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Paul_Hochman
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Community Room

Hi Everyone,

I thought I'd add this thread as a place where we can explore issues outside of the plot of the novel.

My question involves Desdemona's silkworm cocoonery and the marketplace where these cocoons are sold. Does anyone have any more knowledge of this extremely fascinating trade?

Paul
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bentley
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Re: Community Room

[ Edited ]

PaulH wrote:
Hi Everyone,

I thought I'd add this thread as a place where we can explore issues outside of the plot of the novel.

My question involves Desdemona's silkworm cocoonery and the marketplace where these cocoons are sold. Does anyone have any more knowledge of this extremely fascinating trade?

Paul




I only have seen what I have learned in China traveling around. It was quite fascinating. I saw the cocoons etc. and the entire process. Since I have not read Middlesex, I am not sure of the significance of the question. Do not have any knowledge of the marketplace where the cocoons themselves are sold.

I have seen the process in its entirety as described below all over China (and my photos look just like these): this is exactly the way in most locations that they are still doing it. I could have taken these pictures myself. Not sure of the significance yet to Middlesex because I have not yet started the book.

http://www.galenfrysinger.com/shanghai_china_silk.htm

Message Edited by bentley on 06-07-2007 09:43 PM
Melissa_W
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Re: Community Room

I know a little from reading about silk spun into yarn (knitter, you know). The most prized silk is that spun or woven from the single strand of an unbroken cocoon (meaning the silkworm is killed before it emerges and breaks the cocoon - this is a sore spot for animal rights activists). I would think that to keep her supply going Desdemona would wait for the silkworms to emerge before gathering the cocoons, otherwise she would run out.



PaulH wrote:
Hi Everyone,

I thought I'd add this thread as a place where we can explore issues outside of the plot of the novel.

My question involves Desdemona's silkworm cocoonery and the marketplace where these cocoons are sold. Does anyone have any more knowledge of this extremely fascinating trade?

Paul


Melissa W.
I read and knit and dance. Compulsively feel yarn. Consume books. Darn tights. Drink too much caffiene. All that good stuff.
balletbookworm.blogspot.com
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Paul_Hochman
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Re: Community Room

Thanks Melissa and Bentley. Later in the book, Eugenides touches on the origins and myths of the silkworm, which is fascinating in its own right, but I wonder what or if the silkworm symbolizes in the context of Cal's story?
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CallMeLeo
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Re: Silkworms and Cal

[ Edited ]

PaulH wrote:
Thanks Melissa and Bentley. Later in the book, Eugenides touches on the origins and myths of the silkworm, which is fascinating in its own right, but I wonder what or if the silkworm symbolizes in the context of Cal's story?




I would think fundamentally, it's the process of metamorphosis - you are born in one state and then change to another. Yet in terms of the moth and silkworm, you cannot be one without being the other first - they are inextricably linked, just as Cal's DNA is linked to his ancestry. I also see the silk that emerges from the silkworm as Cal spinning his story, his history.

Message Edited by CallMeLeo on 06-08-2007 01:44 PM
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Paul_Hochman
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Re: Silkworms and Cal



CallMeLeo wrote:

PaulH wrote:
Thanks Melissa and Bentley. Later in the book, Eugenides touches on the origins and myths of the silkworm, which is fascinating in its own right, but I wonder what or if the silkworm symbolizes in the context of Cal's story?




I would think fundamentally, it's the process of metamorphosis - you are born in one state and then change to another. Yet in terms of the moth and silkworm, you cannot be one without being the other first - they are inextricably linked, just as Cal's DNA is linked to his ancestry. I also see the silk that emerges from the silkworm as Cal spinning his story, his history.

Message Edited by CallMeLeo on 06-08-2007 01:44 PM




Or as Cal's personality traits will always be linked to that of Calliope's and never fully disappear.

Excellent post, Leonora!
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bentley
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Re: Great Interview - Potential Spoiler

This is a great interview which explains a lot.

http://www.bombsite.com/eugenides/eugenides.html
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Paul_Hochman
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Re: Great Interview - Potential Spoiler



bentley wrote:
This is a great interview which explains a lot.

http://www.bombsite.com/eugenides/eugenides.html




Thanks for tracking this down, Bentley. It's a great interview.
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Paul_Hochman
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Re: Great Interview - Potential Spoiler



bentley wrote:
This is a great interview which explains a lot.

http://www.bombsite.com/eugenides/eugenides.html




In the interview, Eugenides states that this isn't a historical novel. I disagree. I'm learning a load of history as I read. How about you guys?
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Paul_Hochman
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Re: Another Great Interview - Off Topic

