Margaret’s Sunday Quickie: stuck on an island and theorizing

This is one of those questions where I really, really want to cheat. I want to claim an entire series as one book so that I can bring, say, the whole damn Discworld series with me, or say that of course A Song of Ice and Fire counts as one book, and so on.  But that’s not really playing fair with the question (unless I picked The Lord of the Rings, since that was envisioned as one book to begin with).  And I already have trouble keeping myself to one book a week, so unless I got rescued from that island quickly, I’d probably go crazy.  

So what I think I’d choose is a long work open to many interpretations, and then devote my time on the island (assuming I had any left over from, you know, all the stuff I’d need to do to survive) to studying it.  Something dense enough that I could spend time coming up with alternate interpretations, spinning out backstories for side characters, finding/imagining secret hidden messages in the text — in short, something that would be a good personal canon for a fandom of one. 

There are probably any number of works that would lend themselves to this, but what comes to mind immediately is Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur. Loads of characters, all sorts of peripheral bits that I can fiddle with, questions that won’t make sense at all and thus will have to be reconciled by my own convoluted theories.  If I ever got off the island, I’d come home with a Brand New Grail Theory that I could then claim was the real truth behind the myth — and join the long tradition of bonkers Grail theorists.

As you can see, I’d go crazy this way too. But it’d be a different kind of crazy, and possibly an entertaining one.


2 Responses to “Margaret’s Sunday Quickie: stuck on an island and theorizing”

  1. 1 erstwhile sibling
    March 16, 2009 at 12:26 am

    This is why I’d bring the collected works of Shakespeare. That, and smushing bugs with a Riverside Shakespeare is really satisfying.

  2. 2 mlronald
    March 17, 2009 at 11:58 am

    You’d prove that Shakespeare was written by bacon, wouldn’t you. Not Sir Francis Bacon, but the pork product.

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