Stochastic Bookmark

abstruse unfinished commentary

about correspondence


First-person (sing)

It being Reading the World month, I'm sticking to English Lit for now.

Iris Murdoch, The Sea, the Sea: The novel is permeated by Shakespeare, in situation, incident and character (and not just the plays, more weighted towards the comedies). While I largely concur with C-R's assessment, more is afoot, as flaws in the narrative construction reflect objections to Will's plotting going off the track, and, more deeply, the embedded moral/ethical dimension (and mythic underpinnings) driving the action. But here the actors are themselves central (and the narrator, Chas Arrowby as director, moreso), competing with a more mundane reality, imposing their will (which glances off, without real effect except upon themselves, and that's affect). One technical nicety is how the prologic diary transmutes into memoir in the central section (Arrowby distancing himself from himself) before reverting to diary in the coda. Another is the self-serving variety of empathy that Arrowby employs to his own ends, complicated by a false empathy even with himself (mirrored in the aforementioned off-track racing). And then the pathetic fallacy, the sea, but the terrain as well, and the oracular sky ... but ultimately the magic fails not only Arrowby, but Murdoch as well, as well as she plays off Will.


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