Thursday 25 August 2022

From "Games Authors Play" by Peter Hutchinson (Methuen, 1983)

About the puzzles that authors set for readers. Here are a few quotes as a reminder that fashions change.

  • "the detective story proper only begins with Edgar Allan Poe and his Chevalier Dupin" (p.24)
  • "The nature of allegory has changed over the centuries, developing from its medieval and Renaissance mode (in which correspondences between certain abstraction or generalisations and the figures of the new plot were straightforward and rather naive) to a more 'subversive' kind after the end of the seventeenth century. It then became a more satirical form, in which a political aim was often apparent" (p.54)
  • "Social games would seem to have preceded sporting ones as a popular form of parallel in literature, but the emphasis now seems to fall rather on sport" (p.68)
  • Updike's "The Centaur" ends with a "Mythological Index", "a long list of mythological figures who may be seen to feature in the novel, together with the page number(s) on which they supposedly appear" (p.75)
  • "Historical periods of intense intellectual activity and self-discovery seem to have provided the best moments for paradox to flourish. As a self-conscious, overtly intellectual, often ingenuous exercise of the mental faculties, it requires a responsive audience as much as a brilliant exponent" (p.87)
  • "The Elizabethans readily employed puns in such serious contexts; our own age prefers them as jokes" (p.104)

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