kiss me deadly
My chief influences age 13 were Archy & Mehitabel, The Golden Amazon and various Georgian poets, how embarrassing. They can’t be separated but formed a pure, angular complex the robustness of which I couldn’t explain now even if you offered me three pages of the TLS & said, “Write whatever you like.” Later I would add anything by Mickey Spillane or TS Eliot. That was before I fell from grace and, at seventeen or eighteen years old, after reading Murphy and “The Voices of Time” on the same day, conceived my grand plan of combining the two under the aegis of the Nouveau Roman. After that, there was no home for me but New Worlds, a magazine I proceeded to deluge with monologues featuring neither characters nor punctuation. If I’m exaggerating here, it’s not by much.
Maybe I’m peering from under too low a bar, but that sounds like a pretty good starting point.
archy & mehitabel has stuck with me a lot longer and closer than any of the Bridges, Graves, Housman, Edgar Lee Masters, or Edwin Arlington Robinson I read then. The story of the two guys who debated the immortality of the soul left at least as deep a mark as reading Nagarjuna did later. As a shortcut, I’m happy to just say Marquis-as-archy was a great writer.
The Golden Amazon never made it to American military bases and I’d begun veering high-lit-ward at thirteen, but my gynophilia would’ve guaranteed it a look.
Good ol’ Nouveau Roman. I don’t think the kids look at those anymore — their dessicated-melodramatic loss.
Be always jolly in spite of hard luck..TG…
I loved archy & mehitabel too. Not to mention it helped me discover George Herriman and Krazy Kat. Did you have the illustrated edition?
Curious. Did you or other in the New Worlds crew (sorry to lump you together like that; it’s just for the sake of efficiency) pay attention to the Nouveau-Roman inspired British writers around then? Ann Quin, Christine Brooke-Rose, Alan Burns, Eva Figes, B.S. Johnson? I’ve never seen the connection drawn. I suppose Aldiss may have been aware of them, what with “Report on Probability A”?
Hi Andrei. This was less a post about the history of NW than an essentially wry view of an early self. The Nouveau Roman didn’t have much traction inside the UK New Wave when I was part of that scene–although I can’t say what traction it might have had before I arrived.
Heavens – the 20th century. I’d almost forgotten that … 13: for me, Bradbury, Lovecraft (the best age to read him), “Elidor,” Ballard, and those Panther NW anthologies. All very credible – though I suspect an entire generation of UK SF readers got warped for good by watching “Bleep & Booster.”