TCD Question #10 - Chapter Titles

by Arturo Perez-Reverte

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TCD Question #10 - Chapter Titles

Unread postby Liz » Wed Aug 13, 2008 1:18 pm

Pg. 237. Chapter XI The Banks of the Seine “This mystery is considered insoluble for the very same reasons that should lead one to consider it soluble.—E. A. Poe, THE MURDER IN THE RUE MORGUE” What does this quote mean in reference to this chapter? What do you think of Pérez-Reverte’s use of quotes for each chapter? Chapter titles?
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Re: TCD Question #10 - Chapter Titles

Unread postby nebraska » Wed Aug 13, 2008 9:17 pm

What, no takers?????? :-O

I can't really answer this question very well -- I am not sure I know what the quote means. I will have to go back to my book and look at some of the quotes at the beginning of the various chapters, but I still probably won't have a good general answer. I always read those quotes and I feel somehow that something artistic has been added to my reading experience, but I don't usually ponder them very much. I read the quote and think "that's nice" and go on.

However, I will say it demonstrates the intertextual idea. :-?

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Re: TCD Question #10 - Chapter Titles

Unread postby Parlez » Wed Aug 13, 2008 11:07 pm

Sorry! No clue here. :dunce:
The more I thought about the quote in question the more confused I became...and then frustrated with the author (both Perez-Reverte and EA Poe) for writing/quoting it. However, I'm sure they know what it means, so the intellectual gap is mine. I responded pretty much the same way to the other quotes as well. Some of them worked but more of them didn't, IMO. They all probably related to the content of each chapter in a stunningly clever way. But, for moi, they weren't that enlightening.
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Re: TCD Question #10 - Chapter Titles

Unread postby Liz » Wed Aug 13, 2008 11:10 pm

Yes, it does illustrate the intertextual idea, Nebraska. I think I picked this particular quote because I couldn’t readily get the connection. The quotes at the beginning of some of the chapters made a lot of sense, though, like Chapter XII: Buckingham and Milady. The Crime was committed with the help of a woman. – E. de Queiroz, THE MYSTERY OF THE SINTRA ROAD. This was the chapter where Corso confronted La Ponte and Liana Taillefer.
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Re: TCD Question #10 - Chapter Titles

Unread postby Liz » Wed Aug 13, 2008 11:13 pm

Parlez wrote:Sorry! No clue here. :dunce:
The more I thought about the quote in question the more confused I became...and then frustrated with the author (both Perez-Reverte and EA Poe) for writing/quoting it. However, I'm sure they know what it means, so the intellectual gap is mine. I responded pretty much the same way to the other quotes as well. Some of them worked but more of them didn't, IMO. They all probably related to the content of each chapter in a stunningly clever way. But, for moi, they weren't that enlightening.


Maybe they were all just a stretch, eh? Maybe he was trying too hard to make it intertextual? Anyone else have any opinions on this?
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Re: TCD Question #10 - Chapter Titles

Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Thu Aug 14, 2008 2:08 am

No idea, I did read them , I assumed they had some connection to the chapter that was to unfold but didn't give them much thought.

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Re: TCD Question #10 - Chapter Titles

Unread postby Buster » Thu Aug 14, 2008 8:29 am

To me, the quotation from Poe implies that the solution to a mystery lies in the acceptance of one's final interpretation of the clues - and that, perhaps, there is more than one possible interpretation, and thus more than one solution. So the same clues that make it possible to come to a conclusion, when viewed from another perspective, only serve to deepen the mystery.

"The question was whether the clues Corso was following were his opponent's mistakes or tricks. In either case they were very elaborate." Ch.X

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Re: TCD Question #10 - Chapter Titles

Unread postby Buster » Thu Aug 14, 2008 8:38 am

Found the line I was looking for (at the end of Ch. X):
"After so many books, films, and TV shows, after reading on so many different possible levels, it was difficult to tell if you were seeing the original or a copy; difficult to know whether the image was real, inverted, or both, in a hall of mirrors; difficult to know authors' intentions. It was as easy to fall short of the truth as to overshoot it with one's interpretations."

