Northrop Frye’s annotations to Samuel R. Delany’s Neveryóna consist mainly of marking passages of interest with a vertical line in the margin. There is one comment of note. Under the epigraph from Shoshana Felman (Turning the Screw of Interpretation), Frye [p. 77] writes “he reads the damnedest books”.
Here then is a selection of the selection curated by Northrop Frye.
for you know that the very gods of our country are represented as patient, meticulous craftsfolk, who labor at the construction of the world and who may may never be named till it is completed
We skip ahead and we quote a bit beyond the bar in the margin to give a flavour of the passage.
“sometimes I think there must be nothing to the world except stories and magic!” (She’d never thought anything like that before in her life!) “But I guess stories are more common — while magic is rare.
and all speech is, after all, about what is absent in the world,
A few more marks in the pages that follow to references to the empty and the absent. Let us retrace some earlier marked passages.
No wonder the Empress and the Liberator both decry slavery, when this is such a far more efficient system. You know where most of the iron for these little moneys come from, don’t you? It’s melted down from the old no-longer-used collars once worn by —
My dear, sometimes I believe we shall lose all contact with magic. When that happens, civilization will have to be written of with other signs entirely.
[p. 198] Inline correction of a typographic accident [Frye adds the “l”]: “lest she be thought less wor[l]dly than she was”. But the context is about words and irony and yes a certain worldliness.
- camel driver curses: “The brutal repetition of their invention and invective alone keeps such curses from being true poetry.”
- same men in the arms of women: “beg their mistresses to whisper these same phrases to them, or plead to be allowed to whisper them back, phrases which now, instead of conveying ire and frustration, transport them, and sometimes the women, too, to heights of pleasure”
- the paragraph with the wordly/worldly crux
- the conversation continues about what might mean the “use of terms of anger and rage in the throes of desire”
And so for day 1213