mercoledì, aprile 14, 2010

Mental deterioration or otherwise

Oh argh. Stayed up all hours last night reading The Name of Rose. Re-reading it, actually - I think. I'm pretty sure I read it ten years ago or so and thought it was crap, and otherwise don't remember anything about it. I don't think it's crap now, obviously, I don't stay up on schoolnights reading what I think is crap, but I do have a sneaking suspicion The Instance of the Fingerpost is a lot better. But more on that after I've knocked off the last fifty pages of The Name of the Rose, because The Instance of the Fingerpost's weakest point was its ending (though it was still quite good, miles better than most of the dross we get told is good these days), so if Umberto Eco managed to pull something really splendid out of his ass I may have to change my mind.

And also I have a sneaking suspicion that The Instance of the Fingerpost would have been impossible without The Name of the Rose. But being a simple reader and not a historian of literature - thank Jeebus for small mercies and the post-grad decisions I managed not to get wrong - what enabled what is less important to me than what is awesomer than what.

Anyways, what is odd is that I thought The Name of the Rose was so crappy ten years ago and that I'm enjoying it now, enough to exhaust myself utterly going into a very demanding couple of work days. It makes me wonder what's happening to my brains as I age . . . if they're getting better or if they're getting worse.

Ten years ago, I was 21; I'd just finished my undergrad degree, so I was hitting a theoretically high level of abstract knowledge on one hand; and on the other I was doing lots of drugs, fucking whatever had a nice smile, and had managed to get such sparkling results over my early academic career not because of the knowledge I was able to keep and synthesize in my brains, but because my genius pedagogue mother had trained me to successfully interpret the academic instructions of professors and their teaching assistants (who sadly are not the world's most capable communicators or pegagogues, not even in the fucking top ten frankly); most of the other students knew a lot more things than I did but had a harder time deciphering the often contradictory or confusing accounts of what their professors wanted.

Now I'm 31, and my reading has gone all over the place in the intervening years in a way that pleases me, and I'm reasonably certain I know a hell of a lot more things than I did ten years ago; but I'm older and I'm exhausting myself on a daily basis at a fucking yuppie job that uses my brains up.

So am I dumber now, and that's why I'm enjoying The Name of the Rose, or was I dumber when I was 21, and that's why I thought it was crappy? Don't know. Oh well. Shut up brain, or I'll stab you with a Q-Tip.

2 commenti:

chris ha detto...

Interesting .. I read The Name of the Rose at 20 and hated it as well. Maybe it was all the fucking that kept us either more focused or more distracted. "Does this book blow my mind? No? Then it's crap." I'd go for How to travel with a salmon any day but after reading your post i think i may give The Name of the Rose another try.

Mistress La Spliffe ha detto...

You know though, I think I fuck more now than when I was 20. That will probably change once children appear, of course.

Yeah, give it a chance, and just go into it as though it wasn't a novel, but some sort of parable - the characters just aren't that novel-y, but the ideas and images are ace.