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Re: TCD Question #10 - Chapter Titles

Unread postby radwen » Thu Aug 14, 2008 8:44 am

I like the use of quotes at the beginning of the chapters and I agree that they do remind us of the intertextual nature of this story and of reading in general. I wish I knew in what context this particular quote was used in the Poe story, because maybe then I would better understand it's relevance here.

Maybe this serves as a clue to the reader. The author could be letting us know that Corso is not seeing what he should, and therefore somewhat headed to an incorrect conclusion ?? Just a thought.
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Re: TCD Question #10 - Chapter Titles

Unread postby Parlez » Thu Aug 14, 2008 9:52 am

Thank you Buster and radwen!
What you say makes a lot of sense. I see the relevance of the quote and the chapter more clearly now. :cool:
I'm curious to know in what context Poe made the statement too. Ordinarily I find his writing quite understandable and easy to follow. I guess that's the point, eh? Taking things out of context leaves room for all kinds of interpretations. It's a major theme in TCD me thinks: watch out for those pesky intertextual associations!
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Re: TCD Question #10 - Chapter Titles

Unread postby suec » Thu Aug 14, 2008 10:01 am

Normally, I just love this sort of thing, and will happily go chasing down literary references and exploring layers of meaning to my heart’s content. But this time, there are so many of them. And although I have read some of the books, a lot of them I haven’t, so I am unsure about interpreting them. And then are the comments about intertextuality to bear in mind and the warning about it to the reader. All in all, I found myself in the somewhat strange and unusual position of feeling a bit sullen about them all, because I felt as though the author was just being too manipulative, playing a game with me.
However, the question has forced me to go back to them. Some of the quotes seem to be quite obvious comments on what happens in the chapters that they are introducing to the point of being quite irritating. Others seem to me to be a lot trickier, for instance, in referring to other chapters rather than the ones with which they seem to be paired. Sometimes, the sources seem to be quite significant. In other cases, I have no way of being able to inform an opinion on them since I don’t know the texts. But the overall impression I get is that they are clues to the outcome, some of them quite significant and others less so. So I think the author might be in some cases giving the reader some red herrings, as with any good detective story that he loves referring to so. And sometimes he seems to have had a lot of fun making connections between TCD and T3M.
The quote in Chapter 11 is quoted again and with much more substance in Chapter 13. It comes after Corso has learned of Liana having a tattoo like Milady’s brand in the shape of the fleur-de-lys and reading the note that is a copy from T3M:
This was a more than a matter of quaint coincidences. It was a premeditated plan, too complex and dangerous for the performances of Liana Taillefer and her henchmen to be dismissed as mere parody. Here was a plot with all the classic ingredients of the genre, and somebody – aptly an Eminence Grise – must be pulling the strings. He felt Richelieu’s note in his pocket. It was too much. And yet, the key to the mystery must lie in its very strangeness and novelesque nature. He remembered something he’d read once, in Edgar Allan Poe or Conan Doyle. This mystery seems insoluble for the very same reasons that made it solvable: the excessive, outré nature of the circumstances.”

This explains where Corso is going wrong. It is too much, which is why he gets it wrong and makes it seem so insoluble.
I think the quote stands on its own but also believe that the story from which it is taken is quite relevant. It is about one of those crimes that seem entirely impossible until solved, murders committed in a room which is locked and high up ij a building and there seems no escape for the killer. But in this case, an orang-utan is the killer. I found this comment in a study guide, which I am unable to copy but have selected this bit as it seems particularly pertinent.

