Talk:Guy Davenport

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/Archive June 05 - May 07

Tony's edits: sexual activities involving young boys described in Davenport's work; intro to Will McBride's COMING OF AGE (fugitive pieces)[edit]

Hi - I cannot understand why Seth is deleting the references to Pedophilia and child sexual abuse in fiction saying they are untrue. Is he saying that there is no sexual activity involving underage boys? I believe it is material content for the article as no other author has published as many works of fiction that feature this type of activity. Tony 06:51, 1 May 2007 (UTC)Tony

Re "Seth is deleting", it was me the second time and someone else the first time. Child sexuality is a major theme in much of Davenport's fiction, but child sexual abuse certainly isn't and neither is pedophilia from what I have read. SethTisue 13:07, 1 May 2007 (UTC)
In addition, none of the works you (Tony Sandel) are calling novels are in fact novels. Deor 13:23, 1 May 2007 (UTC)
Tony: I've visited your Wikipedia user page and also read the extensive Discussion page attached to it. I have these comments:
The title you chose ("sexual activities involving young boys described in Davenport's work") for this discussion strikes me as a major clue to our problem. I gather you propose to apply the label "pedophilia and child sexual abuse" to any text or film that portrays "sexual activities involving young ['underage'] boys"!! If so, the Davenport page is hardly the only entry where you will meet strong resistance.
Although you say you intend to be carefully neutral as you develop your chosen topic, you seem in practice to be wedded to far-from-neutral and overly broad labels. Your Pedophilia and child sexual abuse in fiction page was nominated for deletion, it appears to me, mostly because of its provocative and inherently contentious title. "Pedophilia" and "child sexual abuse" strike me as terms that invite endless misunderstanding. They may be useful topics for legal and psychological entries. But as descriptions of the content of works of art they simply do not accurately apply to many of the books and films listed in the Wikipedia entry you have created under this banner. Yet you have resisted more neutrally descriptive terms offered to you as alternatives on your Discussion page (such as "adult/child sex" instead of "pedophilia").
I see, moreover, that other editors have repeatedly urged you to consider that fiction is FICTION, and must be read on its own terms. You do not appear to have come to grips with that point. To the contrary, you have taken the position that a fiction can be said to portray "child sexual abuse", no matter how consensual or unabusive (in the non-legal sense) the activities in the fiction are actually presented, if prevailing law where the fiction is set would so-label any of those activities -- even if no mention of the law, much less conflict with the law, appears in the story!
Davenport's fictions are true fictions, portrayals of worlds challengingly different from the one we live in. His stories famously defy labeling. If forced to choose a label, among the last I'd think of would be "sexual abuse". Exactly the opposite. Davenport's main characters (of all ages) give each other utopian levels of attention, regard, and respect in all their interactions, including the sexual.
As Seth says, no argument that Davenport describes child sexuality. But not sexual abuse. Several Davenport stories include characters who are overt pedophiles, but those stories are not "about" pedophilia. If "Pedophilia and child sexual abuse in fiction" were to reappear as a characterization of (or link to) Davenport's work, I, too, will unhesitatingly delete it. Applied to Davenport, these terms are inaccurate and badly misleading.
I hope your entry on works that include childhood sexual events eventually finds a title and a method of categorization that avoids the problems you are encountering here. It is a worthy and difficult task. SocJan 11:36, 2 May 2007 (UTC)
Surely we can agree that a work of fiction that has an "overt pedophile" as a significant character must therefore have pedophilia as a major or minor theme? Tony 21:01, 2 May 2007 (UTC)Tony
Nope. No more than a work of fiction with an arsonist as a character must be said to have pyromania as a major or minor theme.
And who said significant character? I didn't. (My reference was to two distinctly minor characters.)
SocJan 07:51, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

This time Tony proposes to annotate exactly one item on the long list that appears under "fugitive pieces": Will McBride's photographic essay COMING OF AGE (to which Davenport contributed an introduction).

Tony has reverted his description "photographs of adolescent boys" which I had deleted primarily on grounds of inaccuracy.

COMING OF AGE in fact contains pictures of pre-adolescent, adolescent, and post-adolescent boys and young men, often alone but just as often with very young girls, adolescent girls, young women, old women, and old men, in various combinations.

