The Reading Group’s First Meeting: This Tuesday 11 March

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The Flyer for our First Meeting. (Illustration of Dick courtesy of the brilliant NC Mallory: see flickr.com/augustusswift/)

The group will meet for the first time this Tuesday 11 March at the University of New South Wales, in Room 310 at The Webster Building. This first meeting will essentially be an opportunity for those attending (there’s likely only to be three of us!) to organise the forthcoming meetings for the coming months of the first half of 2014. As a nominal reading, we’ve decided to review the Introduction to Dick’s The Exegesis, which was published in 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and edited by Pamela Jackson and Jonathan Lethem. Jackson herself wrote a great PhD dissertation on Dick, and Lethem is an established — and increasingly valorised — fiction novelist in his own right. (Actor Ed Norton has recently confirmed that he will commence production of a film version of Lethem’s 1999 novel Motherless Brooklyn). The Exegesis is also annotated throughout by a great bunch: Simon Critchley, Steve Erickson, David Gill (San Francisco State University), N. Katherine Hayles (Duke University), Jeffrey J. Kripal, Gabriel McKee, Richard Doyle (Penn State University), and the editors.

As a collectible artefact, The Exegesis is one of the handsomest books on the market. Harcourt and their book designer have done a great job. It’s bound in a splendid gold cover (beneath the dust jacket), and the design of the book is fantastic, typeset in Warnock Pro and filled with facsimiles of Dick’s original illustrations. These doodles constitute the diagramattic and graphemic representations — the ideas and afterimages — of Dick’s  ‘2-3-74’ experience: that is, the metaphysical event –the inspirations — that initially compelled him to compose the work. While it’s a serious condensation of the storied stash of written documents that constitute Dick’s full-length Exegesis (these apparently run to some 9,000 pages), the published edition, at around 900 pages, is still a lengthy volume.

All going well, the group should have a good and productive time this week, and set up a positive, organised agenda for the coming months. Movements are underway; Dickheads are getting their kipple straightened out; we’re heading for a Land-O-Smiles. So: Watch this space!

Any enquiries about the reading group, including more information about obtaining the readings if readers do not possess them already, can be directed to Chris Rudge.

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