a thread for b.s. johnson, christine brooke-rose, ann quin, alan burns,

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and anyone else in that line i get to while i'm at it, i suppose.

thomp, Wednesday, 25 April 2012 19:11 (eight years ago) link

"Oh, and I have not yet told you: the mortal remains of Maurice Bunde, Esq., were still as Evans had left them that morning, in their bedroom under their sheet, not having been removed since Trevor had not yet informed and undertaker, local or national, of the existence of the said remains. Nor had he fulfilled his matinal promise to inform Mrs. Louise Bunde, who is due to learn that her husband had become late in the next day's papers, and who will greet the news with scarcely controlled levity since it will enable her, in despite of a firm belief in cicisbeism, to regularise her relationship with a certain Mr. Corby, a pyknic uniorchid of Lyme Regis."

thomp, Wednesday, 25 April 2012 19:13 (eight years ago) link

Yay, thomp! There is an Ann Quin thread already, actually: Ann Quin and...

My favourite bookshop here recently got in a whole bunch of Zulfikar Ghose novels, and due to his relationship with Johnson I kind of had to buy them. Not actually read them yet, mind you.

emil.y, Wednesday, 25 April 2012 20:12 (eight years ago) link

had to buy them. Not actually read them yet, mind you.

Stars on 45 Fell on Alabama (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 25 April 2012 20:23 (eight years ago) link

i. travelling people is sort of at its worst when it hits its Big Notes ('there's one thing worse than the death of your love, love, and that's the death of love, love, before your love has died' - or however that goes - and the last chapter's excursus on class, say) but a joy much of the rest of the time. i think this probably comes out of johnson's insistence on a self-aware novel and autobiographical honesty at the same time, though, to be fair, so does everything else. -- it seems like cheating that the narrator acknowledges the artifice of a lot of things but then not before Henry's outburst or the Thoughts On Class or Henry and Kim's rather awkwardly rendered sex scene.

ii. the first few pages of out are pretty masterful

thomp, Friday, 27 April 2012 07:40 (eight years ago) link

wld also rec 'I Hear Voices' by Paul Ableman in this line (Ableman contributed to Johnson and Drabble's 'London Consequences')

Ward Fowler, Friday, 27 April 2012 08:24 (eight years ago) link

attempt to reread b.s. johnson ahead of the conference stymied by whoever has the efl copy of the omnibus choosing to accrue fines instead of return it. bah

thomp, Friday, 4 May 2012 14:45 (eight years ago) link

i am still going through 'out' very slowly. it requires a lot of focus - the schtick is that the narrator is continually hypothesising / fantasising different versions of scenes before they happen, but it's difficult to read something quickly whilst paying attention to all this in-front-of-the-big-house-the-cicadas-are-in-bloom-in-front-of-the-big-house-the-cicadas-are-not-in-bloom business

thomp, Friday, 4 May 2012 14:46 (eight years ago) link

My paper is terrible, arrrrrrrrrrgh. *panic panic panic panic*

emil.y, Friday, 4 May 2012 15:20 (eight years ago) link

i'm sure it's fine! i am theoretically presenting a paper on j.h. prynne at a postgraduate conference in a week's time and i have no idea how to start beyond 'have a look at that presentation i did in a seminar one time'. oops

thomp, Friday, 4 May 2012 15:22 (eight years ago) link

Prynne! I still need to read more of his stuff, actually. He did a series of seminars at Sussex while I was doing my MA, but I only had time to go to two of them; they were okay, but a little more 'teaching' than the hoped-for intellectual insights...

emil.y, Friday, 4 May 2012 15:27 (eight years ago) link

eh, most of the MA seminars i have taken i feel like 'teaching' is a pretty high bar that a lot of people do not cross

thomp, Friday, 4 May 2012 15:41 (eight years ago) link

Aye, I think I was hoping for more lectureship, really. Got spoiled by the N0ttingham Philosophy open seminars - a good mix of paper presentation and group discussion, with a super-awesome staff who never talked down to me as a lowly undergrad. I still miss them. *sob*

emil.y, Friday, 4 May 2012 15:47 (eight years ago) link

This is to inform you that the following item is now available for collection.