To say that this is a book of "photographs of adolescent boys" is simply inaccurate.

But why is any annotation needed here, anyway? The book's title seems quite sufficient. And no other piece on this list is annotated.

Even on McBride's own entry page in Wikipedia, no annotation is attached to COMING OF AGE.

Tony: May I suggest that you and I not get into a revert war? Instead, let's see if other people will weigh in on this discussion page. In the meantime, if you restore your annotation, please try to make it more accurate. I will wait at least a week before deciding whether to intervene again. The comments of others will definitely affect my decision But please consider whether any annotation might not be much more appropriately placed on the McBride page rather than here, where Davenport ought to be our main focus. Adolescent boys are not the topic of Davenport's introductory essay. SocJan 09:11, 13 July 2007 (UTC)

Seconded. SethTisue 12:01, 13 July 2007 (UTC)
Innacurate: try looking at the commentsaries on Amazon and [[1]]. All focus on male adolescence. Tony 20:13, 13 July 2007 (UTC)Tony
I deleted Tony's language with the book itself in hand, having carefully tallied its photographs (see above) and refreshed my memory of its texts.
The question to hand is Tony's proposed description, "photographs of adolescent boys". The bookseller blurbs and comments Tony cites don't support that wording. (Read the fourteen reader comments on Amazon, for example: several express disappointment that the book proved not to be just what Tony's proposed language would lead a prospective purchaser to expect.) In any case, blurbs and reader comments about a book should be less dispositive than the book's actual contents. This book speaks (eloquently) for itself. SocJan 04:35, 14 July 2007 (UTC)
I have avoided this page for months after all the nastiness of the spring, but, visiting today, I will weigh in to agree w/ SocJan & Seth that Tony's note on Will McBride's book is less than accurate & unnecessary. It is not the place of the Guy Davenport article to describe, briefly, the books to which Davenport contributed. Those who are interested can find the books for themselves & decide what they are & how Davenport's work fits in them.
Sparrowseed & I took great pains when we attempted even to describe Davenport's work. Indeed, when we wrote what has essentially become the template for the current page, we discussed whether we should characterize his work at all (since we wanted to avoid opinion & stick ONLY to facts) but decided that we must. Sandel's kind of glib note is one of the things we were avoiding. In an article on McBride such description could be fleshed out, w/ examples, &c. Here, it's unneeded & misleading. James Nicol 18:52, 20 July 2007 (UTC)

My revision of "Visual Art" and restoration of APPLES AND PEARS jacket image (formerly displayed at the head of the entry)[edit]

Having read carefully Wikipedia's rules on fair use of images, I have added a quotation from Davenport regarding his desire to create texts that were both words and images -- specifically, his comment that frustration with the treatment of his images by the designer of APPLES AND PEARS caused him to give all that up (in my opinion, a great loss to literature). I believe this commentary adequately justifies use of the A+P book cover image to show the sorts of collage Davenport is talking about.

'Hope this is OK, Deor. I agree with you that the previous position of the image, and lack of commentary to justify it, could conceivably have been challenged as not meeting tests of fair use. SocJan 07:29, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

I am planning to write an Apples and Pears article and it can be used there in due course.Tony 22:00, 20 July 2007 (UTC)Tony

Added material on 3 works of fiction[edit]

Following 3rd opinion on Talk:The Cardiff Team, I have edited down the articles on (Apples and Pears, Table of Grren Fields) and added them to this Davenport article.Tony 22:30, 1 November 2007 (UTC)Tony

Merge Talk page from The Cardiff Team[edit]

Talk page brought over from The Cardiff Team following merge and redirect. SilkTork *SilkyTalk 22:51, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

First comment[edit]

The creator of this page (and apparently of its unreferenced "plot summaries") created a similar page last summer for Guy Davenport's novella APPLES AND PEARS. Rather than repeat here the discussion that led recently to the deletion of most of the content of that page, I refer interested parties to the APPLES AND PEARS discussion page where the reasons for tagging earlier versions of it with NOR and NPOV warnings are laid out in considerable detail.

