Tuesday, June 20, 2006


The busted wristwatch in Black Swan Green, given to Jason Taylor by his father, brought to mind this passage from Faulkner (cut-and-pasted from some online source):

...when father gave it to me he said I give you the mausoleum of all hope and desire; it's rather excruciatingly apt that you will use it to gain the reductio absurdum of all human experience which can fit your individual needs no better then it fitted his or his father's. I give it to you not that you may remember time, but that you might forget it now and then for a moment and not spend all your breath trying to conquer it. Because no battle is ever won he said. They are not even fought. The field only reveals to man his own folly and despair, and victory is an illusion of philosophers and fools.
—William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury

The other day I was reading John Christopher's The White Mountains, a young-adult science-fiction book from 1967:

My father's great treasure, though, was not the clock, but the Watch. This, a miniature clock with a dial less than an inch across anfd a circlet permitting it to be worn on the wrist, was kept in a locked drawer in his desk....There was no other Watch in the village, nor in any of the villages round about....The body of the Watch was of a steel much superior to anything they could forge in Alton, and the works inside were a wonder of intricacy and skill. On the front were printed "Anti-magnetique" and "Incabloc," which we supposed to have been the name of the craftsman who made it in olden times.

The clockman had visited us the week before, and I had been permitted to look on for a time while he cleaned and oiled the watch. The sight fascinated me, and after he had gone I found my thoughts running continually on this treasure.
—John Christopher, The White Mountains

* * *

I've read somewhere that Quentin Tarantino is said to have been named after the Faulkner character Quentin Compson (whose interior monologue we hear above); has anyone made the connection between the fragmented time scheme of Pulp Fiction and that of The Sound and the Fury? I recall QT saying that Salinger's Glass stories influenced the jigsaw chronology of Pulp Fiction, but I'd be curious to hear of a more direct link to Faulkner.

Even more interesting—both PF and S&F feature watches in distress, an obvious but effective symbol for their scrambled time signatures. I'm thinking about the scatalogical interlude in PF, wherein Christopher Walken's Vietnam vet character details the history of a family heirloom watch (giving it, if memory serves, to an unseen boy, a younger version of the Bruce Willis character).

* * *

Unrelated: A terrific piece from 2003 by friend Robert Ito on Jack T. Chick, whom Ito dubs "The Thomas Pynchon of the Christian comics crowd." The piece was originally written for Los Angeles magazine, then picked up by the Independent on Sunday (U.K.), and lightly translated into British-ese!


Blogger Joe McPuppet said...

Speaking of Jack T Chick -- have you heard about this new feature film adaptation of Chick Tracts. I think there are nine tracts and it's playing at the LA Film Festival right now.

Here's a link to their webpage:

6:56 AM  

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