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A Composer of Musical Prose

A Composer of Musical Prose

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Published by Kasandria Sajette

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Published by: Kasandria Sajette on May 21, 2012
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Ramos 1Student ID# 37676647Kasandria Sajette RamosAlberto GullubaWriting 39B: Gangster and Pop Culture11 May 2012 Composer of Literature
“Being an artist doesn’t take much, just everything you’ve got.
Which means, of course,that as the process is giving you life, it is also giving you death.
But it’s no big deal.
They areone and the same and cannot be avoided or denied. So when I totally embrace this process, thislife/death, and abandon myself to it, I transcend all this gibberish and hang out with the gods. It
seems to me that that is worth the price of admission.”
After dropping out of high school, joiningthe Merchant Marines, and fighting a four-year battle with tuberculosis, Selby found himself in astate of spiritual ambivalence- during which time, his passion for writing was revealed. Hubert
Selby’s 1964 fictional novel,
 Last Exit to Brooklyn,
created uproars of positive and negativereviews upon its release. Where some went so far as to ban the novel and prosecute it, othersconsider it one of the most influential literary works of the century. Even so,
 Last Exit to Brooklyn,
was the flame that ignited S
elby’s success in his writing career 
.
“Sometimes we have the absolute certainty there's something inside us that's so hideous
and monstrous that if we ever search it out we won't be able to stand looking at it. But it's whenwe are willing
to come face to face with that demon that we face the angel”
(Selby). Althoughmany readers may
hold that Hubert Selby Jr.’s novel,
 
 Last Exit to Brooklyn,
is one filled withgrammatical blemishes and effortless prose, scholars across the board believe it is important to
acknowledge the purpose for Selby’s
idiosyncratic style; because, in doing so, one may find thatby coming face to face with the demons of eccentric typography and unorthodox usage of 
 
Ramos 2Student ID# 37676647dialogue, Selby transcends himself and his works. Through the use of slash and burn aestheticsand blending dialogue, Hubert Selby Jr. creates a musically poetic prose that candidly depicts,not only the immense influence music had on his
work, but his character’s stories and the violent
realities he grew up in. In doing so, Hubert encourages his readers to create and examine morein-
depth points of views that illuminates the character’s voice as well as depicted the disease of 
the human condition.Hubert Selby Jr. transcends his novel by utilizing capitalizations, indentations inparagraphs, and slashes in order to create an emotional journey similar to that by which a pieceof music takes a listener on. Capitalization is most preva
lent in part one’s,
 Another Dime Another Dollar 
; “You get caught and you wont be able to drink this good coffee. COFFEE”
(Selby Jr. 16.3). The use of upper- cases creates emphasis on
coffee
as a means to re-createcrescendos found in music. Crescendos indicate the gradual increase of volume in a musicalpiece; therefore, Selby has made use of the upper- cases as a means to create the same loudness.Where capitalizations pose as crescendos, indentations in paragraphs are the equivalent of a rest in songs. A pause in any literary work, may act as a break of ideas or statements; however,
in this text, the pause often represents a character’s break for thought.
On the left side of page22- last sentence of paragraph 2 and first sentence of paragraph 3- it is clear that the pause can
reveal the character’s stream of consciousness.
S
lashes in Hubert’s work 
, on the other hand, often acts as an indication of endlessness.Here, Selby breaks the rhythm of the dialogue in a consistent manner- for which, he claims tohave done due to the convenience of the slash button on the type- writer.
“Go tell ya troubles to
 jesus and stop breakin my balls. I/ll break ya balls ya rotten bastard, trying to kick him in thegroin, but Freddy turned and lifted his leg then sla
 pped her across the face” (Selby Jr. 18.1). In

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