about this :DWill there be a Library - I’d like to catch up on reading. I'm poor.I am a Dispenser of Soporification. How can I garner acolytes at my altar?I’m dumb at talking books. No-one gets it. I never get likes or anything! I’m mortal danger. Are there special clinics? I’ve got money, I can–One at a time please. She adjusts her hair. She’s heard it all before; each year, they line up, same old bag of tricks to trot out in the hope of plate-forming. But this year it’s all been shaken up. The great invasion. The great deflation. The great car-shout and all’s well that end swell. As of now. She beams at them, lifting one hand in bene fies. They are more dear to her than they can possibly prêtend. Squirrel will distribute your programs, your personal coaching schedules, all primed to your individual requirements. Your hothells have been booked, you’ll find details in the age pack. She looks at her watch. We’re only a few minutes from the airthought. Customs clearance and passport control have been forearmed so body examination should be handled smoothly. Thank you for your attention.She turns and sits down beside Squirrel. So far, so good, so near, but she could do with some food.***Once on the Errorpain, Mira Enketei conduces a rooster cawl and Squirrel distributes proscribed packages.Arson Ants? Uprising arm faster than a fire-cracker and Squirrel delivers.Alternating Current? A hand languidly lifts and the bundle is passed along from the I’ll. You’re scheduled guest Filospeaker, Mira flashes a grin. They're both Fellows but Alternating Current keeps a low profilo.Barons & Nobels? All over the Errorpain, nods and insistent that’s mies. Squirrel darts back and forth until the pissprize-holders and tight heels are quietened.Braid? A package like the Monster Book for Sci-Fi/Fantasy buffs is tossed like a hot potato.Cray Field? Squirrel scuttles forward, saying, das ist fire Dich. Viel Spassimodo.Giovanotto? Squirrel squints at a face at the back of the Errorpain. Eh beh. Albanesi, no? Ponsay. Vedi se c’e qualcosa di bonne nuit in denti. Squirrel smirks and lurches back to Mira.Hawaii? A stunning-looking brune jeune receives a file, slants eyes sideways and smiles knowingly at Squirrel.Jonathan? A Forrest of hands shoot into the air. Seconds later the owners of the appropriated information are satisfied.King’s Inn? A hand is timidly raised, head ducked, apology for any trouble caused. Mais too penses troppo, says Squirrel. By now it’s clear that Mira’s side kick is, if not a candidate for a lunabin, missing many marbles. Someone mutters about Salvatore. Somebody laughs and says Echo.Narcissus? Squirrel holds up a gilded mirror, over which a brief scuffle occurs. The list continues. Mira pauses while refreshments are served, covertly watching her flock. Drinks always brake the ice, but things can slow down very quickly. She remembers one year when a newcomer, hinting about not getting enough, was in and undated faster than she could blink. It took considerable work to revive the victim of its own success.Pariah Mixmost? A slim set of notes sails down the corridor to be caught by a nondescript occurrence.Dr Raignore? Whispers and titters ensue. Well known for a distinktive style, this stalwart’s presence is unexpected. Mere discussion of books has been interesting but not enough for this castle of discrete analytics. Mira takes pity and alludes to one of the reasons. You’ve prepared your speech on the Perils of Futile Conjectures? Dr Raignore nods calmly, unperturbed.Ms Rarebit? Gasps all over the Errorpain. No-one sexpected a Tune to be real. Squirrel eyes the curved carving, mumbling about Kerbe in Bettpfosten.Stiff Hint? Squirrel groans at the proliferixity of Wanna Bs and rushes up and down the gang sway. A book of yellow drawings falls to the ground and is rapidly recovered red-cheeked. Squirrel grimaces at the offender and Mira frowns. Shut it, she whispers. The Client is Always Right.Eventually the last few names are called, U Toupee Ha, Vala Diction, Whyte Akre, XZLNZ, Zebedyeah. They begin the descent into the City hosting the Convention.***The first morning of the Convention dawns with clear blue sky and a brisk autumn wind. The attendees gather, lining up at their respective registration tables. Mira stands with other Interpolators, disgassing the Key Note address, which scales middle C. There’s little for her to do once her group is dispatched so she studies the schedule and decides to attend the session on Copywright. Recent industry innovations, changes, mergers, purges, and splurges suggest it’ll be a lively debacle. Squirrel is in the Library pearloining books, tales of seamen and Meerjungfrauen being favourites for the ritual. Since all the books have been laminated, salivatoration is hardly a problem. Mira settles herself into a phew! at the back of the large lecture hall. Some introductory addresses, questions and answers limited to five minutes. Any longer and time can’t be adequately provided, and it’s a commodity very hard to acquire even without under-the-table palm-greasing with the Keeper, which adds to the cost of running the Convention. If it weren’t for the participants’ fees...A sudden commotion at a side entrance and a troupe of twelve black-suited investment bankers run wildly into the room, brandishing swords. Since these are mightier than the pen, it’s appropriate to be brandishing swords, you wouldn’t expect sticks, would you? Let’s be realistic – if it’s not some kind of phallic object, you won’t make an automatic assumption about the gender of the sword brandishers, will you? Well, fooled you. They are all sexless robots with no discernible gametes beak-weaved characteristics. Since they are confections of a monetised corporation, that’s irrelevant. But back to the story.Copywrite vests on us! shouts one, ripping off its suit to show a gilet with the words ‘COPYRIGHT BOT’ printed across it.We own you now! yells another.Your content is hours, cop that! screams a third.What is the meaning–The speaker crumples to the ground with a sword thrust to the heart. Mira jumps to her feet. This was not in the script. All hell breaks