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The Ballad of Dingus Magee di David Markson
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The Ballad of Dingus Magee (originale 1966; edizione 2008)

di David Markson

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Although best known today for his singular, stunning "anti-novels" dazzlingly conjured from anecdotes, quotes, and small thoughts, in his early days David Markson paid the rent by writing punchy, highly dramatic fictions. On the heels of a new double edition of his steamy noirsEpitaph for a Tramp andEpitaph for a Deadbeat comes a new edition of his 1965 classicThe Ballad of Dingus Magee, whose subtitle -- "Immortal True Saga of the Most Notorious and Desperate Bad Man of the Olden Days, his Blood-Shedding, his Ruination of Poor Helpless Females, & Cetera" -- gives readers a hint of the raucous sensibility at work here. Brimming with blasphemy, bullets, and bordellos, this hilarious tale, which inspired the Frank Sinatra movieDirty Dingus McGee, shows the early Markson at his outrageous best, taking down, asPlayboy put it, "the breeches of the Old West and blast[ing] what's exposed with buckshot."… (altro)
Utente:RickKrause
Titolo:The Ballad of Dingus Magee
Autori:David Markson
Info:Counterpoint (2008), Paperback, 160 pages
Collezioni:La tua biblioteca
Voto:
Etichette:fiction, novel, humor

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The Ballad of Dingus Magee di David Markson (1966)

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David Markson was recently (2007) named as one of the 60 best authors you’ve never read by New York magazine. Up until yesterday I counted myself as one of the unread, but no more. I did not read one of his postmodern works like The Last Novel or Vanishing Point, but rather one of his earliest works, the anti-Western The Ballad of Dingus Magee.

The back matter on the recently reissued paperback asserts Markson wrote Dingus Magee in a ‘much more traditional narrative style’ than his postmodern works. That claim makes me wonder if the publisher actually read the book!

Whatever. The Ballad of Dingus Magee is a hoot from beginning to end as it relates the feud between the desperado Dingus Billy Magee and Sheriff C.L. Hoke Birdsill. The book starts in the middle and then runs in hilarious circles to and fro, but basically Magee seeks feminine companionship (and fortune) whilst Hoke Birdrippings seeks fame (and fortune). Sheriff Birdbottom repeatedly captures Dingus only to fall victim to some folly before Hoke can collect the reward money. Dingus and Hoke conspire to inflate Dingus’s desperado repute so that the reward grows even when Dingus is down in Old Mex.

The hapless Turkey Doolan finds himself in the middle of the feud on more than one occasion and wants nothing more than to bask in the shade of Dingus Magee’s glory. Markson holds the whole Old West in some disregard. Witness his description of the (allegedly!) phony heroics of the Earps, Hickok, and Pat Garret to name a few (pages 109-110) , and of George Armstrong Custer as: “nothing but a mule-sniffing, boastful, yeller-haired fool that dint have the sense to wait on the rest of his troops and got massacred for it…”

What Markson’s Old West lacks in heroism it makes up in overflowing randiness. As the independently operating entrepreneur Anna Hot Water might have said, there’s a bim-bam here and a bim-bam there, everywhere a bim-bam. Even the equine Miss Agnes Pfeiffer manages to engage in intimate contact with Dingus, Hoke, and Turkey after convincing each of them that her chills can only be cured by brotherly cuddling.

Nacherly, Dingus runs afoul of the town’s business woman, ‘Big Blouse’ Belle Nops who enraged describes him as, “The lamb-ramming, rump-rooting, scut-befouling, fist-wiving, gopher-mounting, finger-thrusting, maidenhead-barging, bird’s-nest-ransacking, shift-beshitting, two-at-a-time-tupping lecherous little pox.”

Markson riotously debunks the heroic image of the Old West in ways reminiscent of Little Big Man and has great fun with the dialect along the way. Highest recommendation for anyone with an interest in the Old West mythology or in need of a few laughs. ( )
2 vota dougwood57 | Nov 29, 2008 |
The Ballad of Dingus Magee is, it turns out, emphatically not a Western—it’s a comedy of errors that just happens to revolve around some Wild West outlaws roaming a New Mexico Territory town named for a whore’s most valuable attribute. Extremely bawdy and at all times comical, this was hardly what I expected after Markson’s detective novels were so truly nailed-down noir I don’t think anyone cracked a smile through either of them.

Here, instead, we have a cast of characters seemingly straight out of any Western: the outlaw with a price on his head, the lawman out to hunt him down, the madam who cares only about what’s good for business, the Doc who patches Dingus up on the quiet, the schoolmarm from back East, and sundry Indians and prostitutes. But the outlaw has hardly ever committed a crime except by accident—at least until the bumbling lawman made himself such an easy target. The doctor, who knows just how unromantic the Wild West really is, wants to hire actors and go on tour to bilk more Easterners. And the respectable unmarried teacher seduces one man after another until the last is entrapped into marrying her. And let’s just say that in the end, good does not exactly triumph over evil—not that it’s clear what that would even mean in this context.
(more at http://www.bibliographing.com/2008/07/21/dingus-magee/ ) ( )
  nperrin | Jul 21, 2008 |
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Although best known today for his singular, stunning "anti-novels" dazzlingly conjured from anecdotes, quotes, and small thoughts, in his early days David Markson paid the rent by writing punchy, highly dramatic fictions. On the heels of a new double edition of his steamy noirsEpitaph for a Tramp andEpitaph for a Deadbeat comes a new edition of his 1965 classicThe Ballad of Dingus Magee, whose subtitle -- "Immortal True Saga of the Most Notorious and Desperate Bad Man of the Olden Days, his Blood-Shedding, his Ruination of Poor Helpless Females, & Cetera" -- gives readers a hint of the raucous sensibility at work here. Brimming with blasphemy, bullets, and bordellos, this hilarious tale, which inspired the Frank Sinatra movieDirty Dingus McGee, shows the early Markson at his outrageous best, taking down, asPlayboy put it, "the breeches of the Old West and blast[ing] what's exposed with buckshot."

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