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« Argument? Check. Evidence? Check. Then What, Exactly, Is The Problem? | Main | Henry James & Fletcherism; or, "The Gospel of Much Chewing" »

Sunday, 08 July 2007


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Vance Maverick

This is superb. I peeked ahead at the signature, expecting to read "Teresa Nielsen Hayden."

Jonathan Dresner

First-rate century-old snark, indeed.

Is this the same Emma Carleton who famously opined "The road winds up the hill to meet the height; Beyond the locust hedge it curves from sight -- And yet no man would foolishly contend. That where he sees it not, it makes an end."

And did she ever write anything else? Google doesn't seem to think so.

Vance Maverick

On thinking it over, I'm a little puzzled still by the drift of the Uncalled-For Remark at the end. Does she endorse the reductive comparison of Wharton's style to James's? She certainly spells out clearly what it entails, if it's meant seriously (making witty use of the terms of the rest of the discussion). But the committee referral in the last parenthesis suggests she doesn't after all think we should do such violence to Wharton. (Or perhaps some third "literary female"....)


That's fabulous. It really does make you think that all this post-modern era stuff is nonsense and that blog comments really are just electric letters to the editor or quiet phone call ... conferences.

Btw, "Welsh Rabbit Fiction Statistics" would be a really great indie-rock band name.

Tim Lacy

The title and parts of this post reminded me of Dickens' Office of Circumlocution in Little Dorrit. - TL


Jonathan, I'm not sure whether it's the same Emma Carleton, as I didn't try to track her down. This is all a tangent in my research, an attempt to justify using the article in the previous post as a sectional springboard; next time I'm fiddling around the (digital) archives, however, I'll make note to look her up.

Vance, that "Uncalled-for Remark" puzzles me, esp. as regards the presumed gender of the letter-writers, because the Times announced the gender of Newport and Lenox in late November -- after the publication of Newport's response to Lenox -- and it's easy to imagine Carleton may've written her 5 December before 25 November, esp. as it only reference the first letter written by each. So "American Literary Female" whose "Rash Remarks" Carleton defends could be Newport, who Lenox first identified as a female, as the letter could've been posted before the Times correction. As for the content of the uncalled-for remark, it seems a typically desultory comparison of James to Wharton, but with a twist: Carleton only likes James "in his 'better sorts,'" which I take to be part of the wide unpopularity of late James: Wings of the Dove, The Golden Bore, &c.

You know, JPool, reading through some of these exchanges is quite a bit like following blog comments, minus the convenient collocation. Holbo once had an idea of recreating the Kierkegaard's Corsair affair online, in real-time blog format, and it's not a bad one. Something like that could be down, and wittily, I think. Ah, to have free time!

As for what "Welsh Rabbit Fiction Studies" refers to, I've not the slightest; but it would make a great band name and/or Guided by Voices album and/or song title.

Vance Maverick

I thought Carleton was invoking the protection of a committee for her own (uncalled-for) remark.

IIRC (and I don't plan to consult with Wikipedia to confirm this) Welsh Rabbit is so called because it contains no rabbit -- it's what the poor Welsh are reduced to, or perhaps what the venal Welsh try to put over on us. (Renamed to "rarebit" in the PC spirit of "jaw harp".) I took her point to be that there was nothing objective beneath the smooth, creamy claim of a "large majority".

Rodney Herring

Wow, weird. Just this weekend, I read the following:

"I went into the Parker House one night about midnight, and I saw four doctors there eating lobster salad, and devilled crab, and washing it down with champagne; and I made up my mind that the doctor need n't talk to me any more about what was whole some. I was going in for what was good. And there aint anything better for supper than Welsh rabbit in this world."

from A Modern Instance

Vance Maverick

Cheese sauce (ideally, beer-based cheese sauce) over toast. My mom made it with tomato, but that's probably a latter-day or Californian intrusion.


Could that Welsh Rabbit Fiction business have anything to do with Winsor McCay's Dreams of a Rarebit Fiend?

I know it's a hugely long shot, but both are 1904.

Ray Davis

Not that long a shot, Sisyphus -- I immediately took 'em to be referring to the same (at that time) popular belief about rich food and bizarre dreams. It's unlikely that one would've influenced the other, but it also seems unlikely that they weren't influenced by the same milieu.

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