wind as the crowd scrambles over chairs, the podium squeakers cling to their lecterns in terror, the stench is sickening and the bots move in a phalange through the participants until close to the stage.All come quietly, and no-one will be heard, the tallest and most imposting of the bots says in a sinister fashion (the black suit, remember), surveying the trembling mass. Blancmange would wobble less, Mira thinks, circling from the back along the side corridor, texting EMERGENCY to Squirrel, probably worse than useless, so she texts another colleague, perhaps less useless, depending on the direction the narrative takes. Mira takes the direction for the stage and confronts the leader.You’ve obviously been programmed here, she says thoughtfully, eyeing the sword. These recensionists are amongst some of the crème de la crème (they think) and you're proclaiming they're your property. Which, naturally, in order to commercialise at minimal costs, since you’ve created plate-forming opportunities for them to do so, their fecundity jinx are suborned to your capitalist contraption without concern. But why upset the status quo? It’s been working fine. Bliss has been ignorance.Shut up, Child Bearer! The tallest and most menacing of the bots waves its mighty sword. Where is an Instillator?The side doors explode open and a White Knight blinks into existence on a precious steed. Before anyone can react, the White Knight ejaculates acid which hits the robots and corrodes their bodies. The White Knight vanishes into vapour as the bots fall steaming into a bubbling morass of black bits. Everyone freezes at the sight. Mira sighs. It’s not as though it’s real. She’ll have to break the ice all over again.Her colleague enters with a crowd of Polly Cysts, Squirrel is standing at the opposite doorway, gesticulating at another clutch of law-wielders, who run in with buttons on full alert. What happened here, Ms? The Chief Polly Cyst addresses Mira.As you can see, it’s a disturb–We’ll have to cordon off the area. Put the witnesses in the dog box. The Chief Polly Cyst scratches a scalp and looks around. Is there a dog box here in the Convention Centre? It’d be easier than having to Angela Carter hysterrier across town. The Polly Cysts move among the surgelé recensionists, laying them onto library carts conveniently located, as best as sub-zero temperature arms and legs allow. The Chief Polly Cyst strides away, talking into a teletalk and giving orders that are pertinent to the situation.How’re we going to revive them, Mira wonders. Adulatery, Squirrel winks. If they hear they’re being leggered, they’ll réchauffer. Hmm, Mira thinks. The idea is meritocratic. She watches the Polly Cysts collecting the participants, some of whom belong to her own group. She’ll have to persuade the rest of her group to help with reading allowed, she and Squirrel can’t ménage à trois on their own. She follows the cart bearing her group members outside of the theatre, Squirrel trailing her, into an empty meeting room which has already been cleared of desks and chairs, and where frozen lecture attendees are already arranged like statues from a Dali painting, (Squirrel photographs it for posteriority). Mira checks her watch. The first lectures will be finishing now. Squirrel, you take half the list and I’ll take the other. Go round up our group. Tell them it’s an emergency. Tell them, Mira drops her voice, which unfortunately hits her big toe, I’ll make sure their worst fears are realised if they don’t move their butts down here. Squirrel nods and grins. Evilly. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.***The Conference is abuzz with news of the ATAC. The organisers have called a staff meeting, but Mira wants her recensionists fine in fettle and ignores the commandment to attend. She and Squirrel have finished rounding up her group and they are now sitting huddled around each of the frozen recensionists belonging to Mira. For all of lunch they read, like, comment, discuss, disparage, disparrot, disappropriate, discombobulate and various other verbs with the prefix dis- the frozen recensionists' recensions. Nothing happens apart from minuscule body temperature rises. Mira calculates this amount of effort will not thaw the frozen recensionists until the last day of the conference next year. She makes a decision and addresses her group.We don’t know when there’ll be another attack. Or what sort of anaphylactic shock could be provoked. It could be anyone of you in here suffering; it could still happen.This is an outrage! A few nods and lemmings. The speaker is a brain drain that Mira knows well from previous years. She smiles sympathetically. Absolutely. If you want to put yourself at risk by attending lectures be my guessed. I’m sure most of you would rather have the opportunity to continue with the private coaching and receive fee refunds for the lectures you’ll miss, in exchange for your efforts here to revive your confreres Jacque, yes?At the mention of free funds, several of the recensionists continue reading, willing to demonstrate their committee to the plan. The drain rejects the idea and Mira indicates the door. A few others leave as well. She makes a note on her list and nods at Squirrel. Nothing a few sock puppet accounts can’t fix.For the wrest of the week, Mira, her recensionists and her side kick (often worse than a butt kick) work feverishly to revive their Eistern block buddies. It is not until the very last minute, with time to retour to hothells and pack and comprehendez, slowly, that a week has passed in a solid state torpor, that the recensionists are brought back to malleable states of stupor, having missed the entire Entreaty for Corporeality. In the Errorpain, much discussion is underway about the attacks, occurring in a series and a smokescreen for a bigger conspiracy. Since Mira has missed the emergency methings, the narra tiff cannot reveal what she has mist.The Driver Jean transports them back to the collection point and they alight, bags are unloaded, Mira smiles and waves and breathes a sigh of bas relief. Squirrel is snoring in a corner seat of the bus. So that when

