Friday, 25 May 2007

The great threes of literature at the end of the world

JINNI ASKS: Is there something PC knows that she is not telling us? I refer to her comment: 'in these pre-apocalyptic days of late capitalism'. Pre-apocalyptic? Should I start stocking up on baked beans and bottles of water, to say nothing of several hundred novels to read while starving, and/or fighting of the hungry hordes?

PC replies dolefully: Yes.

Between the fundies and the economic rationalists (not to mention the fundie economic rationalists -- it's a big overlap), I really do think we are in for it one way or another; if the crusades don't get us the climate change will, while those in charge simply go on using the profit motive as a justification for everything from climate change denial to sending more troops to Baghdad.

If Jinni is who I think she is, she is better equipped than I to foretell the future in any case. ;-)


EMILY: "Double, double, toil and trouble, Fire burn and cauldron bubble" .. um ... eye of newt and toe of frog? Poison'd entrails? Baboon's blood? Bugger, I can't remember how this goes.

ANNE: This is Yorkshire, there are no baboons for miles. Will one of the dogs do?

EMILY: No! Don't you dare touch those dogs!

ANNE: Pity.

EMILY: "When shall we three meet again?"

CHARLOTTE: Oh God, don't say that. You know not what you say, Em. As usual.

EMILY: Look, shut up and play properly, will tha'? "In thunder, lightning or in rain."

ANNE: "Oh, if only we could get to Moscow!"

CHARLOTTE: "Who's been sleeping in my bed?"

ANNE: "All for one, and one for all!"


* Roll on the heather laughing their arses off]

EMILY: You never play properly! I hate you! [Runs off sobbing.]

ANNE [sitting up]: That's funny, I never thought of Emily as a wuss.

CHARLOTTE: Very out of character. Must be the red cordial.

ANNE: Or the water supply to the parsonage, you know, the underground channel that feeds the well, the one that runs through that very overcrowded graveyard right next to the house.

CHARLOTTE: Good point.

ANNE: Or the genetic modification.

CHARLOTTE: [Looking round her thoughtfully at the blasted heath]: Actually, you know, I think it might be a bit late for that. Look how blasted this heath is.

ANNE: You mean ...?

CHARLOTTE: Yes, I think it's all over. Let's go.

ANNE: Go where?

[They do not move.]


Jinni said...

Dear Sisters
I’ve been writing what American students call a ‘term paper’ so I’ve been unable ‘til now to take part in PC’s wonderful literary game. The three literatures? Methinks there are more ... MacBeth, Godot, Goldilocks (my favourite bedtime story), The Three Musketeers (is there some thing about three we need to know?) and, if you count the title, the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the galaxy, which makes five. I think there is another one, (six is a saintly number too) but I can’t place it. That’s the thing about intertextuality, it is a never-ending game.
In reference to being outed, who said this?: ‘In that large book that overhangs the earth/and people call the heavens, it well may be/that it was written in his stars at birth/love was to be his death; for certainly/the death of everyman is there to see/patterned in stars clearer than in glass,/could one but read how all will come to pass.’ He adds, wisely, but I suspect, a little sadly, that even though all is written plain, ‘Man cannot read it, he is dull of brain.’ (Apologies for the ‘translation’, I don’t have it in its original.)
Of course all this depends on whether or not one believes the stars impel or simply signify, warn about or describe what’s possible but not fixed. I for one pin my hopes on human agency and choice.


Pavlov's Cat said...

Oh, well done. Five out of six is brilliant, particularly since the Douglas Adams reference was inadvertent. The one you missed was Chekhov: his Three Sisters spend the whole play sighing 'Oh, if only we could go to Moscow!'

I dream of some sort of Tom Stoppardish thingy about the Brontë Sisters, the Three Sisters and the Weird Sisters -- perhaps with a bit of Terry Pratchett thrown in; I can see Granny Weatherwax et al in this company, and a pastiche at two removes is always good value. Post-post-modernism -- the Prime Minister would turn in his grave, if he were dead.

lucy tartan said...

I really enjoyed that, and just wanted to add that of late whenever I add a new book to my library I think of the near future when electricity will be rationed and there won't be any tv or radio or internet. But there will be books, and, I hope, candles.