18 October 2011

Anticipation and Pleasure, Episode 94

I wanted pose a question from my non-pseudonymous Twitter account earlier, in response to Julian Barnes finally winning the Booker Prize this year: "Now that he's won the Booker Prize, is the pleasure of anticipation still the most reliable form of pleasure for Julian Barnes, as well as for Flaubert?" This was, of course, longer than 140 characters. The other problem was that my blog post on tracking down the quotation about anticipation and pleasure in Barnes' book Flaubert's Parrot comes at the top or close to the top on Google searches for various combinations of pleasure + anticipation + reliable + purest + Flaubert + Barnes. And for now, I try to avoid directly pointing my non-pseudonymous Twitter followers directly to my still mostly pseudonymous blog.

My Barnes experiences have been mixed: I loved A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters, quite liked Talking It Over and Love, Etc. (in the case of the latter, mainly because of the title, which I use as a tag), and didn't really get into Flaubert's Parrot. I'll probably cast an eye over his new novel, The Sense of an Ending, however. Not because I'm a Booker whore but because none of his works after Love, Etc. appealed to me much and so I hadn't even bothered to find out what this new one is about. I expect there are plenty of Booker whores in Marylebone, though, so I'll probably have a long wait at my library.

As for the quotation, it was a Dawson's Creek professor who coined the expression "anticipation is the purest form of pleasure...and the most reliable," referencing Flaubert's Une Education Sentimentale. But the DC writers plagiarised paraphrased this from Flaubert's Parrot, in which Barnes writes, "Isn't the most reliable form of pleasure, Flaubert implies, the pleasure of anticipation? Who needs to burst into fulfilment's desolate attic?" And Flaubert himself wasn't anywhere near as concise; he just waffles on and doesn't mention anticipation or pleasure.

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