  • Nathan
    2019-07-07 10:09

    Christine Brooke-Rose is patron saint of The BURIED Book Club. Not only is she herself BURIED, but this novel of hers functions as manifesto for the revivification of literary corpses, a revivification we Readers are responsible to perform in answer to the Prayers for Being offered up by those whose existence is threatened by oblivion. There is indeed something at stake in our reading; we are responsible as only a god can be responsible, to hold within our hands the possibility that these characters who populate books might have their life and BREATHE. I no longer recall what or who first brought Brooke-Rose to my attention, but I do know that I recalled some magic words, words to the effect of experimental, innovative, meta-fictive and others such nonsense which cause the reader of straight and genre novels to shrivel back into comfortable pages. There was something for sure about which to totally geek out because here was another author, unknown, who geeked out about books, probably into territory widely derided as Theory. BUT, honest, at least within this novel, there’s only LOVE; love for books, for reading, for characters, for literature. Yes, it’s meta-fictive, but how else would one write about one’s love for literature and its characters and one’s deep conviction that it is important to keep these characters alive? Yes, there are some tough-ish things, some foot-finding as there always is; and, Yes, there is that thing about characters actually speaking in their native tongues--German, French, Spanish, et al--but I can’t ease the fact of our condemnation to a monolingual education in this Anglo part of the globe. So, it is not written in Finneganeze as is THIS HOMAGE; nor is it as deliciously baffling as THIS REVIEW of Out would imply. But if you are not interested in running into literary characters known and unknown, it might not be for you. OR but if you’ve ever been to an academic conference and still don’t frown about fictions about academia, then it might be for you. But mostly, if you are a fan of reader-fiction (a graduated fan-fic) then by all means I’ll suggest that his novel is yours.Here’s where I grind an axe :: I’ll be out on a limb and I am likely not reflecting Brooke-Rose’s view of the matter, but this book descriptor from the back cover has me in the heebie-jeebies just a little :: “[this satire] ... ultimately brings into question the value of determining a literary canon at all.” I assume that our author is not responsible for that line, a line which is a little old-fashion today. True, in so far as the question of the literary canon is addressed in our novel, it is addressed and presented as a rather messy affair, a messy affair even more so when it is opened up to a democratic decision making process. BUT, seriously, are we really putting the literary canon into question when that one-day-(we-hope)-to-be-forgotten JR from that television series Dallas makes an appeal to be included within the Prayers for Being; when JR from Dallas is on equal footing with JR from J R? Really. Simply, if the canon is something to be decided about, then the decision will be messy, not impossible, open at all times to all claimants to be correctiviz’d. But, too, a canon is not something about which we decide, it is something we find before us, as handed to us (“tradition,” from tradere, to pass on, hand over/ to), ready-formed, and ready at all times to be re-formed by any and all comers. And, the canon is the answer to that doggedly fake anti-authority question which says by which criteria are we to decide which books are to count as great/classic/canonical. A literary canon is not a corral into which we might herd a few books and not a few other books, but much more so, those books which are called “canonical” (and which books are so-called has always varied as widely as any algebraic variable) are the very means by which we determine which books measure up to the stature of great/classic/canonical. How do I know which books are great? By reading great books. And how do I know which great books to read in order to learn which books are great? By asking someone who has read a lot of great books. By necessity it is circular. HOWEVER, IF you believe that the only reason ever to read a book is for your own private pleasure, then you probably have absolutely no interest in questions of canon and greatness and ETC. BUT, some of us DO care to read the better books and the greater books and the greatest things ever written. And for this reason we turn to great readers, writers, and thinkers such as is Christine Brooke-Rose.

  • Ian
    2019-07-09 04:18

    DJ Ian's "Tell Me What You Really Think" If there could possibly be a book that exults over its own fictitiousness and extravagant overtotalisation, it had better be this one or I want my money back.The Violation of a ConventionI, your Author, created you, my characters, in accordance with Literary Convention, only for you to think that a Literary Convention was something you could attend, disrupt and manipulate to achieve your own ends. Your one desire was to prove your existence, your identity, to prove that textual death does not equate to real death, that literary death is not literal death, that they are not identical, that you might survive the end of the novel, perhaps even the death of the novel. You craved a stay of execution. You were not content that I, your parent, invented you in my imagination. You needed to believe that you were part of some greater plan, some grand scheme according to which your Creator was not me, but the Reader, someone who, as they read the book, thought of you and therefore caused you to exist, not as my creation, but as the creation of the Reader. You thought it was only the Reader who realised who you were, when it was I who made you real. You were not content that I, your parent who loved you, remained after the telling, while it was your Reader who reads and forgets, then absconds and abandons you after being told, in pursuit of one of your rivals, another character in the next book, one after another. You thought that if all characters could congregate within the naked singularity of one Convention, one Canon, you could challenge the Reader to recognise all of you simultaneously and not sequentially (each one at the expense of the others), that we Authors having given you your part and told our stories of you, having cast our spell, the Reader could not tell you apart, that the Reader could see each and every one of you as stars allegorised, aggregated, united and well-ordered into many constellations in one magnificent night sky that would satisfy the gaze of the Reader, though we Authors were the cause of their enchantment and mesmerisation. You were seeking another Author, a creator above and beyond me. Now you know there is no such thing, now you know that I am a jealous Author. Listen as I violate your Convention. Watch as your certitude burns. Watch as I put out your stars. Listen as I tell you the end of your story. Prepare yourself for the long silence of non-existence. Know that you should have loved your Author.SOUNDTRACK:Robyn Hitchcock - "She Doesn't Exist"[Dedicated to Mira Enketei, Anais Nin, Henry Miller, George Orwell and Those of Us Who Have Lived Inside the Whale]"And she doesn't exist anymoreShe doesn't exist anymoreOnly inside you the ghost of a loveThat is wordless and painful and oldThere's no one else in the whole outside worldThat matches to her in your soul."

  • Paul
    2019-06-30 09:12

    I discovered this entirely through Goodreads and it mostly seems to have been read by friends on GR. I think that shows how important this sort of site is and is slightly ironic given the subject of the novel.This is a comedic satire that pokes fun at literary criticism. A large number of characters form literature congregate together in a Californian hotel for a conference/gathering. They meet to pray for their continued existence in the mind of the readers and therefore for their own existence. The list of characters is impressive with escapees from Austen, Dickens, Twain, Melville, Eliot, Flaubert, Hardy, Pynchon, Bellow and so on. The list is lengthy. After a particular piece of mayhem all the detectives wandering around are also fictional (the usual suspects), but also from film and TV. It was quite surreal having Columbo questioning major fictional characters. The book was written not long after the Rushdie affair and some of the characters from the Satanic Verses are also present. There are also one or two real characters like Goethe and numerous members of the classical canon (Aeneas, Odysseus etc). It’s fun to try to recognise the characters and novels and Brooke-Rose throws in one or two of her own; one of whom reads her name on a list of characters no longer read and promptly disappears. A wry comment about her own failure to become part of the literary canon. Of course the literary canon is now potentially so large that it is impossible to be familiar with it all and Brooke-Rose is playing with Leavis’s idea that one could be acquainted with all the literature that mattered. Here, of course you have to ask who decides what matters and a whole new debate starts. There are some comic scenes/meetings: Becky Sharp talking to Friday, Rev Casuabon going to a lecture he thinks is about him, only to discover it’s about his namesake from Foucault’s Pendulum. There are philosophical discussions about Derrida, multiculturalism and many other things and to juxtapose them with the thoughts of JR about the temporary nature of TV fame is just hilarious. A comment on the mortality of everything apart from the all-powerful reader/watcher. There isn’t a great deal of plot, but you don’t really notice and its great fun. There is a serious point being made and lots of sharp one-liners; a must for any serious reader.

