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The title for the novel explains what is seen on/between p.32 through 474 and focuses on an excerpt from a novel titled “The Pink Bunny” about an abstract painter. The words “Pink” and “Bunny” are also the frame that serves to enclose the excerpt, created out of the reality of the title itself. The excerpt is followed by many blank pages, but this emptiness still exists within the frame of “Pink” and “Bunny.” The frame “Pink” and “Bunny” does not enclose the sentence on page 474. This sentence’s place outside the title-frame is a mystery, but related to the excerpt.
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And so we turn to science fiction and fantasy in an attempt to re-enchant the world. Children and childhood retain mystery, and so one tactic has been to take fairytales and rewrite them for adults and here we get the swords and sorcery of modern fantasy. Another strategy was to reinsert the speculative unknown into the very heart of scientific processes. But just because we have mined myth for magic—and, remember, even what we define as myth would have been called religion two millennia early —does not mean that this fills the same need for wonder elsewhere.
One of the standard tropes in SF/fantasy—particularly fantasy for a long time—has been the strange cult. And so, as much as being an examination of real religion, it was intended to be an affectionate investing in that trope of the weird fantastic cults. Rather than constructing a world that is subordinate to the exigencies of the plot or theme or whatever, you create a world and then you inhabit it with stories and characters. This is something that non–genre people mock quite a lot, but it is an absolutely extraordinary thing to do. It’s an extraordinary aesthetic project and it can do things in certain ways that other genres cannot.
The argument of this novel is to establish that the front matter (pages 1-8) of the book does not include the primary text, a paragraph made of 17 sentences, which is printed on p.9 and subsequently reprinted on the pages referenced in the title, except page 123, where the paragraph is not seen.
The so-called “Dummy” or (filler or Placeholder) text is a modified edition of Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment by utilizing Constance Garnett’s translation of ‘Part I’ as the base text. Dostoyevsky’s text is rearranged into verse paragraphs that form a rhetorical unit similar to that of a prose paragraph. The paragraphs that utilize the word ‘landlady’ are italicized, therefore, the “landlady” character in Dostoyevsky’s text is conceptually tied with the characters (whose names are also italicized) mentioned in the title; Ike, Benjy, and Darl (as created by William Faulkner for his novel The Sound and the Fury). The Faulkner quote (see title on the front cover) is a reference to his novel The Sound and the Fury. Faulkner readily acknowledged the difficulty of what he’d written and proposed using different-colored inks as a way to make Benjy’s section more accessible, with distinct shades assigned to its crisscrossed time-settings. Therefore, a “heatmap” (see the image on the front cover) is a graphical representation of data where the individual values contained in a matrix are represented as colors. Rainbow colormaps are often used, as humans can perceive more shades of color than they can of gray, and this would purportedly increase the amount of detail perceivable in the image. Therefore, the text of the header is composed of sentences printed in different colored inks.
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“From roughly 1965 to 1980, Conceptual Art and Performance Art took center stage throughout the western world, introducing new and complex ideas to the practice of contemporary art which reverberate to this day. Thomas McEvilley’s The Triumph of Anti-Art not only explains the origins of these controversial and compelling art forms, but also uncovers many relatively unrecognized yet indisputably important artists, American and European. He guides the reader through a thicket of seemingly arcane meanings of these nonrepresentational art form, and brings clarity to the intentions and agendas of these artists, as well as to their real world contexts. The long-term effects of “anti-art,” and the development of the pluralistic situation known as post-Modernism, are described in vivid detail…”
The text is constructed by utilizing a nine sentence summary of James Joyce’s The Sisters and modifying the nine sentences into nine sentence fragments (see the “contents” page in the front matter). The pages (starting on p.8) that don’t have a fragment are intentionally left blank (except for the header).
The famous red and blue dust jacket for Salinger’s Nine Stories was designed by Miriam Woods. The striking, unillustrated jacket resulted from the Salinger’s refusal to allow the publisher to depict the characters of any of the stories, in order to prevent readers from approaching the stories with preconceptions about the characters. The heart of each story is set to the beat of its characters – to unfussy accounts of the way in which they move through the world and interact with one another, to the cautious articulation of their understated feelings and nascent beliefs. This most often takes the form of a child in haphazard conversation with a newly encountered adult. His adults are characteristically broken by habit and suffering “the ruthless cruelty of conventional social judgments and behavior”, and this is a condition rendered all the more stark when positioned alongside the unassuming wisdom of the very young.
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The Concert Register of Carlo Maria Giulini (1914-2005) is printed (starting on page 7) with every concert featuring the music of Anton Bruckner (1824-1896) printed in the color of red (the frontispiece on page 2 is a reference to this idea). The inspiration for printing the words of Jesus in red comes from Luke 22:20 – “This cup is the new testament in my blood, which I shed for you”. On June 19, 1899, Louis Klopsch (1852-1910) conceived the idea while working on an editorial. Klopsch asked his mentor Rev. T. De Witt Talmage what he thought of a testament with the words spoken by Jesus printed in red ink and Dr. Talmage replied, “It could do no harm and it most certainly could do much good.”