John Sutherland--The Literary Detective

Mon Sep 4, 2006

I just picked up the Oxford World Classics omnibus edition of this in our Greenville-area megabook-jobber for what turned out to be about \$3.33 (and The Meaning of Everything and an unambitious cookbook).

I’d–surprisingly, given my natural interest–not read any of these brieflets before, and I’ve amused myself thus far with the Fanny Hill (the proposed efficacy of his scenario invites skepticism) and the two Dracula entries. It’s hard not to appreciate an essay that unashamedly mentions recovering the author’s intent.

I enjoy the idea that–at some level–there can be no error in narrative, that it is the perfect solution to a problem we cannot fully formulate, that all writers, a priori, can make no mistakes, their apparent errors being only portals of discovery.

Has Nabokov’s opinion of R. L. Stevenson been satisfactorily explained?