The Weirdtongue Palaver

I have believed in the literary theory of ‘The Intentional Fallacy’ since I first encountered it in the mid 1960s. Whether I am right or wrong in this belief is, I accept, arguable but it is a sincere philosophy of mine. Not something to be covered briefly here. But what I will say, in the context of the Weirdtongue Palaver, is that this literary theory broadly suggests, inter alia, that once a book is posited in the audience arena, it then becomes the possession of all its readers, including its author who, I argue, has no more or no less fallibility, no more or no less rights, than any other reader. Hence my recent reviews or commentaries of some books for which I was responsible before they were posited in the audience arena, as well as my real-time reviewing since 2008 of “friends’” books such as those of Denis Diderot, John Cowper Powys, Thomas Mann, TQF etc.

I am not swayed from such a life-long belief by buckling, for authorial self-interest, under any ‘political’ pressure of fashions that, we are told here, seem to apply to book reviews these days.

And, as an aside, there can surely be no benefit to any author in keeping quiet about any reviews that cross a line of mockery or tendentiousness.

[Edit (8.00 am 19/9/13): at least one more comment below in comment stream.]


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8 responses to “The Weirdtongue Palaver

  1. There is some good sense in the mishmash of 15 points that blur together in my mind on the linked blog post above. But I feel that post is generally alarmist, discouraging freedom of speech rather than encouraging it. I agree, however, that all possible repercussions should be weighed in the balance for any particular author.
    Before making a judgement on the ‘Weirdtongue Palaver’ and the various subliminal and not so subliminal, merely niggly and some not just niggly, items of onslaught upon me by the TQF publisher from ‘the ‘Wacked Out’ article onward, I suggest that any interested parties (including the TQF publisher himself) read all the evidence available, if they can bear it!

    “Theaker said something about getting on with some work and left the room.” – Howard Phillips (in TQF #44)

  2. “Brun complains loudly that Palissot, his guest and friend, has written some couplets attacking him. Palissot had to write the couplets, and it’s Brun who’s in the wrong. Poinsinet complains loudly that Palissot’s attributed to him the couplets he wrote against Brun. Palissot had to attribute to Poinsinet the couplets he wrote against Brun, and it’s Poinsinet who’s in the wrong………………”

    From Rameau’s Nephew by Denis Diderot

  3. “After this argument, with which they could have circled the globe without running out of things to say or agreeing, they were overtaken by a storm which obliged them to hurry on their way…”

    From Jacques The Fatalist by Denis Diderot.

  4. A ‘palaver’ is taken from Stephen King’s meaning of the word in ‘THE DARK TOWER’ series, where people sit around the campfire chewing the fat and, I imagine, passing around a pipe of peace when necessary (a metaphorical pipe as I don’t want to encourage smoking!).

  5. Just seen THE PIXIES on Jools Holland’s LATER – great stuff.

  6. TQF publisher’s “Thought 2″ here a few day ago:

    I do not think this issue is a good template to base a theory on.
    The Weirdtongue review by TQF, its context and the subsequent actions of myself and the TQF publisher (whatever the rights and wrongs) do not bode well for anyone believing this to be a typical situation from which to draw such conclusions.

    Also, a line is drawn not to make a review beyond the pale, but if a review is beyond the pale then the line is naturally drawn.

  7. I feel that this whole issue from my point of view should now solely reside with the comments above and my ‘interview’ answers here:
    That thread seemed to end naturally on 21 September with 49 comments in total. I respectfully do not intend to return to it.