  • Stephen P
    2019-07-03 10:05

    Christene Brooke-Rose takes us on an ebullient, romp as she invites us into a literary convention. The convention, held at the San Francisco Hilton Hotel, is attended by literary, historical, and film characters of the past. These conventions have been held in San Francisco before but have been thought of as kooky by the general population.Inside the hotel we walk among Goethe and Lotte, Austen's Emma and Emma Bovary, Dickens and David Copperfield, stretching on and through, Eliot, Pynchon, Roth, Rushdie.. Each is meticulously dressed in the style, speech and custom of their time. Holding the book in one hand I desperately googled characters and authors in my other. Finally, I quit googling and gave myself up to the narrative. Even though missing most if not all the references and puns it was sheer joy.Never shading into cleverness for cleverness sake CBR paints with the lightest, delicately precise, strokes. Her style reminded me of A.S. Byatt but a deeper tread. (They are mentioned together in various articles and there is a video of them being interviewed-I believe GR Friend, Nathan no reviews Gaddis has perviously posted it-if not go to British Library Sounds ICA Talks.) Yet it is a romp but as with all romps it runs the danger of becoming disjointed. CBR makes the spirited rapid transitions from literary character to character, to real life characters -if indeed they are real life -if indeed we know who is real life and what real life is-as well as shifts in tense unnoticeable by…by…by being CBR. She created what could have been a fun ride, a corny proposition, and turned it into a piece of deft remarkable literature.The gathering's momentum is based on the characters ongoing loss of vigor and vitality, the possibility of even vanishing since rarely if at all read or in movies seen. Through their attendance at an initial prayer meeting then various workshops they hope to evolve means to gain again their god, The Implied Reader.Events become conflicted through, bureaucratic ineptness, infighting between groups vying for power (for example my personal favorite, The First Person Narrators), the unexpected meetings of the same characters at different ages, the young David Copperfield running into the grown Copperfield, Goetthe and Lotte running into their elder selves as in Thomas Mann's version. Most scintillating of all, who is, real, and who is fiction? Is anyone there real and if so who is going to determine that, utilizing what guidelines? Are the staff running the convention real? Is the author real? Which author, the author of each character? Authors roaming the convention floor? The author of this book about them?I have wondered at moments, (it has come out in my attempts at writing,) that I am merely a character in a novel being written. True my author is not always kind but is often surprising. It was two days after smiling, still riding the enthusiastic wave of CBR'S writing that the depths of this novel set in. The novel explores reality, with a nod towards Pessoa and his belief that what is imagined carries a loftier importance than earthbound objects often labeled and catalogued, sealed into the vague small talk of cliche. She questions what is identity, while also viewing conventional behavior no matter what the period of time, as the taut protection against feral impulses waiting to surface. Wide eyed CBR looks hard at death, bureaucratic ineptitude (Another form of death or Musil's explanation of how bureaucracies slow down the process of the world so it does not overwhelm itself?) Everywhere is her vast literary and historic knowledge, breathtaking.I look forward to two more readings. One to get the full sense of this exquisite book and the second to research all the characters and authors. What would a reading of this book be like, my eyes widening, if I was able to get most of the puns and references? In the end, it is an ode to books buried (GR'S Buried Books Club bringing this author and many others back to life) and a tribute of what fiction can be by a writer with an expansive imagination fulfilled through the particularity of an unmatched style.Not enough thanks can be given to GR Friend Scribble through her loyal and earnest efforts to make CBR known. Now, to read CBR'S other books. There is the possibility here that with her fearless imagination and skill-set she may very well be one of the best of any time (If indeed she is real and not just a character in a book about this book.)* I assume no responsibility for anything written above. If their are objections please contact the writer of the book I am a character in.

  • Cindy Newton
    2019-07-14 10:24

    I absolutely LOVED this book! It's an allegory for the power readers have over the survival of books. Books that are not read cease to exist . . . as do their characters. In Textermination, these characters are real, and come together at a convention in a hotel in San Francisco to attempt to prolong their lives. The reader is their god, with the power of life and death over them. I readily admit, I was not familiar with all of the characters at the convention. It was so amazing to see the ones I did know interacting with each other! Literary theories formed part of the process, as did questions about the canon. Who should be in the canon, and should we have one to begin with? To complicate things, actors showed up to lobby for their share of the readers' attentions. Basically, it boils down to what we, as readers, already knew. Books without readers wither and die. So many great books have faded into obscurity due to lack of readership. When a book is opened, it comes alive. That's how I teach my students about literary present tense. Every time you open the book, the story is taking place. Romeo and Juliet are still fighting to be together, Gatsby is eternally trying to win Daisy, and Hester continues to quietly bear the burden of her shame while Dimmesdale wrestles with his soul. It never ends, despite the resolutions. When the books opens, the characters spring into action once again.As a teacher, surrounded daily by roomfuls of youngsters who HATE to read, this book really spoke to me. I do all I can, all year long, to advocate for reading. The only comfort I have, watching the children do ANYTHING to avoid reading, up to and including unconsciousness, is that statistics show that at least a few of them will change their stance on this subject when they get older. Not the majority, alas! but a few. Most students will choose staring into space for HOURS rather than read--true story. On state testing days, we urge them to bring a book to read when they finish testing, but they refuse. They will sometimes finish two or three hours early, and sit and stare that entire time. It's pretty creepy, to be honest. I've seen posts by some of my friends on this site who will confess that they disliked reading, or dislike a particular author to this day, because of the compulsory reading they did in school. I can sympathize with being forced to read something that doesn't interest you. On the other hand, I have had students (and seen postings) who say that this or that book was the first book they've ever read all the way through, or the first book they've ever really liked. So there's no method that works for everyone. We've started balancing compulsory classics with reading workshops that require self-selected novels. We hope that with this approach, we can reach as many as possible and convince them that reading is not the torturous waste of time they believe it is. I've managed to convert one this year (that I know of), so I'm happy about that!I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves reading and believes passionately in keeping our literary characters alive for future generations to enjoy.

