May 17, 2004

I Went Up To Monto Town

Lately I've been been noticing the Waxie trucks around, and I can't help but think: Do they have a dargle?

So that leads to a thought about truth in fiction.

Namely: The following two sentences say exactly the same thing about the sounds that Mark Letter is making:

(1) Mark Letter was whistling "The Girl I Left Behind Me" at a brisk hornpipe tempo.
(2) Mark Letter was whistling "Waxie's Dargle" at a brisk hornpipe tempo.

Yet it seems to me that there are stories in which substituting (2) for (1) will alter what is true in the story. (To be specific: Take Muriel Spark's "The Girl I Left Behind Me," make the narration third person, and lop off the last paragraph or so. That's not on the web, you'll have to go find it and read it yourself.) There may be a significance to Letter's whistling "TGILBM" that there isn't to his whistling "Waxie's Dargle," even though those whistlings are the same whistling. If the story contains (1), it may need to be interpreted so that A Girl Left Behind Him is important. If the story contains (2), it may not need to be.

Which may be no more than to say that what is true in a story depends on what is implicated as well as what is explicitly stated, and the Maxim of Manner holds here.

Posted by Matt Weiner at May 17, 2004 04:45 PM

Ho trovato questo site perche stavo cercando i siti per "Maxim". Non sono felice perche non ci ho trovato le donne quasinude. Spero che tu faccia meglior la prossima volta. ciao
ps non si interessa la filosofica

Posted by: Massimo at May 19, 2004 02:20 PM