Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-77c89778f8-7drxs Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-07-17T10:41:07.932Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

6 - Proustian Peristalsis: Parties Before, During and After

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 April 2014

Get access

Summary

The nature of parties has been imperfectly studied. It is, however, generally understood that a party has a pathology, that it is a kind of an individual and that it is likely to be a very perverse individual. And it is also generally understood that a party hardly ever goes the way it is planned or intended. This last, of course, excludes those dismal slave parties whipped and controlled and dominated, given by ogreish professional hostesses. These are not parties at all but acts and demonstrations, about as spontaneous as peristalsis and as interesting as its end product.

(John Steinbeck, Cannery Row)

The reader might wonder whether John Steinbeck's amusing statement on ‘the nature of parties’ applies exclusively to the novel in which it appears, or whether it has a broader applicability. Cannery Row (1945), set in Monterey, California, during the Great Depression, is a concatenation of short scenes tied together by two parties – one which takes place about halfway through the book, and which is disastrous in its results, and a second one, which is planned as an act of atonement for the first one. A group of unemployed or underemployed men usually referred to as ‘The Boys’ by the narrator decide to throw a party for one of the book's main characters, a marine biologist called Doc, who has been good to them over the years. The first party's origin has an ethical dimension.

Type
Chapter
Information
The Modernist Party , pp. 112 - 126
Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
Print publication year: 2013

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×