Jeanette Winterson


can anyone offer me any other writer other than Winterson who rewrites biblical stories?

>>By papatya   (Monday, 15 Sep 2003 21:41)

> can anyone offer me any other writer other than Winterson who rewrites biblical stories?

Good Lord, who doesn't? Narrow it down - do you want the Flood? The Passion Play? Exodus? Genesis?

>>By greenfyre   (Tuesday, 28 Oct 2003 17:42)

well, flood was one, i have been searching for British postmodern writers who deal with the biblical stories and who tell them in a new "postmodern" fashion. "boating for beginners" is as such. is it narrow enough?

>>By papatya   (Tuesday, 28 Oct 2003 19:41)

Timothy Findlay, "Not Wanted on the Voyage" (OK, Cdn, not British)
Julian Barnes "THe History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters"

there's another, but it's just not coming to me at the moment (but heck, I'm an activist, Lit is just an interest). have you tried googling something like - novel "the flood" retelling biblical British? or variations thereof?


>>By greenfyre   (Monday, 3 Nov 2003 05:53)

:)) i have read Barnes' novel but it is actually not a novel but some short stories
and as a policy my department demands only the British authors otherwise i could have used norman mailer and the like but alas!
anyway i have found some British novelists dealing with this issue and my advisor approved of them
Jenny Diski "Only Human: a Comedy"
Jim Crace "Quarantine" ' recommend you read them esp. Diski is quite fun to read
thanks anyway now i am searching for secondary sources but as the authors i have chosen are all very contemporary i am having a difficult time
it seems i will be the first one ever to prepare an MA thesis on these particular books

>>By papatya   (Monday, 3 Nov 2003 10:00)

There's another thesis for you, how linked does a collection of short stories have to be before they are a novel? Why are "Infinite Jest" or "Gravity's Rainbow" novels and "History..." isn't?

Like so much in life, being Candian vs British is mostly a matter of timing. ;-)

> Jenny Diski "Only Human: a Comedy", Jim Crace "Quarantine"

Thanks - they go on "the list". Another rhetorical question, what makes it a 'Flood' story - the water or the ark? must both be present? what about a novel about the one's left behind?

Sorry, just thinking aloud. Enjoy

>>By greenfyre   (Monday, 3 Nov 2003 14:37)

hmmmmm after attending a lecture on Derrida and poststructuralism your questions or questionings freshened me :))
it can be regarded a novel but it is, genrewise, is not (this is what my advisor thinks) of course from a postmodern perspective it can be regarded a novel, maybe a novel concerned with the actually disconnected, antilinear nature of human history - we always tend to think of history as a chain of continuous events but who can claim such a thing now -
what you have offered - the novel of the ones that are left behind- well, official history ignores them but a postmodern writer can write their history, actually winterson's "boating for beginners" in a way does this reversal of heroes.
canon and categorization operates not always through logic so i really dont have the answer why a certain work of art is novel and the other is not, if you have an answer to that let me know
thanks anyway
take care

>>By papatya   (Monday, 3 Nov 2003 14:47)