Speaking of interviews, here's a recent one with Mohsin Hamid that I thought Bentley and maybe some others here would appreciate. He mentions Cormac McCarthy to boot!

http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20042152,00.html
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bentley
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Re: Another Great Interview - Off Topic

[ Edited ]

PaulH wrote:
Speaking of interviews, here's a recent one with Mohsin Hamid that I thought Bentley and maybe some others here would appreciate. He mentions Cormac McCarthy to boot!

http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20042152,00.html




The entire interview is startling. Too bad he didn't respond this way. These answers are totally different; does he morph when he gives each interview? And he is saying that he wants to come back to America? That is of course OK (and I am sure he is very welcome and is a very talented fellow); but there were so many things in this interview which were diametrically different from some of his other responses. On a less serious note, what is happening with his eyebrows? (smile) And where did Cormac McCarthy come from (maybe our group influenced him?) Did we mention McCarthy and The Road..I am not sure. I would have thought he would have read McCarthy before while at Princeton...and his choices seem to be American based.

I still cannot fathom his reticence in simply giving responses to the questions. I could go on..but Paul thank you for posting..it was a very interesting interview given the others. I really wish him the best and also much success; but now I really cannot understand his posture before and/or the differences now. Maybe he is conflicted about his choices..who knows?

You must have been blown over as well. An extremely interesting find.

Message Edited by bentley on 06-12-2007 10:07 PM
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bentley
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Re: Great Interview - Potential Spoiler



PaulH wrote:


bentley wrote:
This is a great interview which explains a lot.

http://www.bombsite.com/eugenides/eugenides.html




In the interview, Eugenides states that this isn't a historical novel. I disagree. I'm learning a load of history as I read. How about you guys?




I am too. Maybe Eugenides did not vet all of the details therefore it was easier for him to say it was not an historical novel.
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bentley
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Re: Great Interview - Potential Spoiler



PaulH wrote:


bentley wrote:
This is a great interview which explains a lot.

http://www.bombsite.com/eugenides/eugenides.html




In the interview, Eugenides states that this isn't a historical novel. I disagree. I'm learning a load of history as I read. How about you guys?




I was reading somewhere that 100,000 Greeks were killed in that battle of Smyrna by the Turks. I found that number unbelievable. Is that a reliable figure?

Maybe we should have a history thread.
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Paul_Hochman
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Re: Great Interview - Potential Spoiler



bentley wrote:


PaulH wrote:


bentley wrote:
This is a great interview which explains a lot.

http://www.bombsite.com/eugenides/eugenides.html




In the interview, Eugenides states that this isn't a historical novel. I disagree. I'm learning a load of history as I read. How about you guys?




I was reading somewhere that 100,000 Greeks were killed in that battle of Smyrna by the Turks. I found that number unbelievable. Is that a reliable figure?

Maybe we should have a history thread.




Great idea, Bentley. Please feel free to start a history thread. By the way , here's a photograph of Smyrna burning:

http://www.btinternet.com/~judyin.london/rozaeskenazi/smyrna.jpg
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bentley
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Re: Wikipedia on Middlesex (SPOILER)

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bentley
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Re: Wikipedia on Eugenides

Some great interview urls in the last section. Look for them.

Also, Eugenides will be back at Princeton I guess in July of this year as part of the faculty once again.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeffrey_Eugenides
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Paul_Hochman
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Re: Wikipedia on Eugenides

"He is very reluctant to appear in public"

Sounds like the last Oprah pick.
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bentley
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Re: Wikipedia on Eugenides



PaulH wrote:
"He is very reluctant to appear in public"

Sounds like the last Oprah pick.




They are all recluses. Yes, I agree.
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Paul_Hochman
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Re: Wikipedia on Eugenides



bentley wrote:


PaulH wrote:
"He is very reluctant to appear in public"

Sounds like the last Oprah pick.




They are all recluses. Yes, I agree.




I'd like to see her go for the recluse of recluses before it's too late -- J.D. Salinger.
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bentley
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Re: Additional Discussion Questions

The publisher of Middlesex (Picador) has a pdf file: Reading guide for Middlesex which had some great discussion questions in it. Some seem to be similar to what we have been discussing. Are you planning to break out some additional threads for discussion of the last third of the novel and possibly could we discuss some of the other questions in the guide? Posting the guide here for your perusal. This is a pretty complex read and I am not sure where folks are in the reading process; but thought I would post the file anyways.


http://www.picadorusa.com/rgg/files/0312422156.pdf
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