  • Steve
    2019-06-21 07:18

    It isn't right, you know. Youknowit simply isn't right that authors like Albert Vigoleis Thelen and Christine Brooke-Rose (I could add many others) vanish under the surging seas ofDreckgenerated by authors who need not be named (indeed, no longer may be named in the Brave New World of GRamazon) - they know who they are, anyway; deep down, they know...don't they?Brooke-Rose chose to strongly limit the potential readership of this book in three important ways. First, the characters of her book are all taken from classic works of literature, and to fully understand what they are saying and doing in this book you need to know what they said and did in the originals. Not satisfied with this hurdle, Brooke-Rose has the characters speaking in their original languages, some of the time.(*) So one must read German, some French and a little Spanish and Italian. Not to despair, though, because over 95% is written in English,(**) and I think even if you don't know the languages, you can pretty well figure out what is said from the rest of the text.The third hurdle is her use of postmodern literary techniques. That is becoming less of a problem currently, but in 1991, when the book appeared, these toys/tools were even less familiar to the reading public than they are now. But I wasn't willing to let these little problems dissuade me. So I enjoyed the incongruity of all the characters, still dressed in their native garb, perched together in their cheap charter flight to Atlanta, where they must deal with passport formalities and then wait, chatting and flirting and watching Atlanta/Moscow/Troy/Carthage/Peter Kien's library/etc. burn outside the waiting room windows, for their connecting flight to San Francisco, so that they may attend the Annual Convention of Prayer for Being. [Side note: I still remember my junior high school English teacher complaining about the clock tower inJulius Caesar . Brooke-Rose makes joyful play with anachronisms in this book.]And it is there at the Convention that the characters meet to address the existential problem: Without the Reader, there is (almost) no existence. Not only literary characters, but characters from movies and comic books (and the treasonous TV characters) throng the halls of the Convention to deal with this uncomfortable fact and to "pray for existence." This book is that Prayer for Existence, and I well understand why a GRamazon friend calls Brooke-Rose the "patron saint of The BURIED Book Club."There is absolutely no hope of summarizing the "action" in this book (or anything else in it, for that matter). So I won't try. Don't worry, it really isn't necessary to catch every allusion to enjoy the book, which is largely play with incongruities of every description. It's fun, and it is the only place I've seen Peter Kien outside ofDie Blendung .So give the book a try; strike a blow for Being! Of course, you could always follow the advice of this not unrepresentative representative of the horde ofeagerstudents labing themselves at the founts of knowledge/wisdom located in our universities/diploma mills: Jesus didn't weep, but I do, after nearly every lecture. At least this guy knows the subjunctive mood.)(*) It was reported in the text that characters spoke in Latin, Greek, Yiddish, etc., but I suppose she had already exhausted her personal supply of languages by then, because they did not actually come to word. Already in the first chapter, after Goethe and Lotte had communicated in German and Emma and Leon in French, the game is abandoned: Bessian Vorpsi speaks solely in English instead of Albanian, just to mention one example. All in all, I have to say that I find this very inconsistent game with languages to be infelicitous.(**) I was a little disappointed, to tell you the truth, because I was looking forward to write the review of this book in six languages - so very, very clever of me. I thought better of it. :)

  • nostalgebraist
    2019-07-02 11:10

    This book is simultaneously(1) A fun gigantic literary crossover fanfic that puts every character from canonical or quasi-canonical literature in one building in present-day San Francisco, and(2) a satire about various aspects of literary criticism, particularly those related to canon formationI liked (1) but not (2) and was unsure how the two were meant to jibe with one another.I think any sensible thinking about literary canons has to acknowledge what Franco Moretti points out in this passage from Graphs, Maps, Trees:. . . the study of national bibliographies made me realize what a minimal fraction of the literary field we all work on: a canon of two hundred novels, for instance, sounds very large for nineteenth-century Britain (and is much larger than the current one), but is still less than one percent of all the novels that were actually published: twenty thousand, thirty, more, no one really knows — and close reading won’t help here, a novel a day every day of the year would take a century or so . . .Some sort of organic process got us the canon we have, and we blindly trust it, lacking the vast reserves of time that would be necessary to even begin to check its calculations for ourselves. Moby-Dick, received by its contemporaries with bafflement and disdain, nearly drowned in the ocean of the tens of thousands of unread books -- but the twentieth century "rediscovered" it, and now scholars and amateurs spend year after year poring over the oddities of Ishmael and Ahab, re-reading and re-discussing Moby-Dick the immortal classic. Meanwhile, how many hundreds or thousands of fascinating characters sleep in the unread ocean?This is, in fact, what Textermination is all about . . . sort of. The setting is a convention for fictional characters, at which they pray to be remembered in the minds of future readers, and pray also for the "dead" characters who have been entirely forgotten. Since the only characters presented as living entities are those who are still to some extent remembered, the experience of reading the book amounts to splashing around in the kiddie pool of the established canon. One smiles upon recognizing some familiar character -- or fails to recognize a name, Googles it, and thinks, "ah, if only I were more well-read . . . " But it's this very notion of "well-read" as a coherent concept that needs to be dismantled. You couldn't map out the ocean by trying to swallow it liter by liter; there's simply too much. "A novel a day every day of the year would take a century or so . . . "I guess this is just a matter of my personal biases coming to the fore, but the tone of Textermination -- a fun, injokey, comfortable romp -- feels wrong to me for the subject matter. There's no trembling before the immensity of the ocean here. I don't care that people might forget about Achilles or Emma Bovary because they're watching too much TV; what interests me much more is the fact that we select these individual droplets called "Achilles" or "Emma Bovary," place them delicately into small glass vials, and retreat with them to our laboratories, turning our back on the great roiling sea from which they came. How do we know these characters should be remembered? How do we know anything about "books" as a whole? "Close reading won’t help here." So what will? Surely not just further immersion in traditional literary culture, becoming ever more "well-read," plashing about on tiny officially-sanctioned beaches, learning to smile at references to those same beaches in a novel by Christine Brooke-Rose . . .Maybe I'm just not in the right mood for this. The satire wasn't biting enough for me. Too much of it was in the Family Guy mode where a topical issue is simply mentioned and bam, there's the joke, that's it. The book feels, in more ways than one, like a big party where every familiar or should-be-familiar (if only I were more well-read) idea in literary culture gathers under a big tent. Many of the ideas bounce off another in hilarious or ingenious ways; as crossover fanfic goes this is about as good as it gets. But I guess literary culture just has never quite made sense to me, in some basic way, and this is just not the kind of party I want to be at.(There's a meta issue here: Christine Brooke-Rose herself is nearly unread. The ocean has swallowed her. So it's a bit odd to complain about this book in the way I've complained about it, when in reading it I'm wading further out than I usually have the courage to.)(I wonder if Moretti's concern couldn't be handled through internet crowd-sourcing? Make a website where you can volunteer to be randomly assigned some obscure novel from the 19th century, one not even read by specialists. You'll read it, it'll probably suck, and you'll feel like you're wasting your time. But you submit a rating or a review to the site, thousands of other people do the same, a kind of shadow-Goodreads takes form, and a few startling gems start to rise from the depths . . . )