Location: English Faculty Library
Title: B.S. Johnson omnibus.
Author: Johnson, B. S. (Bryan Stanley), 1933-1973.
Year: 2004
Shelfmark: P52.70(Omn)


thomp, Friday, 4 May 2012 19:37 (eight years ago) link

all this in-front-of-the-big-house-the-cicadas-are-in-bloom-in-front-of-the-big-house-the-cicadas-are-not-in-bloom business

i would like to get into this business

Lamp, Friday, 4 May 2012 21:09 (eight years ago) link

in front of the big house the cicadas are budding, no they're not

thomp, Friday, 4 May 2012 21:12 (eight years ago) link

is it possible for the tree by the roadside to be cracked, skeletal, with the cicadas in bloom?

thomp, Friday, 4 May 2012 21:13 (eight years ago) link

i should probably try and explain why i actually like this novel

thomp, Friday, 4 May 2012 21:13 (eight years ago) link

the big house is a prison, the big house is not a prison its a garden. all gardens are prisons we are the blooms warden

Lamp, Friday, 4 May 2012 21:15 (eight years ago) link

a list of ideas with square bullet points enumerates

Lamp, Friday, 4 May 2012 21:16 (eight years ago) link

yesterday wears tomorrows face cream, all our pasts are afraid of aging. printed out invitations on a bone white cardstock, thicker than my unkempt nails.

Lamp, Friday, 4 May 2012 21:16 (eight years ago) link

the paper in my printers paper tray is really tinted yellow or sometimes gray, i stole it from work

Lamp, Friday, 4 May 2012 21:17 (eight years ago) link

im sorry for ruining this thread out of boredom, i do want to read some of these books but my attention wanders

Lamp, Friday, 4 May 2012 21:18 (eight years ago) link

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh I'm scared.

emil.y, Saturday, 5 May 2012 00:17 (eight years ago) link

dutch courage, emily

nakhchivan, Saturday, 5 May 2012 00:38 (eight years ago) link

in the coe bio there's a story alan burns tells about ann quin sharing a bill with johnson at a reading, where she gets on stage and refuses to say anything because we get more across by silently 'think-communicating' than by the exchange of words

thomp, Saturday, 5 May 2012 00:44 (eight years ago) link

probably every other option is better than that one though

thomp, Saturday, 5 May 2012 00:44 (eight years ago) link

It was good to meet you, thomp! Shame my paper was so rushed and broad. A good day in general, though.

emil.y, Wednesday, 9 May 2012 01:11 (eight years ago) link

it was good to meet the two of you as well, also i think i owe you a drink

thomp, Friday, 11 May 2012 09:38 (eight years ago) link

i reread 'albert angelo' the other day. it's interesting watching how the architecture stuff plays out when you know what's coming. albert's passing wish to design a gothic cathedral, then reminding himself he ought to be designing shopping centres instead. and so forth.

thomp, Friday, 11 May 2012 09:41 (eight years ago) link

two months pass...

Sara won't ever know. She never thinks about Andrew; hasn't ever e-mailed or called. Andrew never e-mails or calls either, really, just has imaginary conversations with her almost constantly; his idea of her. Maybe he will e-mail her tonight. She will respond with a form letter. We thank you for this submission but are unable to use your work at this time. Unfortunately, the volume of submissions we receive makes a personal reply impossible. She'll say she's moving to Florida and Andrew will pet his dogs, e-mail his mom, and buy Steve a present. She won't respond and Andrew will lie on the floor with a blanket over his face and body.

thomp, Thursday, 12 July 2012 18:52 (eight years ago) link

one month passes...

RIP Eva Figes. http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/sep/07/eva-figes

emil.y, Saturday, 8 September 2012 18:46 (seven years ago) link

MAkes me wish I was a cataloguer: Cataloguer, B S Johnson Archive

Tim, Friday, 21 September 2012 13:14 (seven years ago) link


human centipede hz (thomp), Friday, 21 September 2012 22:00 (seven years ago) link

four months pass...

bfi are bringing out a nice set of johnson's films:


Ward Fowler, Wednesday, 6 February 2013 18:22 (seven years ago) link



Ward Fowler, Wednesday, 6 February 2013 18:22 (seven years ago) link

oh, niiice

attempt to look intentionally nerdy, awkward or (thomp), Thursday, 7 February 2013 00:23 (seven years ago) link

one year passes...

^^^ finished watching that yesterday, and for anyone interested in johnson's work i can't recommend it highly enough. though fat man on a beach is :'-(

kind of related: bfi are also finally bringing out most of robbe-grillet's 60s/70's films in the middle of the year as well (hopefully this time!)

no lime tangier, Wednesday, 26 February 2014 22:07 (six years ago) link

Saw most of those a few years back and they are marred by a misogynist streak, there is also this vacuum to them (saying b-but its avant-garde is no ans).

