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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana XV -- chapter 14: LOCKED AND LOADED

by Gustave Dore'
  1. I’ve claimed elsewhere that I hate exposition.  I need to qualify that.  I hate obvious exposition, or poorly-done, contrived and unnatural exposition.  While Eco, clearly a skilled writer, is telling a story throughout these first 13 or 14 chapters, is it not mostly, if not entirely, exposition?  And if it is indeed and essentially all exposition, is it not also fairly obvious and contrived, no matter how artful?  Read my mind (which, at least in this particular case is and with any luck, is at least fairly aligned with yours): why do I find so much enjoyment here that I would, in otherwise similarly contrived and [never so] lengthy expositions, not find, because, honestly--14 chapters of exposition?
  2. When the memory finally returns, will it be by effect of one particular trigger alone or the weeks of re-living the past in general or the simple heeling effects of time--or all three?
  3. The "Hotel of the Three Roses" becomes another Clarabell's Treasure, as well as, and by the reference "A rose by any other name," another Shakespeare's First Folio.  How do these three things compare to the enigmatic "Mysterious Flames" he's experienced throughout, particularly as none of these three has necessarily sparked such a flame within (at least, in the case of the last of the three, by Yambo's first experience with it at the hands of the mischievous Sibilla)?
  4. Maybe a tough question (so it is for me, anyway, as its answer may include the toppling of gods): Is the sudden and coincidental appearance of the First Folio too much--even a cop out?  Sure, Eco sets it up earlier by Sibilla's joke, but does this feel at all artificial--contrived--to you?  Would anyone in Yambo's circumstances also have to stumble upon their own personal version of the First Folio to shock them back to life (and I'm assuming, not remembering as it so happens, that this is indeed the trigger, based upon the event's placement not only at the end of Yambo's Solara efforts, but also at the end of the section)?


  1. 1. I think that it's not so bad because Yambo is finding out about himself, too. The worst type of expository writing is when the characters would have no reason to state things, but the author makes them do so just in order for the reader to grasp what's going on. Here, Yambo needs to know the expository information just as much as the reader does.
    2. Since this is a novel, I have to believe that there's a Eureka, trigger moment.
    3. I think that the flames illuminate the roses.
    4. Yes. Sorry, there's no way around it.

  2. 1. My mistake exactly over at the Novel. It's hard to avoid when you're still learning about the characters whilst writing them.
    2. I agree.
    3. Ka-sing! That was great!
    4. I know. *sigh*


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