Dear Associates,

I am the literary critical detective.

In my work I examine the mise en scene of classic detective stories carefully, paying attention to the smallest metaphorical detail, sifting through the facts and then distorting them according to my whim.
My friends have been kind enough to express some interest in my observations and so to this end I am making this journal available. I hope that you might also find it of some interest.

The Literary Critical Detective.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Literary Critical Detection Fever

I am experiencing a fever of literary critical detection: my heart and head are pounding, the room seems to be spinning and yet I know I cannot rest.

If it wasn't for the infernal noises drifting up from the kitchen I could almost believe myself to be dreaming myself here in this calm study. (I am reminded of Descartes' words in his first 'Meditation': 'How often has it happened to me to dream at night that I was here, in this place...'). The fact that my ears are filled with critical voices whispering ideas to me only serves to reinforce this feeling of unreality. These ghostly thoughts have caused me to forget that the text I am reading is really about memory.

Let me say, here, that I have now reached the point where I am beginning to train my mind on the literary detective's method. I admit - without any arrogance - that I find him essentially wanting.

Now, if only I can find enough days like today I might be able to finish this work and move on to my next project (a piece that I have already been commissioned to undertake).

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Case Notes

Points for further consideration:

  1. In Agatha Christie's novel Elephants Can Remember one of the key facts turns out to be that Margaret Ravenscroft (whose death Poirot is investigating) had four wigs. The detective is upset by this, and is eventually able to work out that these hair pieces were used to pass one character off as another. I can't help wondering what other significances this strange fact concerning the wigs might have. At the beginning of the novel Christie treats us to a long description of Ariadne Oliver's four hats. What is the sense of the hat connection here?
  2. In this novel Poirot asks: 'One wants to know more about the people, and how can you know people separated from you by a gulf of years' (p 159). This, it seems, might be the cruical question. And it is not only Dame Agatha's but also Marcel Proust's. His answer, of course, is that we are not separated from the past at all
  3. Question: Is the novel Elephants Can Remember really about fogetfulness? Is it even about what Nietzsche terms 'active fogetting'?