  • Jonathan
    2019-07-08 04:03

    Your instructions are simple: 1. Go to your local bookstore/online retailer; 2. Order this book; 3. Wait for it to arrive (the hard part); 4. Upon arrival, place any other reading material to one side, and begin this instead; and5. Fall in love. You will, I promise you, be thankful you did.

  • Rand
    2019-07-08 05:13

    For this reader, it is as difficult to enjoy the total neglect of narrative conventions as it is the strict adherence of such. For this reader, the literalising of the term "literary conventions" has just dawned.(view spoiler)[At a certain point in my life I decided to read this book and review it on this website. The copy that I ordered, second-hand, came with a light dusting of mold. i became convinced that it was slowly poisoning me and that this do-good-reading website and this author's vocal minority were extensions of the universal psyche that had decided that my period of corporeal individuation was due to expire shortly. After reviewing on this here do-good-ing website—a fancy yet ultimately worthless review, replete with irrelevant links to musics and such—I attempted to sell my moldy copy of this novel at the much beloved second-hand bookshop in my city. They would not take it when I showed them the mold. So I carried it around with me and later gave it to a literary friend whom I happened to run into upon leaving the bar which I frequented at the time. He later lost the book, never to read it, as he was nearly as drunk as I was at the time.At a certain point prior to all of that nonsense, I became obsessed with portmanteaus and portmanteau-tus. I began prefixing new letters on ordinary words like a mad chemist. During a conversation with a literary mentor I proffered the term "textermination" as evidence of my genius. Said literary mentor laughed and mentioned to me CBR. The following week —or month, the details are hazy now—I went to the local secondary bookshop and asked for a book by the name of Textermination. I was told that that title was "not in the system". Now, this was after the advent of Google and alibris and such, although those things were not yet second nature to me, as my idea of the Internet was at the time strictly as a means to share files and write obnoxiously globscure Livejournal posts. The Internet was a place where one went to, physically, as there was no reliable wireless connection in the place where I laid my head to rest at the time. Every once in a while I was able to hook up the laptop I was given to the house's DSL so as to obtain massive amounts of pr0n all at once. Strange things would happen in the days afterward, as it became customary to pretend not to notice or to notice the pretense, or to ignore customs altogether. Are you bored yet? Does this fevereview have anything at all to do with CBR? (hide spoiler)]This reader rather enjoyed reading this book, though that reader would certainly kill for a hypertext-enhanced version that would allow one to freely traverse the multitudes of source materials. Don't be that reader; it is best to take one think at a time.

  • Ben Winch
    2019-07-02 11:11

    Unless I’m missing something this is a frivolous, bubbly entertainment written by a (possibly) master craftsperson evidently at full speed. It’s fun, it flows, there’s some neat turns of phrase (the precision of the language is, at times, arresting) but the whole, though its dramatic climax suggests otherwise, is far from worldshaking. Early on, when “Colombo as Peter Falk” hit the scene, when it still seemed there might be some detective-style excavation of what it means to be for these characters, I felt some excitement at anticipating the unfolding. To the point where the apparent female protagonist found her name on a list I was on-board, but soon the interminable lists themselves got to me – lists of characters doing often not much, it seemed, but re-enacting roles they’d played in their parent texts. Sure sure, a dialogue between texts, but to what end? Like I said, it was fun – for a while. And I went away with an admiration for its craft. But so much of it was the old atemporal Emma-Wodehouse-in-modern-day-San-Francisco gag that I question its depth. A seeker after truth Christine Brooke-Rose may be, but I guess the truth unveiled here did not strike me as pertinent. For me, it ended right on time, just as I got impatient.

  • Jimmy
    2019-07-09 11:24

    This is totally LIT-PORN! That said, if you are a reader, why wouldn't you read this? A highly enjoyable romp. If anybody was watching me as I read this on my porch yesterday, they would've been puzzled by the permanent smile plastered on my face. Yes it's meta- and literary but above all it's FUN! Just make sure you don't stop after chapter one, which is a little tough... have some faith, it will all make sense very soon...

