Titan’s Sly and Impatient Narrator

Reading the first pages of Jean Paul’s novel, I have rediscovered how difficult it is. And it’s the narrator’s fault! He knows so much about so many things that he can’t help stuffing it all into every sentence. He is also impatient—and here the first moment of reading when I burst into laughter.

The narrator is describing why Albano’s father has summoned him from Germany (where he has undergone two decades of education) to northern Italy where they will see one another for the first time. Perhaps it’s this, the narrator thinks, or maybe it’s for another reason, or . . . and here he comes to a stop and declares that he would be a fool if he were to burden the beginning of his book with a detailed and meticulous and magnetically declined astronomical chart of all the reasons behind the thinking of this great man who is the father of Albano: “—he, not I, is the father of his son and he is the one to know why he has so gruffly summoned him.” And that’s that.

About Scott Abbott

Ph.D. in German Literature from Princeton University, 1979. Then I taught at Vanderbilt University, BYU, and Utah Valley State College. At Utah Valley University, I'm Director of the Program in Integrated Studies and former Chair of the Department of Humanities and Philosophy. My publications include a book on Freemasonry and the German Novel, two co-authored books with Zarko Radakovic (published in Serbo-Croatian in Belgrade), and translations of a book by Austrian author Peter Handke and of a catalogue of an exhibit called "The German Army and Genocide." More famously, my children are in the process of creating good lives for themselves: as a model and manager, as a teacher of Chinese language, as a watershed scientist and science writer, as a jazz musician, as a corrections officer, as university students, and as parents. I share my life with UVU historian Lyn Bennett and our yellow dog Blue. Some publications at http://works.bepress.com/scott_abbott/
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2 Responses to Titan’s Sly and Impatient Narrator

  1. flowerville says:

    my titan book has come today, not as pretty as your volumes, but Inseltaschenbuch nevertheless. only just past the first few pages, and it’s hard to read it without an almost constant smile.


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