On 2/7/07 21:55, "Earl Sampson" <esamson3@COMCAST.NET> wrote:

> The Dictionary.com Word of the Day for yesterday (July 1) was
> "ratiocination"; one of the examples of its use reads:
> There is no question that Joyce and Nabokov. . . brilliantly explored
> and expanded the limits of language and the structure of novels, yet
> both were led irresistibly and obsessively to cap their careers with
> those cold and lifeless masterpieces, "Finnegans Wake" and "Ada," more
> to be deciphered than read by a handful of scholars whose pleasure is
> strictly ratiocination.
> -- "How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love 'Barry Lyndon'", New York
> Times, January 11, 1976
> I have never even attempted "Finnegans Wake" despite strong
> encouragement from an English Literature teacher 50 + years ago, but
> how anyone could label "Ada" "cold and lifeless"...
> Earl Sampson
> Art is not difficult because it wishes to be difficult, but because it
> wishes to be art.
>     - Donald Barthelme

Earl: I was re-reading the warm & lively Ada last night. And I regularly swim in the wakeful poly-pools of Finnegan. Your anon. reviewer is sadly deceived. I think VN would use the Stronger Opinion: “Irretrievably deceived?”

I’ve always taken the rather inkhorn term ‘ratiocination’ as ‘formal or logical thought,’ and, of course, as a mathematician, I can agree that some aspects of formal logic must appear cold and lifeless to the outsider (indeed, to some insiders.) Yet to see Joyce’s FW or Nabokov’s Ada as cold and lifeless, presumably because they encourage ‘thoughtful’ attention to allusive layers of meaning, fair takes the biscuit.

Here’s my VN sighting from yesterday’s THE (London, bien entendu) TIMES (Monday July 2, 2007)

‘The authors [of “Cinema for Managers” Francesco Bogliari, Ed.] also recommend “Murder on the Orient Express” (1974), directed by Sidney Lumet, as a “perfect example of teamwork,” and Stanley Kubrick’s “Lolita” (1967), which offers “lessons about seduction and betrayal” that will come in useful when playing the stock market.’

The gist of the book is that business execs can learn more about management techniques from movies than from plumpen manuals.
Why not, says I? But the stated reason for including “Lolita” in the fifty most managerially-helpful films seems bizarre.

All of which prompts me to send greetings to Dmitri, hoping that the mooted movie “Ada” will provide suitable lessons for Bogliari’s managers! Perhaps: how to live a long, randy life?

Stan Kelly-Bootle

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