William Mode Spackman - An Armful of Warm Girl. PDF

PDF A novel that fell out of an 1880s drawing room somewhere, from a man born in the wrong century. Doesn’t that title radiate? Doesn’t that title evoke an evening by the fire, cuddled up with your best lass, a plate of strong indigestible cheese on one table, a bottle of Iranian cognac on t’other? AAOWG is novel about the upper classes that doesn’t (seem) to be lampooning the upper classes, but a mere glimpse into the lives of these pampered doddering lunatics shows us a self-lampoon system is in operation. The narrator is an irascible former Princetonian and banker who phones up an old flame once his wife files for divorce. He has daughters and a feckless son and a young admirer to help him bumble thru the pages. Notable here is a pre-DFW use of the floating ellipses “ . . . ” technique for non-responses in two-way conversations (doubtful DFW read WMS—we know the man wasn’t that well-read) and a Gaddisian ear for dialogue. Otherwise, Spackman’s novel is an erudite drawing room comedy that both parodies and celebrates the anachronism of an erudite drawing comedy, especially those published in the late 1970s about the late 1950s. Bloody pre-ironic-post-premodernists! All his work minus poems and criticism is in this.

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