Outsider Lit (Or Maybe So Bad It's Good)

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Outsider Lit (Or Maybe So Bad It's Good)

Post by JohnDurvin » August 19th, 2012, 3:05 am

It's a lot less common in the world of writing than it is with movies or art--I don't know why that is, exactly. It's just the kind of thing I enjoy, at least for a bit of casual reading, so here's a few:

"The Young Visiters", a novel by a nine-year-old girl written long enough ago that JM Barrie wrote the prologue to the second edition. Here's a quote:
I shall put some red ruge on my face said Ethel because I am very pale owing to the drains in this house.
You will look very silly said Mr Salteena with a dry laugh.
Well so will you said Ethel in a snappy tone and she ran out of the room with a very superier run throwing out her legs behind and her arms swinging in rithum.
Well said the owner of the house she has a most idiotick run.
At least Daisy was nine when she wrote it; others have no excuse. Amanda McKittrick Ros was such a bad poet, the Inklings (Tolkien, Lewis, and others) would have competitions to see who could go on reading long enough without breaking up laughing. More recently, sci-fi conventions have done the same with "The Eye of Argon", a fantasy novel so bad that for thirty years nobody would admit to having written the thing.

On a more serious note, there's Henry Darger's lengthy epic "In the Realms of the Unreal"; he was a janitor that suffered from some combination of autism, Tourette's, and schizophrenia. It's in the tens of thousands of pages long, but some of them are illustrations, traced bit by bit out of magazines; it's a sort of sci-fi story about a child-slave rebellion in a world where the largely Catholic earth orbits a much larger planet, populated by horned aliens. I'm really not sure what to think of it. The fact that the illustrations have most of the characters nude (and sometimes the girls have penises) the whole time doesn't help much either.

And, finally, one of my favorite books ever, "English As She Is Spoke". Two gentlemen of Portugal decided there was money to be made writing a Portuguese-to-English dictionary; however, they spoke no English. Luckily, they both spoke passable French, and they had a French-to-English dictionary, and so they went ahead. The resulting travesty against language was the world's first ironic best-seller, and Mark Twain wrote an introduction to a later edition.
Do speak french alwais?
Some times: though I flay it yet.
You jest, you does express you self very well.
Everybody loves using things as other things, right? Check out my blog at the Cromulent Bricoleur and see one hipster's approach to recycling, upcycling, and alterna-cycling (which is a word I just made up).

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