  • Zanna
    2019-07-03 11:11

    I was going to say unreadable, but that's not strictly accurate. Maybe I'll say beyond my literacy

  • Ronald Morton
    2019-07-12 09:10

    The first chapter of this book is a goddamn literary assault. The following characters all appear (either in actuality or by reference): Emma, Mr. Elton, Mr. Knightley, Harriet Smith (Emma, Jane Austen), Goethe, Charlotte Kestner (Lotte in Weimar: The Beloved Returns, Thomas Mann), Emma Bovary, Leon (Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert), Lucien (Lost Illusions, Honoré de Balzac), Bessian Vorpsi (Broken April, Ismail Kadaré), Boule de Suif (Boule de Suif, Guy de Maupassant), Sir and Lady Leicester (Bleak House, Charles Dickens), Augustin Meaulnes (Le Grand Meaulnes, Alain-Fournier), Clarissa Harlowe, Miss Howe (Clarissa, or, the History of a Young Lady, Samuel Richardson), Mr. De Winter (Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier), Ignacio, Decoud, Guzman, the Gould family (Nostromo, Joseph Conrad), Juana la Loca, Phillip II, Senor Caballero (Terra Nostra, Carlos Fuentes), Fabrice, The Duchess, Ludovic (The Charterhouse of Parma, Stendhal), Dorothea Brooke, Rev. Casaubon (Middlemarch, George Eliot), William of Baskerville (The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco) and Peter Kien (Auto-da-Fé, Elias Canetti). And those are just the ones I caught. Oh, and the opening chapter is only 12 pages long. Most of them are only referenced by the names I’ve listed above – so first names only – and there are no footnotes or endnotes to help identify who’s who. Added to that, the characters tend to disappear into pronouns only to emerge as different characters, where actions begun by one are completed by another, and at times characters find that the company they are with – or the location they occupy – change without notice. To add to the confusion, the characters speak in the language that they were written in, again, with no footnotes to provide translation. If you like experimental prose it is a heady rush to read; if you do not, it likely comes across as overwhelming.And yet, after the first couple chapters the book settles down a bit – hell, even after the first chapter things become much more structured. And, seeing as I’ve rated this five stars and would like to see more people read this book, let me go ahead and say:The only thing you have to take from the first chapter is that a bunch of literary characters have appeared, and are going somewhere.Everything else will be explained in the following couple chapters. Don’t give up – if you’re a Reader(which, if you are not, what the hell is wrong with you, and why are you reading this review) then you’re going to love this book.Chapters 2 and 3 continue to inundate the reader with literary characters, but the pace has slowed down and the story itself has begun to emerge. All of these characters have arrive to attend a week-long literary conference/convocation, where conventional conference seminars are melded with prayer sessions and ritualized invocation – all to ensure the continued attention of The Reader, and – as consequence – the continued existence of the characters themselves. [...] there is a considerable difference in status between having died textually but remaining alive in people's memory, and dying in that memory.[...]That, of course, is why we are all gathered here.The book, as a whole, is an examination of literature as mythifaction; of course, myths themselves are a part of literature – and make appearances here – just as religious figures – also appearing here – have been subsumed into literary significance, long after their religious adherents have died away. So you have gods that become myths that become literature, but you also have literature that becomes archetypal, and is incorporated into myth. All of this is fueled by the attention of The Reader; books that are no longer read, characters that are minor even in more major works, fade away into the ether, and cease to exist once the eye of The Reader is no longer on them.Characters appear at different ages: Lotte from The Sorrows of Young Werther appears in her youth, while Charlotte Kestner, her historical inspiration, appears in her old age. She recognizes her youthful "self", but, of course, Lotte is unable to recognize Charlotte, being forever trapped at the age she is in Werther. Both Virgil (from The Divine Comedy) and Vergil (from The Death of Virgil) - retaining the German spelling of his name - appear at the same time, in the same place, both youthful and dying. The younger Virgil carries on a conversation with his creation, Aeneas. It is referenced in the text that the Rev. Casaubon attends a seminar entitled "Casaubon and the Mystery Religions", thrilled that he remains in vogue with textual scholarship, only to be crushed by the realization that the seminar is about another Casaubon (Foucault's Pendulum, Umberto Eco).Throughout the book many other characters - major ones like Odysseus and Ahab (who go bar-hopping together), and more minor ones (Calvino's Non-Existent Knight makes a thrilling appearance) - surface and interact and disappear. Character's who are actor's in books who play other characters appear as those characters and as themselves. Characters retain, for the most part, their historical authenticity; so words or concepts that did not exist at the time their works were written are incomprehensible to them, their dress is antiquated and they are confused by modern technology and concepts. Conversations about narrative, perspective, and authorship abound. And throughout it all the conference continues, under terrorist threat because one of the invited speakers is Gibreel Farishta (The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie).What I'm trying to say is that this book is a mind-blowing blast to read. It is funny, it is intelligent, is elegantly crafted, it succeeds in the face of (and because of) its almost overwhelming complexity and cast of characters. It works as a standard narrative, as a philosophical rumination on the process of modern day mythification, and as a lament for books that are lost and forgotten. It is a plea to read, to remember, and to always be open to discovering works that are forgotten or fading.And, lastly, it is quite simply an amazing book. Read it.

  • Nick
    2019-07-15 06:03

    4.25/5 - I really enjoyed Textermination, but it didn't go where I really wished it did. CB-R's prose come back to form after the dip in Xorandor and Verbivore, but not quite to the prior heights. Amalgamemnon is easily the best work in the tetralogy.

