After Nine Hundred Years

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Moreover, he has too bright a disposition to indulge for long in dark satire. As Neil Gaiman has aptly put it, Lafferty possessed "gravitas about things that were light" and "antigravitas about important heavy things. Lafferty, after all, was that greatest of rarities, a Roman Catholic novelist who found that his theological- philosophical vision was compatible with a career writing genre stories. In his worldview, even the apparently frivolous incident— whether past, present or distant future—comes pre-equipped with metaphysical significance.

This orientation may help explain why an author might aim to unlock the meaning of future events by looking back a couple thousand years, give or take a few millennia. Religion rarely figures in Lafferty's plots—at least not overtly—and is hardly even mentioned in passing by his characters. Lafferty's reputation, for its part, is enjoying a kind of posthumous resurrection.

David Barnett recently announced in The Guardian that Lafferty, who died in at age 87, "might just be the most important science-fiction writer you've never heard of. A few months back, a publisher released a limited edition collection of Lafferty's stories, which sold out almost immediately.

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The bottleneck seems to be copyrights and permissions rather than lack of demand. In Japan, where Lafferty's works have been more easily available, his books are still popular, even more than a decade after the author's death. Alas, Nine Hundred Grandmoters is still out print, but perhaps it too will soon be available. Second-hand copies can still be found, although at a sizable mark-up from their cover price.

Yes, perhaps you need to be a bit of a persistent antiquarian someone with a pressing curiosity and willing to dig around into the past, if you want to understand the legacy or just find copies of the books of this author. But I suspect R. Lafferty would have quite a bit of sympathy with precisely that kind of reader. Ted Gioia writes about music, literature and pop culture.

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His next book, a history of love songs, is forthcoming from Oxford University Press. Publication Date: September 14, To purchase, click on image. Follow Ted Gioia on Twitter at www.


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The State of the Art Ballard, J. There has been nothing as good since.

nine thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine - Wiktionary

He was the first to look back at the republic from the perspective of the west. His eyes were the first eyes that ever looked at us objectively that were not eyes from overseas. There were mountains at the frontier but he wanted more than mountains to look at with his restless eyes—he wanted to find out about men and how they lived together.

And because he turned back we have him forever. I never read it and have nobody to read it to me. Could you perhaps refresh your memory by a hasty glance through and then dictate to your mother … an account of the plot in general. After that I should like you to mark with blue pencil in the margin the most important passages of the plot itself , and in red pencil here and there wherever the words or dialogue seem to call for the special attention of a European If you can then return it to me soon I shall try to use whatever bears upon what I am doing.

The noted critic, Leslie Fiedler, ignites a controversy by claiming in Partisan Review that there is a homoerotic subtext in the relationship between Huck and Jim.

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I do not suggest that it is his only book of permanent interest; but it is the only one which creates its own category. Huck Finn is alone: there is no more solitary character in fiction. The fact that he has a father only emphasizes his loneliness; and he views his father with a terrifying detachment. So we come to see Huck himself in the end as one of the permanent symbolic figures of fiction; not unworthy to take a place with Ulysses, Faust, Don Quixote, Don Juan, Hamlet and the other great discoveries that man has made about himself.

He has never received his proper evaluation.

Dreiser is his older brother and Mark Twain the father of them both. This is the definitive study to date. Lettis, R. McDonnell, and W. Morris: a collection of articles and a bibliography of Huck studies. Reports that articles and books dealing chiefly with Huck totaled 43 between and ; 81 between and ; between and ; and between and Edited by Michael Patrick Hearn, it includes voluminous critical and historical commentary.

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