We have already established that The GrId Man's favorite poem was T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land, no doubt because of the dizzying opportunities for footnoting that Eliot's complex text so prodigiously affords to any editor so inclined. Our hero's choice for a favorite novel was no less obvious: Vladimir Nabokov's 1962 novel Pale Fire.
As you will recall, Nabokov's novel notoriously features a madman-slash-academic (and is there any difference?) who maps and intricate system of footnote commentary onto a 999-line poem of rhyming couplets which 1) has nothing at all to do with the poem and 2) which comprises its own outlandish narrative which is as mad as it mad author. It is curious to note that not only does Pale Fire address many of The Grid Man's favorite obsessions, but its concerns are also, in a strange way, linked to those of our hero's favorite film director: Peter Greenaway. In fact, if anyone could successfully translate Nabokov's novel to the medium of cinema, a ridiculous enterprise, I should add, it would be Peter Greenaway, or so the Grid Man postulated. His argument for this postulation was based on certain similarities between Pale Fire and Greenaway's 1979 short film, A Walk Through H., in which an eccentric narrator maps an elaborate narrative onto a series of 92 drawings hanging in an art gallery, said narrative having, as you might expect, almost nothing to do with the drawings, hence the parallel.
Rumor has it that The Grid Man went so far as to write a letter to the acclaimed film director, which didn't get past his personal assistant, proposing a film project collaboration. One hastens to add that the origin of this rumor, not to mention its peculiar consequences could fill an entire book, well, chapter at least. One hastens even further to add that said chapter is probably best left unwritten.
Suffice it to say that our hero was appropriately delighted to learn that the Museum of the Moving Image in New York City had chosen to call its spectacular 1997 Peter Greenaway retrospective "Passionate Grids." And although The Grid Man was seen in attendance at every screening -- no surprise there -- he was, strangely, never asked by the museum authorities to moderate nor even participate in any of the numerous panel discussions that featured prominently in the retrospective's programming. Go figure.
At this point, one should be cautioned not to read too much into The Grid Man's tastes in literature. He was, after all, much more of an image man than a word man. We offer these literary musings here not as an end unto themselves, but merely as a passing insight or two into the strange and wondrous workings of a troubled mind.
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