The Rapist's Story

Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
Over 5000 posts
#3
Thanks, mjp! It will be interesting to see how it differs from the version in Absence of the Hero.
 

zobraks

Moderator
Over 1000 posts
#4
After checking the first two pages of a version in Absence (and comparing it to this version) I can tell you that David C. did some (heavy?) editing: 1) instead of "being just a person" he* put "just being a person" and he* changed "o.k.(s)" into "O.K.(s)".
*or his secretary/typist/the coffee lady who found the unguarded text in the empty office

Nothing of JM-magnitude so far.

As expected.
 

Andreas

Over 100 posts
#6
It's interesting that this story, according to David Calonne who sourced it from Abel Debritto's Who's Big in the Littles, has already been submitted to Whit Burnett's Story Magazine back in 1952 - which fits in with the sentence "I'm only 32 now but I feel like some sort of animal outcast."

Compared with The Fiend, which Bukowski wrote some 20 years later, The Rapist's Story comes across like an essay of a school kid.
 
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Joseph K

Over 100 posts
#7
Compared with The Fiend, which Bukowski wrote some 20 years later, The Rapist's Story comes across like an essay of a school kid.
Well, I think there is a big difference in the stories intentionally. In The Fiend the narrator is depraved and unapologetic and it is clear that he acted intentionally because he liked doing those acts. Here it is ambiguous. It is possible the narrator is actually innocent. If he is guilty then he's not admitting it to us (and perhaps not even to himself). It is possible for us to feel some sympathy for the narrator here. In The Fiend that is almost impossible. Both stories work in different ways and I think it's an intelligent way of covering the same territory using two different approaches.
 

Andreas

Over 100 posts
#9
Well, I think there is a big difference in the stories intentionally. In The Fiend the narrator is depraved and unapologetic and it is clear that he acted intentionally because he liked doing those acts. Here it is ambiguous. It is possible the narrator is actually innocent. If he is guilty then he's not admitting it to us (and perhaps not even to himself). It is possible for us to feel some sympathy for the narrator here. In The Fiend that is almost impossible. Both stories work in different ways and I think it's an intelligent way of covering the same territory using two different approaches.
To be honest, Alexander, I've never thought about approaches or intentions when I read these stories.

The Rapist's Story is an early story by an author who hasn't found his voice yet - the most exciting thing about it is the title, in my opinion - whereas The Fiend is written in a strong and straight language, by an author who did find his voice.

Carl Weissner brilliantly translated The Fiend into German. Actually this is one of the very few cases where I prefer the translation to the original (the poem Hell Is A Lonely Place is another exception).
 

Joseph K

Over 100 posts
#10
I would agree that Buk did definitely improve and develop technically and artistically as a writer. But....try writing a story about a slimey, weak-willed, immoral (or amoral) person who is deceiving himself and others and telling (or inventing) a story to exculpate himself. Then read it through. It will sound like the author himself is hedging his bets or unsure of his material or trying to keep the story falsely ambiguous. You could be the greatest writer ever and never have such a story read like a strong confident tale delivered by a master storyteller....

Translation is always fascinating because the translator has to choose a meaning for every word (and every action in the story) and find the ideal word for that, which inevitably blocks off other meanings that existed in the original word (or action). The translator is like an actor who has to decide how to play a part. Each such decision inevitably limits ambiguity and steers the reader/viewer in a certain direction.
 
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