Thursday, March 22, 2007

van Karajanstein reads von Doderer III - On The Outskirts of the City

Our narrator, Georg von Geyrenhoff disappears in this chapter. Or maybe it's him - he's not nearly so interested in talking about himself.

Well...it seems like him, as he tells us the story of the beautiful young Emma Drobil and her suitor Dwight Williams. Except he seems to be in love with another woman, an older woman, a woman who has recently lost her leg.

Indeed, it's why he's in Vienna. Alas, the object of his desire is in Munich, so Ms. Drobil will have to do.

Mr. Williams is a lepidopterist. Emma is good with languages. And Mary, "the broken-open fruit", the object of Dwight's desires?

Dwight and Anna sit on a rock in the middle of a brook. They talk about things that aren't important, and they wonder what will happen. So do I.

***

"Morpho Menelaus" was the name of the creature; this Latin, or rather Greek name, together with the date and place of the find, was qwritten on a small label pasted on the bottom of the case...
Dwight took occasion to remark that to his mind not only this indescribably luxurious creature but all of creation in general was pure art pour l'art (a fact which lent it such nobility), at which statement Emma Drobil, a sensible hardheaded girl, looked at him with some amazement.
This is all about Emma and Dwight, and yet it's all really about Dwight and Mary. The Overture, which seemed so clear, so preperatory, has been follwed by an this trio movement, a scherzo fragment.

One begins to get a feel for Doderer's Vienna. Not the narrator's Vienna, but the author's. At least I think this is what's starting to come through. There is a pedantry to the narrator which leads one to believe it's our friend
von Geyrenhoff, but it's too early to say much more, and so this entry, much like this chapter, must remain a an nfinished thought.

What do we do about these kinds of things? What do we do when we leave feeling as though no meaning has been conveyed?

We shall have to cross our fingers.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

what is the publication date/publisher of yr edition and how did you get it? i'm trying to buy this through amazon but the quartet edition trans. by the winstons says it's only 464 pages and i know that cant be right...not sure if it's a misprint or an abbreviated version, in which case i'd have to find an older one. thanks.

Otto van Karajanstein said...

The copy I have is the Sun and Moon reprint from 1990, which is, I'm afraid, out of print!

And I don't even own it - I happen to have a local library with a copy, which I will be renewing for quite some time.

Let's see if we can get enough demand here on this site to be able to go to the publisher and see if we can get another run! Who knows?