A Stranger in Olondria - Starter 6 - Books as Objects of Power

0

'“I know what the vallon is,” she said. “It’s jut.”'.
'A simple jut presided over my master’s books in squat, enigmatic silence: one external soul watching the others.'. 
'But preserve your mistrust of the page, for a book is a fortress, a place of weeping, the key to a desert, a river that has no bridge, a garden of spears... And I introduce [children] to books... And I tell them: This is a journey to jepnatow-het, the land of shadows. Do not mistake it for the country of the real.' 
'And written words possess order, much more so than the words we speak'.
(Jissavet, then Jevick about Lunre, then a quote from an unnamed source, then Jevick, then Tialon).
Agree or disagree? More widely, how might books be like externalised souls? Or the daemons of Philip Pullman' s writings? 

Comments

  • 1

    I saw much of this book as an effort to speak of the non-duality of the immanent and transcendent, and the problems which that exposes in language, and which "religious" language attempts to face, and which when secularised causes problems.

    Think it was important that not everyone has a jut, pointing to its social origin (Durkheim?). I think the "mythic arc" of the novel, is that our protagonist becomes a person who has cast away their jut (forget the name of those folks), which is not the same as being a person who does not have one, though when isolated from process what could be the difference between those who do not have one because of it being cast away from those who do not have one? And process cannot be found to ground a difference on, it can only be told.

    As a supplement to this, did anyone have any idea about the role of memory in this novel? And the relation of living memory (memory of the living) with dead memory (memory of the dead)? Think this might be a key which opens this text as a critique of our present situation.

  • 1

    @BarnerCobblewood What's "our present situation"?

    I agree with the mythic arc. Elsewhere, @RichardAbbott asked if it bothered us the Jevick shed his spice trader identity so soon. I would argue that was never his identity - is was rather an identity that was expected of him. When it was useful, he used it. When it no longer was, he shed it. He was on a journey to find himself.

    If a vallon is an autobiography (was vallon defined? Can't remember. See - too many proprietary words) then in a sense it makes sense to be a jut. Both are, I think, symbolic rather than defining. "Do not mistake it for the country of the real". And I agree with the last, that written words possess order in a way that spoke words cannot.

  • 1

    @Apocryphal said:
    @BarnerCobblewood What's "our present situation"?

    I meant the changing influence regarding the importance of people, things, events, etc., e.g. between authoritative legitimacy according to a book (science), and legitimacy deriving from public statements of individual remembering an event, e.g. (hopefully not too contentious) the first World War interpreted within the frame of transnational history, vs. the public observance of remembrance day.

  • 0

    @BarnerCobblewood said:
    Think it was important that not everyone has a jut, pointing to its social origin (Durkheim?). I think the "mythic arc" of the novel, is that our protagonist becomes a person who has cast away their jut (forget the name of those folks), which is not the same as being a person who does not have one, though when isolated from process what could be the difference between those who do not have one because of it being cast away from those who do not have one? And process cannot be found to ground a difference on, it can only be told.

    I agree - there is a considerable difference between not having something because it has been consciously discarded, and not having it because you never had it.

  • 0

    @BarnerCobblewood said:
    As a supplement to this, did anyone have any idea about the role of memory in this novel? And the relation of living memory (memory of the living) with dead memory (memory of the dead)? Think this might be a key which opens this text as a critique of our present situation.

    I suppose the writing of the vallon gives Jissavet what you might call a mythic remembrance, whereas what she had in "real life" was a rather prosaic one of truncated failure. So her life in "jepnatow-het, the land of shadows" is considerably more vivid than her earthly one: "Do not mistake it for the country of the real"

Sign In or Register to comment.