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Ring Lardner and the Other$
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Douglas Robinson

Print publication date: 1993

Print ISBN-13: 9780195076004

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195076004.001.0001

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Becoming Minor

Becoming Minor

(p.105) 4 Becoming Minor
Ring Lardner and the Other

Douglas Robinson

Oxford University Press

The author has been arguing that the emotionally blocked Lardner displaced all his healthiest, most life-enhancing impulses (feelings, reactions, experiences) onto fictional others, and spoke of them through “Other” voices. What the nonsense plays do is convert this displacement into a structural belief. The guiding force is an association that works by dissociation, a series of somatic or autonomic linkages proceeded by an unconscious separation of conscious ties between collocation entities, cuts made stammering by Lardner's Others in the ideological flow of language. In many of the plays, these cuts seem defensive and self-protective. Lardner's way is not making connections with the “Others” that speak him through the sheer inundative force of non-sequiturs. In fact, Lardner's biographers seem inclined to reduce them all to this sort of defensive flooding.

Keywords:   Other, dissociation, Lardner, guiding force, defensive flooding, self-protective, impulses

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