re: bible/postmodernist authors
this may be an odd note. the first page of moby-dick offers an 'etmology' on the origin of the word whale. following a list of names from ancient times it shows the slow but sure morph of the ancient hebraic and greek words (the greek being ketos maybe?) to a current one, emphasizing logocentric primacy and ensuring 'continuity of history' papatya mentioned. but at the bottom of the list melville ensures his trump: the word for 'whale' from the pacific islands issues from the line of this history, 'peekee nuee nuee'. in comic form he emphasizes the slippage of ths signifier in this seemingly silly term. he exposes the presence of a whole non-western world, with an entirely different origin. more importantly, he exposes the presence of a diversity beyond the knowledge of modern man.
So--on page one of his greatest attempt, Melville thrashes the centrality of the Word one hundred and fifty years before derrida breaks the news, and he does so in an excercise that makes derridean philosophy seem like a waste of good tree. if you are unfamiliar with the novel, it goes on to deconstruct heterosexuality, capitalism and industry, class structure, racial differentiation, philosophy, and more. more relevantly, it is an express reference to biblical tales, in particular Job, Ishmael, and Ahab; and on the way Adam and Lucifer. the book is fully biblically obsessed, but watch out: it uses the Bible as an dark epistemology, associating it with evil. he does this in an attempt to demonize the great mistake of modern 'man': the dangerous 'solidification' of meaning that underlies nationalism, bureacracy, industrial fury, political and cultural repression. and all the while it is an experimental proof on the diversity and slippage of language, and consequently, reality.
only read past page 26 and you'll have found two men have slept together. read to 106 and you'll find men squeezing sperm in one another's company in a joyous and comic celebration. read to the very end and you'll encounter the misery of biblical slavery and modern misdirection. i think of moby-dick as an early post-modern text because of its sexually and politically ultra-progressive insitence on deconstructing both the logos and episteme of its day. and because of its summary encapsulation and 'sinking' of the modern predicament, and its purposeful urge to move forward out of such a primitive state. in more traditional definitions i think of the text as post-modern because of the multiplicity of its aesthetic, drawing from several styles of text (including dramatic script) and allowing each aesthetic a flexibility of meaning, in fact, a void/overflow. before the modernists can get rolling, Melville has passed them by aesthetically. the trouble, his book has been so imposing and so under-read that most scholars laying their hands on it belong to old schools. take alook if you can. a thesis on melville's post-modernist recapitulation of biblical themes is long overdue.

>>By Alisdair   (Tuesday, 4 Nov 2003 00:12)

well thank you Alisdair for this detailed information on Melville, i have the book i will read it and i will talk to a professor who is actually a Melville expert, about your passage, but as you said i have to deal with contemporaries and more importantly contemporary Brits. why dont you try Jeanette Winterson if you havent done already. for me it tells more about my world and my "reality" than Melville does and her books are shorter :))
take care

>>By papatya   (Tuesday, 4 Nov 2003 01:02)

If I had the answer as to "what is a novel" I would be publishing and tenured.

For my own purposes, it is a narrative with a thread, whether plot, theme, character, or ??. Otherwise how to encompass Fawcett, Barnes, Wallace, DeLillo, etc?

Nuff said - good luck with it all...

>>By greenfyre   (Tuesday, 4 Nov 2003 04:54)

what a novel is has created a great amount of literary debate among the scholar esp. after 60s with the flourishing of these postmodern and poststructuralist theories
i tend to read novels as texts and delay the problematization of the genre :)

>>By papatya   (Tuesday, 4 Nov 2003 13:05)

Have you ever had the pleasure of hearing Winterson talk to an audience?

I have, a few years back, and she still sounds like the missionary she was brought up to be. Such fervour and strength in that woman ! She breathes the very language she uses. It was a splendid hour, and a personal hight for me as I did my university dissertation on her.
(In the Belgium educational system this is a piece of academic writing that you spend two years researching and writing, and it plays an important role in graduating).

If ever you get the chance to meet her for real, by all means do.

>>By Aywin   (Tuesday, 4 Nov 2003 18:08)

what was the exact title of your dissertation Aywin, i am also working on Jeanette Winterson for my MA degree
and i have presented a paper on her "sexing the cherry" at a conference

>>By papatya   (Wednesday, 5 Nov 2003 07:57)

It was called Aiming the Arrow, and I wrote it for the University of Ghent (Gent) in Flanders, Belgium. It dealt only with what were at that time the latest books: Art&Lies, GUT Symmetries and Art Objects. I'm not sure whether my writings about her will be of interest to you, however. In fact I just wanted to make a statement, using a lot of her own words. It said: stop talking about literature and start reading it. But who knows?
My name (always useful, isn't it?) is Kirstine Vanlierde. There have to be at least two more dissertations on her by different students as well. They were all supervised by Professor Dr. N. Rowan. Unfortunately she retired last year so you might not get in touch with her anymore. But try the Department of English literature or the library. That should get you somewhere. Good luck !