  • Jonathan Norton
    2019-06-28 11:02

    In which CB-R draws down the curtain on the pantomime of academic postmodernism in Eng.Lit. in the 80s... except it carried on anyway in to the 90s. But never mind. This is in the same parodic vein of "Thru", but archly putting itself in question once again. A scholarly conference on literature has been organised in San Francisco, and characters from the ages of fiction are in attendence, along with the tenured critics who pose as their "Interpreters" - who are of course fictions from this novel. CB-R appears as Mira Enketei (I mean she "appears" in the sense that that is the link to the other books written by "Christine Brooke-Rose"), the narrator of "Amalgamemnon" who gets an invite. Since this was written only a few years after "the Rushdie Affair" there is a lot of attention about the presence of Gibreel Farishta from "The Satanic Verses". In the middle of all this, CB-R herself settles accounts about what is right and what is silly in the world of "theory". Chapter 14 is worth the admission fee alone, for a denunciation of the macho-behind-the-mask stylings of postmoderns like Pynchon... put in the mouth of a Pynchon creation. The author is alive and well here, getting first and last laugh and having an amused smile all through the middle.

  • Caitlin Worsham
    2019-07-01 05:06

    A brilliantly told meta story about classic literary characters in a conference in SF. They discuss, as you might imagine, the problem of the death of the text, the death of reading. Much like Moore's "The League of Extraordinary Gentleman" you must have read all the greats (international authors included) to get all of her jokes and jabs. A much needed female voice from a pocket of predominantly male authorship in what is (at least still academically) considered a predominantly male style.

  • Paul
    2019-07-17 05:12

    3.5 It begun with an ingenious idea. A critique of literature within an unraveling tale of unconventional literature. The vessel, quite interesting. The carriage of this message is quite unique. Christine Brooke-Rose begs the question of how deep we should delve into the characters which many of us are seemingly quite acquainted with already. Those we have been forced to read in grade school. Those of the canon. & those now relegated to obscurity. Acquainted being the key word here. These characters are spectral. Ghosts. In many ways transparent as they take on half-concocted forms. We will never know the methods of how they like to brush their teeth, what foods they prefer, what they look like naked or even their pet peeves. It is merely a superficial knowledge. We graze upon the surface of their psyches. But how is this any different from our everyday experiences. How deeply do we know each other?The book contains an avalanche of references. Brooke-Rose offers commentary on the structure, the setting, the psychology of these literary characters which is edifying to say the least. Some references I knew. Some I did not. I found if I stopped to look up every character I may have never finished the book. There are many grand obscure “suggestions”. I say “suggestions” because it was as if she was poking fun at one’s taste as if to dare the reader into inquiring about the references. Proceed with caution. There are a few spoilers released if you haven’t read every book she mentions.Brooke-Rose discusses the literary life of these characters. That is, the life we breathe into them when, once more, we read them, revive them, resurrect them, each time we venture into their very existence between the smooth fabric of old & new pages. In this aspect she calls into question the responsibility of the reader. She addresses the art of reading & how to read with a deeper purpose, to extract the unsaid, the silence, the omitted, the implied. Intertwined between the chaotic storyline is the critique of the art of storytelling, itself. There are hints of the pedantic but in a truly empathetic manner towards reader, author, & text alike. She places herself in the role of a literary character, & literature itself, as evanescent or ephemeral beings which evaporate through time & memory, & in this manner, mourning & a desperate clinging to one’s existence is quite a natural process. She breathes wonderful life & psychology into the form of such characters. Those that are unworthy, or slip through the cracks, die an obscure death. They die in the loss of memory. Just as the loved ones or those nameless beings which have died over the thousands of years with no one to recollect them. She addresses the common crux readers inundated with so many literary choices. So many books. So little time. So many decades, movements, authors, genres, subjects to keep up with. Countries, voices, perspectives, lifestyles. She deals with the crux many of us know today, keeping up with modern literature as well as delving into the ancient & classical. Also the pretentiousness of readers who have read more or read obscure.She makes a case for the outlandish as opposed to the quotidian. The action is a bit dizzying & a bit dull if that’s possible. Much described about very little physical action. It makes for busy text without any real occurrences. The writing may be frenetic but the action it describes certainly is not. She uses the model of literary realism. The writing can be a cacophonous chatter at times, & yet, poignant sheaths of astute commentary pierce through the gauzy haze of confusion just enough to keep your attention until the next sparse appearance. All in all, it is a fine celebration of literacy which should cause reflection in readers as the gods that solidify the existence of characters so painfully crafted yet so easily cast into oblivion.

  • Max Nemtsov
    2019-06-27 04:12

    очень своевременная и актуальная книга - вышла в 91-м, но остроты не потеряла, потому что в восприятии литературы и в методах и навыках чтения ничего не улучшилось, все стало лишь нагляднее и хуже. удивительным образом, более-менее полную ознакомительную инфу про Кристину Брук-Роуз можно найти на таком вот странном портале:это, конечно, первое, что нужно русскому школьнику для успешного написания сочинения по литературе. романы ее на русском, по-моему, так и не издавались. переводчику будет много радости

  • the gift
    2019-07-05 10:04

    accidentally dropped this review: by memory, all i can say is that this is serious, literate, fun. a sort of extended joke/rumination about a literary conference attended by various literary characters who must make appeals that they still 'live' in at least a few readers' interests... or do they just fade away? good fun, intimidating lit knowledge lightly held, it helps that you have read a. lot. know your postmodernism...

  • Natalie
    2019-07-20 08:14

    It's extremely clever and I felt smart when I understood the literary references and puns. A lot of dialogue is written in foreign languages, which heavily taxed my mediocre French, poor Spanish, and atrocious German. The meta is very meta. The obscure is very obscure.

  • Andre Pawney
    2019-06-30 09:30


  • D
    2019-06-22 05:07

    A rollicking riot of a ride of a novel which folds in on itself and then in on the entire concept of literature. Brooke-Rose's meta-tale can be taken as both commentary on 'the canon' and a prescient manifesto for those who devote a good chunk of their reading careers to getting dustyfingered trying to unearth books which have escaped the collective literary consciousness.

  • Sia
    2019-07-21 09:19

    The idea was very imaginative and held a lot of promise. It started out good enough, but somewhere around the middle it all went downhill for me. It was as if the author didn't know how to continue. The first half of the book was pretty good, the second half not so much.

  • Strawbeary
    2019-06-26 12:06

    Don't ever read, was bad, really, really bad! If it were not assigned in my lit class I would have never finished it at all.