And they are not even as straight experimental as some Duras' films - now if they bought those out that would be cause for excitement.

xyzzzz__, Thursday, 27 February 2014 09:29 (six years ago) link

so, not too dissimilar to his fiction, then... ;-)

i've never got around to checking out duras (film or fiction). i do have vague memories of seeing a film based on her time in a vietnamese(?) boarding school.

and to bring it back around to the avant/experimental school of british lit, how does rayner heppenstall rate compared to those in the thread title? always been curious about his work but i never see his books around.

no lime tangier, Friday, 28 February 2014 05:04 (six years ago) link

one year passes...

small selection, but i should revisit this sometime:

did find a heppenstall novel finally, from his later misanthropic crazy old man period. parallel narratives on alternating pages.

alan burns' work seems near impossible to find.

no lime tangier, Wednesday, 3 June 2015 22:33 (five years ago) link

This story has been floating around since last August, but this is as good a place as any to mention that Music and Literature reprinted one of Ann Quin's uncollected stories:

one way street, Thursday, 4 June 2015 16:25 (five years ago) link

eight months pass...

alan burns' work seems near impossible to find.

Just started reading, "Celebrations, a Novel" and what a peculiar thing it is. Was he using cut-ups, fold-ins, whateva?

Demeraray & Essequebo (Tom D.), Wednesday, 10 February 2016 17:51 (four years ago) link

eleven months pass...

... turns out he was. I really liked that book too. Followed that up with "Babel", which is ALL cut-ups and is tough to read for any more than a few pages at a time, often hilarious and/or disturbing. Trying to read "Europe After the Rain" right now and finding it a bit of a slog, tho that might be more down to me than the book.

Eats like Elvis, shits like De Niro (Tom D.), Wednesday, 25 January 2017 09:37 (three years ago) link

five months pass...

(have yet to actually read the one novel of his i did eventually find)

no lime tangier, Thursday, 13 July 2017 08:16 (three years ago) link

Oh, good. Not avaiable in the UK though. I've got another one of his novels lined up to read, I'll get round to it eventually.

weird echo of the falsies (Tom D.), Thursday, 13 July 2017 08:55 (three years ago) link

The publisher has some good reprints, but their books are incredibly ugly.

Mince Pramthwart (James Morrison), Friday, 14 July 2017 05:12 (three years ago) link

seven months pass...


^ A programme on all of this. Managed to raise a smile early on for a couple of mins worrying away as to whether this is a group or not (unlike France say) - its got that insecurity of 'have the Brits done anything since Shakespeare and Milton?' about it. 20 mins in and I'm not hearing any new points but it doesn't matter. Its got some nice archive stuff.

xyzzzz__, Sunday, 11 March 2018 12:51 (two years ago) link

lol @ Brooke-Rose making a weird point 25 mins in that you wouldn't read her books on the train (which is a consumer product). I am so reading her on public transport.

xyzzzz__, Sunday, 11 March 2018 12:55 (two years ago) link

Eimear McBride does take a knife to a lot of this (in a nice enough way). As in Beckett is a lot better than this.

Good discussion of the poetry (unexpected amount of time given to Bob Cobbing), although they could've discussed J H Prynne. I suspect much of the poetry and Ann Quin (on the prose side) is what will endure.

xyzzzz__, Sunday, 11 March 2018 19:46 (two years ago) link

one year passes...

Just finished "See the Old Lady Decently". Didn't like it much tbh.

The Inner Mounting Phlegm (Tom D.), Tuesday, 10 September 2019 13:57 (ten months ago) link

... also "Thru" by Christine Brooke-Rose is sitting waiting for me but I'm not in the mood.

The Inner Mounting Phlegm (Tom D.), Tuesday, 10 September 2019 13:58 (ten months ago) link

xp the construction is kinda interesting but yeah remember being completely nonplussed when i finally managed to get hold of a copy

devvvine, Tuesday, 10 September 2019 15:39 (ten months ago) link

It's the worst thing of his I've read, though "Trawl" is pretty boring.

The Inner Mounting Phlegm (Tom D.), Tuesday, 10 September 2019 15:48 (ten months ago) link

need to reread trawl; remember it being pretty slow going but certain bits, like the evacuee class war epiphany, always come back to me

devvvine, Tuesday, 10 September 2019 15:57 (ten months ago) link

i deal with tom stoppard at work occasionally and am always tempted to ask about their beef

devvvine, Tuesday, 10 September 2019 15:58 (ten months ago) link

Big Bryan had a beef with everyone, more or less.

The Inner Mounting Phlegm (Tom D.), Tuesday, 10 September 2019 15:59 (ten months ago) link

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