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Middlemarch: An Authoritative Text, Backgrounds, Reviews and Criticism (A Norton Critical Edition)
Bert G. Hornback, George Eliot
The Magic Mountain
Thomas Mann, John E. Woods
Love in the Time of Cholera
Gabriel García Márquez
The Sailor on the Seas of Fate (Elric, #2) - Michael Moorcock Reminds me of the comic book publishers' "cross-over" events, where they put Spiderman into Hulk's book for a couple months, to increase the readership of each title. It can generate some nifty stories, but it should be immediately suspect as marketing-driven rather than aesthetically-driven, a presumption to be rebutted by the publisher.

Here, I'm not sure that the volume rebuts the presumption of crass marketing, as the first section unites the Elric story with several of Moorcock's other characters. As that union has no background in the first Elric volume, it comes across as random here and without purpose, carrying the story to the far future for a battle among deity-types. The reason? Umm.

The second section involves correcting the outcome of a legend, also not in the first volume (he's making it up as he goes along, &c.), a "part of our literature" (82). Third section involves a search for the arche of Elric's empire, and might reasonably be juxtaposed with Heart of Darkness.

It's all very pulpy and episodic. Carries with it the same retreat from memory that the first volume forefronts. Elric generally fails to recall certain items (23), and, after the first episode is completed, he "could not clear his head entirely of the impression left by that dream" (63), "recalling little of his voyage on the Dark ship," as "in later years he would recall most of these experiences as dreams" (76).

He adopts the cause of a damsel in distress in part two, seemingly because the antagonist promises her that "in time, you will remember" (98)--so it makes perfect sense that Elric takes up for her against memory. When that antagonist is destroyed, the antagonist welcomes it, for though he had "escaped my doom for many years, I could not escape the knowledge of my crime" (105). Elric fears that "my peace will more resemble" the antagonist's (107), an escape from knowledge of crime into death.

The promise of part two is made manifest by part three, which features, essentially, a mission to end the suffering of the Wandering Jew, who carries "the frightful knowledge" of the arche (119). Elric specifically fears that the legends of the arche are true (123), admits that "in danger you find forgetfulness" (122), decries "the agony of knowledge" (126). The point of the "quest" is to erase the known. It's retrograde and nasty.

Recommended for those whose caution is fully conquered by curiosity, persons with little free will, and seekers of release from emtaphysics.