>>By Aywin   (Wednesday, 5 Nov 2003 12:41)

But speaking of Winterson - novel idea for this forum - has anyone read King of Capri yet? I must confess to liking her early work better than the more recent things (eg Power Book), and am wondering where it fits.

>>By greenfyre   (Wednesday, 5 Nov 2003 21:36)

no i havent read it yet, but hope to read it as soon as possible. for me the best of her works is "sexing the cherry"
and kirstine thank you for the info

>>By papatya   (Wednesday, 5 Nov 2003 22:21)

Personally I enjoyed Art&Lies most of all, but I know I have a taste for dense and difficult writing. I don't mind pealing ten layers while I read a book as many times. A&L is also the starting point of what she afterwards considered to be a sequence (wich runs up to The Power Book). As usual, the first book is the strongest. Her style was getting tired along ther way, it seemed.
King of Capri should be different. I definitely hope it is. Haven't read it yet, though.

>>By Aywin   (Thursday, 6 Nov 2003 16:47)

Well let me know. I liked Art & Lies fine, but after that there just didn't seem to be the passion I felt in Passion, if you know what I mean ;-)

>>By greenfyre   (Thursday, 6 Nov 2003 18:09)

I have read the passion, gut symmetries, the world and other places, and failed to complete written on the body, having been sucked in by the quick snare and surge of murakami's wind-up bird chronicle.
jeannette winterson is always on the verge of being my favorite writer, but only in a potential sense. each time i pick up a book of hers and hold it in hand i get the sense that she is about to do what I have always been waiting for: to capitulate that new aesthetic of postermodern grit/sex/liberation/zeitgeist/misery/etc. but every time I read her she falls drastically short. I cross my fingers that one day she'll be as amazing as I know she really can be; as of now I am waiting and biting my lip.
the most difficult part is knowing how much she has drawn from her contemprary, John Berger, almost explicitly taking details for her work from his passages. stylistically she shadows him and attempts to pull his rich modern aesthetic into her domain, but she loses herself in the act of imitation. her fiction is waiting to harden I think. it leans on sentiment when it should rely on sense, and muffles its intelligence in its unsprung nostalgia. while Berger often prepares his emotional floods, Winterson writes every line in that flood. the presence of her intentionality limits the suspension of disbelief. this may sound like I dont like her. but I think she's amazing. Im just always frustrated, because she is on the verge of literary greatness and instead is miring in contemporary quickness. one day jeannette winterson will write a work instead of a contemporary novel. thanks you guys, for all the inspiring thinking....

>>By Alisdair   (Thursday, 6 Nov 2003 22:27)

Has anyone read the powerbook yet? as I was intrigued by the way that she dealt with the notion of illusion and reality perhaps even illusive reality of you like, the hyper-real and of escape through whatever our chosen drug, literature, the net, love....
i think that perhaps in this she has acheived what you felt lacking in the others alisdair

>>By mebaroo   (Thursday, 15 Jan 2004 21:05)

I have just found this site and I was surprised with papatya's idea as I am writing an essay about the same subject, especially the use of bible passages in Boating for Beginners and Oranges are not the only Fruit. I would like to revise the notion of authority and is meaning in Winterson. There are lots of critics (Bilger, Doan) who deal with her as a 'person' more than a writer, if you know what i mean; I know she seems to like polemic in a way, but I would like to concentrate on the texts, in the line of Isabel Anievas Gamayo's postructuralist approach, looking at the role of traditional myths in the representation of identity.
I have found your comments useful, I really enjoyed the one about Melville, and hopefully I can use it.
I am also very concerned about comments about her novels being only a postmodern experiment. What do you think about her 'intrusions' in her novels to tell a 'moral', is she another 'fictional character' in her books?

Ready for her next book coming out soon?

>>By jara   (Sunday, 18 Apr 2004 13:34)

The discussion board is currently closed.