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

I received my Ph.D. in German Literature from Princeton University in 1979. Then I taught at Vanderbilt University, BYU, and Utah Valley State College. At Utah Valley University, I directed the Program in Integrated Studies for its initial 13 years and was also Chair of the Department of Humanities and Philosophy for three years. My publications include a book on Freemasonry and the German Novel, two co-authored books with Zarko Radakovic (REPETITIONS and VAMPIRES & A REASONABLE DICTIONARY, published in Serbo-Croatian in Belgrade and in English with Punctum Books), a book with Sam Rushforth (WILD RIDES AND WILDFLOWERS, Torrey House Press), a "fraternal meditation" called IMMORTAL FOR QUITE SOME TIME (University of Utah Press), and translations of three books by Austrian author Peter Handke, of an exhibition catalogue called "The German Army and Genocide," and, with Dan Fairbanks, of Gregor Mendel's important paper on hybridity in peas. More famously, my children are in the process of creating good lives for themselves: as a model and dance/yoga studio manager, as a teacher of Chinese language, as an ecologist and science writer, as a jazz musician, as a parole officer, as a contractor, as a seasonal worker (Alaska and Park City, Utah), and as parents. I share my life with UVU historian Lyn Bennett, with whom I have written a cultural history of barbed wire -- THE PERFECT FENCE (Texas A&M University Press). 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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