"New Lands"

fortist

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#1
I'm writing a book on Fort's philosophy, and would be interested in knowing what Forteans think about New Lands. It's often cited as the least successful and least popular of all his books; but I'd be interested to know what people think about it, and why...

Replies either to here or to [email protected]..

Cheers

Fortist
 
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#2
fortist said:
I'm writing a book on Fort's philosophy, and would be interested in knowing what Forteans think about New Lands. It's often cited as the least successful and least popular of all his books; but I'd be interested to know what people think about it, and why...

Replies either to here or to [email protected]..

Cheers

Fortist
It's the only one I've got a hard copy of: Sphere (1974).

I've got one more book to read for the Fortean Times, Reader's Reviews (Bermuda Triangle) section.

I'll try to re-read Fort's dense and circuitous prose and let you know.

I'll even take it on holiday with me! How's that? :yeay:
 

fortist

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#3
You can read "New Land" in new lands; very apt!! There's some beautiful writing in "Lands", I think moreso than any of the other books.

Ian
 
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#4
fortist said:
You can read "New Land" in new lands; very apt!! There's some beautiful writing in "Lands", I think moreso than any of the other books.

Ian
Right, i'm taking it on holiday, then. I'll let you know how I get on. It's years since I read it (or, at least, seriously dipped into it). :)
 
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#5
The general style of that book reminds me unpleasantly of the lengthy rambling diatribes that now infest the paranormal regions of the internet. If Fort were around today, I expect he'd have a website on Geocities with green text and lots of animated gifs.
 

fortist

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#6
graylien said:
The general style of that book reminds me unpleasantly of the lengthy rambling diatribes that now infest the paranormal regions of the internet. If Fort were around today, I expect he'd have a website on Geocities with green text and lots of animated gifs.
"New Lands" does get a little hyperbolic in places, but it's still good stuff. And besides, a little vitriolic energy can spice things up sometimes. You're right about the green Geocities gifs though!
 
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#7
NO. nO. IMO, Fort would have been very pedantic in his choice of exactly the right typeface.

Basically, his problem was that as an angry and holistic, Romantic, who perceived a World that was being an-atomized and reduced to discreet elements that could be further pulverized into easily explained 'Facts', he was trying to find the correct vocabulary to explain the trichotomy between, 'as is' Reality, Human Perception and the poverty of Human Communication of Ideas/Models/explanations.

He was one of the pioneers, like Jarry and Saussure (only working in the relative vacuum of a burgeoningly Empiricist USA), waiting for the likes of Wittgenstein, Popper, Barthes and Eco, to come along with the right technical lingo, that could reduce it all to something like a science.

The apparent incoherence of his prose style is only Poe-like and jazzy syncopation, waiting for the new lexiconographers to sketch out the maps of the New Lands that he helped discover.
 
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#9
I think we're overestimating Fort by classifying him as a philosopher. New Lands is simply a scattershot compendium of anomalous events interspersed with bizarre half-theories and rants about how the fact that scientists sometimes get things wrong or sometimes disagree with each other proves that scientific methodology is somehow intrinsically flawed.

As far as the "apparent incoherence" of Fort's writing style goes, I suppose it's marginally more readable than Beckjord, but only just.
 
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#11
graylien said:
Nevertheless, the Earth does revolve around the sun, for all of Fort's tedious rantings.
Haven't you got a Beckjord tribute site you should be busy creating, Graylien?

Don't let us keep you. :hmm:
 

almond13

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#13
The astronomers explained. I don't know what the mind of an astronomers looks like, but I think of a fizzle with excuses revolving around it.
One of my favourite quotes.

I tried an amateur astronomy NG once and someone was asking what they thought of the suggestion that the moon mission was a hoax.
I asked why none of the astronauts suffered from radiation sickness and a terrible row broke out. They were threatening to “bitch slap” each other and other terrible expletives.
The next thing I know I get a letter from someone saying that they own the IP and this was my final warning.
I still don’t know what I did?
:)
 

fortist

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#16
I liked the "ten reasons" but feel I must fight Fort's corner:

1. Fort spent almost a decade studying "everything: chemistry, meteorology, sociology, electricity, magnetism, architecture, music, psychology, astronomy, ethics--taking notes, reading books and going over indexes; hundreds of notes a day, sometimes--geology, entomology, botany, zoology, cytology, histology--over to the library in the morning; out for dinner, pencil and pad with knife and fork in front of me; back to the library; home, to take more notes until bedtime--history, philosophy, evolution, mechanics, mathematics, logic, civil engineering--sounds like a correspondence--school's circular--anthropology, physiology, ethnology, military and naval strategy, sculpture, economics..."

2. Fort wrote books, novels, stories and journalism. Much more than Beckjord ever managed!

3. Fort did not create monsters, contenting himself to try and demonstrate their existence.

4. Fort had a collection of objects and substances that fell from the sky, as well as mounted spiders. Beckjord...didn't.

5. Fort didn't need to found a museum, and even if he could have done, he wouldn't: "I accept that over the door of every museum, into which such things enter, is written 'Abandon Hope"

6. Fort invented supercheckers.

7. Fort's middle name was "Hoy" and he has a blue plaque in London. Beckjord doesn't.

8. Fort won a duel with a Frenchman, battering him and winning straight out.

9. Fort wouldn't be caught dead with The Incredible Squirrel Wire, despite his extensive reading.

10. Fort wasn't concerned to investigate phenomena in the field, being more concerned to examine how data was treated once it was made available.

Ian
 
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