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Sententiae viri ex temporibus duobus

Dedman’s Complaint

Surprisingly clever, and perhaps the most consistent I have read with respect to its theory of time travel, this book is quite good, especially considering that it is Niffenegger’s first novel. It would almost be timeless, save for its odd (and unnecessary) references to early 1980s punk bands.

So says Dedman of The Time Traveler’s Wife.

He complaint follows this pattern of argument that For all books, if it is “timeless” then it does not contain references to popular movements of the day.

This is sheer nonesense.

The rhetorical retort to “for all” is to provide a single counterexample. I proffer two.

Is Dedman’s paragon, The Great Gatsby any less “timeless” ( and frankly I’m not even sure that it’s worth that accolade on any grounds at all ) because it includes huge segments of “Ain’t We Got Fun” intemix’d just as the Violent Femmes' “Blister in the Sun” is woven into a sequence of TTW?

{ For the record I think F. Scott’s best works are his short stories (much like Stephen King). “Bernice Bobs Her Hair” and “A Diamond As Big as The Ritz” come to memory quickly }

Is Catcher in the Rye prevented from transcending all generational barriers because Holden’s peer can whistle “Tin Roof Blues”? Does the work suffer for having references to Just One of those Things", “Little Shirley Beans” , “Oh, Marie!”, “Smoke Gets in your Eyes”? Surely not.

I think Dedman has a right to claim that he finds their mention distracting, or make an aesthetic claim that writers ought not do something – but to strip access to the Platonic object of The Timeless on these grounds seems to overlook that “timeless” literary achievements have existed in the world that are guilty of the same offense.