FT-Catalog Lost Books

Tad Tuleja, Author, Thaddeus F. Tuleja, Author Ballantine Books $7.95 (201p) ISBN 978-0-449-90347-6
Parodying obtuse academic synopses of great books, Tuleja ( The Cat's Pajamas ), gets off to an amusing start with a commentary on ``The Altamira Spiral,'' identified as ``an arrangement of polished, inscribed stones'' from a cave in northern Spain. But he has difficulty sustaining that joke past a few paragraphs, let alone generating enough laughs to warrant a book. In seeking to poke fun at dull, pedantic writing, more often than not he is dull and pedantic himself. The idea of Marilyn Monroe analyzing Claude Levi-Strauss has potential, but the annotation bogs down with lines like ``Her theme is that `signifying' art always `bodies forth the contradictions of its social matrix,' attempting through `rigid iconic artifice' to `expiate the demons of its own necessary irresolution.' '' Other entries are sophomoric: ``This ingenious book of ancient divination explains the ritualistic cutting and analysis of nail clippings.'' There are some moments of inspired madness, as in an essay on ``the world's only major writer whose works are known only from a concordance.'' But on the whole, the reader would be better off if Tuleja's ``lost books'' had stayed lost. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/06/1989
Release date: 07/01/1989
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