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Crime Fiction 19

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McGill University
English (Arts)
ENGL 324
Thomas Heise

March 22 - make-up quiz next tues, 2pm 135A Arts - difference between rich and poor - three words to describe american psycho - back to Auster: walking through NY - Auster is channeling Emmerson's idea of the transparent eyeball - flâneur - handout from last time - flâneur = someone who strolls through the city - beautiful boulevards of Paris - cultural phenomenon of people strolling through the streets - looking in windows and observing goods - also a subject of literature (Baudelaire) - Quinn as a flâneur and what that means - reading the city: this is part of what the flâneur did. understanding the changing of the city - social diversity - emergence and solidification of that - new hero, product of modernity - "spectator of the modern world" - for him, the domestic life is dull and possibly the cause for the feeling of crisis - the man who is only at home existentially when he is not at home physically - transiency of modernity - brief encounters with people - a few pages in to ch. 8: "there remained the problem of how to occupy his thoughts ... only thought that he allowed himself to have" - slapstick comedy, irony of "Stillman" - in following Stillman, he's opened himself up in to the process of merging into this other person, a kind of transistor - Quinn is kind of a literary node - receptor for the city - later, it will all come out of him in a curious way - his flâneurie creates a porous being, and an unbounded, not discrete sense of being - he can bring the outside in - what does this mean for Quinn personally? - playing strange language games - 3-4 pg into ch. 9: he's following Stillman, and Stillman tells him that the world of NY is a world of fragments - picking up pieces of junk - is an umbrella still an umbrella if it doesn't protect you from rain? - fall in the Garden of Eden as a fall in to many different tongues (Babel) - sin is what gets them cast out of the Garden, because they now recognize difference (good vs evil, man vs women) - this idea of difference is now permeating language - signifier vs signified again - "my work is very simple" - inventing new words: how do you know if you've found the right one? - story out of the made-up secretary - when we have something and keep it for a few years and then toss it away (idea of brokenness) - there's a social brokenness as well, though, and the world is full of broken people - Quinn is blind to the social brokenness that constitutes the New York of the 50's - you don't see it in the book until later - it's the level of the New York that's framed in urban space - modernism, postmodernism, realism etc mediate the world of reality - this is a very depopulated city in this novel - in shadowing him, Quinn begins to suspect that Stillman Sr's movements aren't random - world of many different tongues, over 180 languages spoken in NY - Quinn goes in to the World Trade Centre (food court) ... suggesting a new tower of babel - monuments to capitalism - like the tower of babel in that there are many different languages, common goals (making money) and they were the tallest when they were built - you can't just believe that this is random - homogeneity and heterogeneity at the same time - "the next day" > Quinn tried to look at it... - make data in to evidence - fall quickly in to a more narrow and rigid set of interpretive procedures that push us toward a result - a test case for how we interpret evidence - we should probably use to word "data" because "evidence" makes it important -
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