In his very short short-story, ‚Popular Mechanics‛, collected in What We Talk About When We Talk About Love (1996/1981), Raymond Carver describes the final moments of a man leaving his wife. He tries to take a framed picture of their baby from the bedroom, but she snatches it away. Then, on his way out, he says, ‚I want the baby‛. His wife, who is holding the child firmly in her arms, resists his attempt to take it, there is a struggle and feeling the baby slip out of his hands ‚he pulled back very hard. In this manner,‛ Carver writes, ‚the issue was decided‛ (1996/1981: 105). I won’t ask whether you spot the biblical allusion, rather what sort of computing system might, and – here is the essential bit – how that system would relate to the scholar’s reading of Carver’s fiction. What’s essential here is that the finding of the alluded text be a trigger, not an answer.

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A quote saved on Feb. 26, 2013.


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