Two aphorisms concerning detective fiction today are also presented for the first time in this story of Poe's. First, the truth is what remains after the impossible has been determined—no matter how improbable that truth may seem
.

www.cliffsnotes.com/WileyCDA/LitNote/Po ... t-Stories- Summaries-and-Commentaries-The Murders-in-the-Rue-Morgue


Another quote I investigated was for Chapter Five. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is also referred to in the opening paragraph of Balkan’s narrative in Chapter Two. The narrator turns out to be the killer. So, a big clue about Balkan being unreliable as a narrator. I am probably doing a Corso here and reading too much into it, but I do find it interesting that the twist in the tale was greet with some outrage and resentment, as with Corso’s own response at the end.
Some of the other quotes and sources seem significant to a greater or lesser degree. I know nothing of Fantomas (Ch15) but it seems he is thoroughly evil “Lord of Terror, Genius of Evil” (www.fantomas-lives.com). That seems relevant to me, tied in with the quote “I, who had created a short novel around him, had been completely mistaken”.
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Re: TCD Question #10 - Chapter Titles

Unread postby gemini » Thu Aug 14, 2008 12:29 pm

This mystery is considered insoluble for the very same reasons that should lead one to consider it soluble

I don't know if I am correct but I will go with my gut feeling. I remember there can be no wrong answers in ONBC, only opinions.
I think this means something like if you follow the rules you will succeed. Here the rules seem to be playing the game correctly. For Corso it is following the clues and using his literary knowledge to find the way. He knows there are no shortcuts and he must have every clue to succeed where others have failed.
In Poe's, The Murder In The Rue Morgue, the rules were in following all the correct leads to solve a mystery even though they seem to not be correct at the time you must persist to find the truth.
For Corso it is using all his past literacy knowledge to see the whole picture and the clues he finds finds in the 3 copies of the Nine Doors and the the Anjou wine. The fact that they seem unbeleivable at times seems only to lead him on.
Last edited by gemini on Thu Aug 14, 2008 6:56 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: TCD Question #10 - Chapter Titles

Unread postby Liz » Thu Aug 14, 2008 12:30 pm

Wow! Great sleuthing suec! :notworthy:

As far as Ch. XV, I do think the Fantomas quote fits what Corso discovers in that chapter—Richilieu’s identity, Balkan’s involvement in the Club Dumas, etc.

Buster, it could be that Pérez-Reverte is carrying the theme from the end of Ch. X into Ch. XI.

Radwen, I like that explanation very much. And it seems to tie in with Suec’s idea that the quotes don’t always fit the particular chapter, but maybe another better.
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Re: TCD Question #10 - Chapter Titles

Unread postby gemini » Thu Aug 14, 2008 12:39 pm

I seem to have missed the second question about Perez Reverte's use of quotes in the chaper titles.
I thought they all fortold of each chapters contents pretty well...
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Re: TCD Question #10 - Chapter Titles

Unread postby Parlez » Thu Aug 14, 2008 4:10 pm

gemini wrote:
This mystery is considered insoluble for the very same reasons that should lead one to consider it soluble

I don't know if I am correct but I will go with my gut feeling. I remember there can be no wrong answers in ONBC, only opinions.
I think this means something like if you follow the rules you will succeed. Here the rules seem to be playing the game correctly. For Corso it is following the clues and using his literary knowledge to find the way. He knows there are no shortcuts and he must have every clue to succeed where others have failed.
In Poe's, The Murder In The Rue Morgue, the rules were in following all the correct leads to solve a mystery even though they seem to not be incorrect at the time you must persist to find the truth.
For Corso it is using all his past literacy knowledge to see the whole picture and the clues he finds finds in the 3 copies of the Nine Doors and the the Anjou wine. The fact that they seem unbeleivable at times seems only to lead him on.

If I'm following your logic correctly (and I'll be the first to put a big question mark there), the essence of Poe's statement is that there are no mysteries. If a mystery appears to be insoluble you just need more data, more information, more frames of reference, more anaylses, and more creative, out-of-the-box, thinking in order to solve it. So far so good. But I don't see how that worked for Corso. His never really hopped out of his brain box did he? He assumed he was following the rules, and he tried like heck to make all the data fit into his orderly, familiar (albeit convolutedly intertextual), literary world, but in the end it didn't work and he was left in a hopeless muddle.
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