<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

Those “goops” became one of Burgess’s most successful undertakings. His bibliography shows several titles in the 1900s for publications based on these rubbery figures. He pressed them into service as a way to instruct the no-doubt recalcitrant young in the norms of good behavior through the lessons contained in such works as the 1900 Goops and How Not to Be Them. But it would be a mistake to consign Burgess to the ranks of authors of juvenile literature. Though he did make a success of the works for children, his engagement with nonsense as well as other humor is an adult undertaking. As Joseph Backus, his most assiduous commentator, has noted, Burgess’s nonsense exhibits serious commitment to an artistic vision and purpose, “a logical but uncommon process of association guided in part by meter and rhyme.” Backus, Behind the Scenes, op. cit., p.31. Nonsense, in other words, is a metacritical act in its own write, playing with the contrast between formal coherence and conceptual disorientation as a way to renew a reader’s own relation to received form. Burgess played out his nonsensical sensibility in the elaborate adventures of the central character of his 1897 farcical novel, Vivette . Gelett Burgess, Vivette (Boston: Copeland and Day, 1897). A free-thinking, gifted, and daring (as well as alluring and liberated) young woman, Vivette is a sort of Nadja avant-la-lettre, but with more humor and fun in her than Breton’s pathetic muse. The writing in that book is tight, light, and right on the line of being enactment and parody of the genre of romantic adventure tale.

Throughout his career, in fact, Burgess played with sustained conceits. His narratives were often skirting this line between nonsense and more conventional humor. Aside from Le Petit Journal , the only substantial text in Burgess’s oeuvre that is a lengthy parody of a literary work (and comments on its production) is his 1904 Rubaiyat of Omar Cayenne .

Burgess was successful as a writer. By the late 1890s, just into his early 30s, he was compared with Rudyard Kipling as an emerging star in the literary firmament. Hardly remembered with the same degree of distinction today, Burgess had experienced an early flash of success when his nonsense quatrain, “A Purple Cow,” received notable acclaim. Backus, Behind the Scenes, op. cit. Burgess pretended to rue the success of the short poem, and no doubt wished he could be other than “the man who wrote ‘The Purple Cow’,” but the ditty exemplified the spirit that guided his work throughout his career. In 1885 he had founded The Lark, in which that poem appeared. His two-year stint editing and writing for that monthly sixteen-page publication had no doubt perfected the skills he put to such focused purpose in Le Petit Journal. His turn to the writing profession had come about when he was dismissed from his post teaching technical drawing at the University of California, Berkeley (he had obtained a degree from MIT in his native Boston), for defacing a statue of the eminent Bay Area dentist Henry Cogswell. Backus, Behind the Scenes, op. cit., and wiki, (External Link) . The boyish spirit and delight in pranks is still evident in Le Petit Journal , which could be characterized as a bit of juvenilia if it were not so self-reflexive. Nothing in The Lark really prepares us for the full-throttle over-the-top density and referential richness of Le Petit Journal . To cite Backus again, The Lark has many of the same characteristics as the vaudeville variety programs that Burgess was attending and beginning to write about for money. The pieces in its pages were short, varied, consumable, appealing to a broad and not particularly over-sophisticated audience ready to be amused by spinning plates and wistful recitations as easily as a naughty but basically decorous dance by a young thing in flounced skirts. The Lark offerings are a published equivalent, offering sentimental short poems alongside sprightly vignettes. The Lark ran only for two years. Though it received some national notice (Will Bradley commented favorably on the journal in the pages of his own), and brought Burgess a degree of recognition, it proved not particularly viable in financial terms.

Questions & Answers

How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
How can I make nanorobot?
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
how can I make nanorobot?
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
Got questions? Join the online conversation and get instant answers!
Jobilize.com Reply

Get the best Algebra and trigonometry course in your pocket!

Source:  OpenStax, Le petit journal des refusées. OpenStax CNX. Jun 03, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10709/1.1
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Le petit journal des refusées' conversation and receive update notifications?