Thursday, 29 December 2016

Layers Of Language

Alan Moore, Jerusalem (London, 2016), "Rough Sleepers," pp. 95-123; "X Marks The Spot," pp. 125-149; "Modern Times," pp. 151-173.

A Benedictine monk called Peter differentiates aspirational faith from falsifiable belief. Is Peter's undogmatic Christianity anachronistic? Is his understanding of Islam mistaken? If all religion were as envisaged by Peter, then there would be mutual respect, not strife. However, there would still be underlying economic causes of conflicts. These would be rationalized by ideological disagreements. In those days, ideologies were religious - which gets us back to where we started.

Alan Moore plays with two meanings of the word "centre." Where is the centre? The centre of England, the point furthest from the sea in any direction, is somewhere in Hamtun/Northampton, pointed out by an angel. Alternatively, the centre is the sports and recreation centre where they play billiards.

P. 151 begins, "Sir Francis Drake..." so we think that the fictional narrative incorporates this historical figure. However, this Sir Francis has a pocket watch and smokes Woodbines. So maybe we are in alternative history? However, the second paragraph reveals that "Sir Francis Drake" is merely a nickname. The following page reveals that we are in 1909. Alan Moore would be well aware that he has evoked historical fiction, then alternative history, before returning us to our twentieth century.

We move through fictive layers. Peter saw a parliament of rooks kill one of its members, thus evoking an installment of Neil Gaiman's The Sandman.

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