Sunday, May 24, 2020

it's all there in black and white, and blue, and possibly red

A couple of other thoughts in the wake of the House Of Leaves post:

There is a bit in the acknowledgements page at the front of my copy of the book which caught my eye, here:

My book is indeed in black-and-white, as most books are - or, more accurately, not in colour, since the word house is rendered throughout in a very slightly lighter grey and offset from the rest of the text slightly, as if typed into the gap afterwards on a different typewriter.

It's a testament to the disorienting effect of the book on the reader's mind that my first assumption on looking at this page was that this was probably a bit of authorial fuckery similar to the inclusion in Zampanò's footnotes of a host of academic-sounding works that don't actually exist (and a few that do, just to keep the reader on his/her toes). In other words I was initially sceptical that any of these supposed colour versions of the book actually existed. It seems that they do, though, and you can purchase one for yourself if you're prepared to shell out somewhere in the region of 40 dollars (about 32 pounds at today's exchange rate).

To be honest I expected that they might go for even more absurdly inflated prices than that, since this seems to be a book that invites slightly geeky obsessiveness in the same way as Infinite Jest. It's too much of a lazy cliché to invoke some sort of "extreme male brain" autism spectrum theory (and the whole autism gender split thing is more complex than that anyway) as an explanation, but this sort of thing does seem to be more of a male thing, for whatever reason, possibly a purely cultural/societal one. There are ironic echoes here of the blizzard of cultural analysis of The Navidson Record referenced by Zampanò's text, although since even in Zampanò's and Johnny Truant's fictional universe The Navidson Record never existed, presumably all of the hundreds of carefully referenced critical works never existed either.

An example of the way people spend waaaaaayyy too much time thinking about this stuff is the number of videos that are available online about it, some of them just basically doing a description and/or loose review of the book (and some touching on the different versions I mentioned above) and some attempting some more interesting analysis. This video is probably the most interesting (of the small selection I've watched any of anyway) and just to undermine my theory above is voiced by a woman. Interestingly she pronounces Danielewski's name as Daniel-oo-ski throughout (by analogy with brewski, presumably), rather than the more usual (but not universal) rendering of Daniel-eff-ski. This short clip featuring the man himself (I mean, if he even exists, right?) suggests that the second rendering is the correct one.

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