I applaud inclusion this time of book review excerpts that appear to give some support to the author's usual POV, which emphasizes content that deals with child sexuality at the expense of a rich variety of other material in these stories. But I point out that these are excerpts and I do not have time to verify that they accurately reflect the final judgment of those reviews.

I must object, as I did in the case of "Apples and Pears", to the summaries presented on this page of some of these stories. Another editor could write very diifferent summaries, ones rarely or never mentioning child sexuality, that would be equally faithful to Davenport's ideogrammatic, collagist, style -- but they would be equally in violation of OR and POV Wikipedia rules.

Please let's agree to delete all OR material and allow readers to encounter Davenport's stories on their own and decide for themselves what they are "about".

Encyclopaedias like Wikipedia inform people about books through brief plot summaries. It is strange to suggest that Wikipedia should "allow readers to encounter Davenport's stories on their own". That implies that there should be no articles on works of fiction.Tony 15:29, 1 November 2007 (UTC)Tony
Let me be clearer: I am trying to say something simple and hard to dispute: Especially when dealing with controversial material, if one cannot find a BALANCED, and if possible sourced, plot summary that is representative of a consensus of critical opinion, it is better to offer no plot summary than to create an OR summary, especially not OR work of the sort that Tony has been inclined to provide for Davenport stories in which he finds the material he is looking for.
It's fine for an editor to be on the lookout for texts that include comments or events that seem to fit a particular category of interest to that editor; it is not fine for that editor to then write original summaries of those texts that unduly emphasize that one type of material to the neglect of other material that is equally or more central to the works in question. Nor to search for, and quote selectively from, reviews that happen to share his POV. If the published critical literature has not reached a consensus, Wikipedia articles should not be offering summaries that appear to be neutral and undisputed but that are in fact neither.
As someone said cogently elsewhere in discussions involving Tony's plot summaries, anything in Wikipedia that someone might challenge should be sourced. I dispute Tony's descriptions of some of these stories. Others familiar with Davenport and with the literature on Davenport agreed with me. No one (in the case of Apples and Pears) supported Tony.
If he can find published discussions of these stories that reflect the critical consensus among published critics and reviewers, and quote them in an NPOV fashion, the problems to which I have called attention will disappear. If he cannot, he should not continue to post NPOV and OR material that he then challenges the rest of us to "improve". SocJan 22:30, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

In summary, this time around I believe the most efficient way to deal with what is undoubtedly an honest and well-intentioned effort, but one several readers have judged to be quite wrong-headed, is simply to insist on adherence, from the start, to Wikipedia standards regarding point of view and original research.SocJan 01:45, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

Example of NPOV violation in quotation from book review[edit]

I present below the entire (short) review of THE CARDIFF TEAM by Robert McLaughlin from which the author of this page has extracted this comment on the page he has created: "A family based on sex between adults and children seems far from idyllic, and the constant talk of erections, masturbation, and so on is more tedious than revolutionary."

Reading the entire review will illustrate how this Wikipedia editor tends to reduce everything to his own chosen topic. He wants to believe, and wants us to believe, that he is sticking to a neutral point of view. Judge for yourselves whether this is true.

Guy Davenport. The Cardiff Team. New Directions, 1996. 192 pp. $22.95.
Not a lot happens in most of the stories in Guy Davenport’s The Cardiff Team. Instead of focusing on plot, Davenport focuses on moments that beautifully evoke innocence, experience, desire, or fulfillment. The stories can stand alone, but, read together, they overlap in characters and incident and interact thematically. The characters long for connection with others in societies that encourage alienation. From George Santayana seeking to connect with a British army officer, to Robinson Crusoe desperately striving to return to the deserted island he sought to escape, to Swedish boys at summer camp trying to accommodate their feelings of love, Davenport’s characters attempt to form make-shift teams, to become ad hoc families, to find a meaningful home. Indeed, the form of the book is a model of such connections. Davenport incorporates other texts, from poems to Scientific American articles, and characters from fiction and history. More complexly, the various stories bleed into one another, as characters from one story appear in or are discussed in others and whole episodes jump from story to story. The result is that as we read we’re treated to tiny revelations when we make connections and that we’re asked intellectually to create the bonds that the characters seek emotionally. This connects to a second shared theme: Davenport’s characters seem over and over to act out the conflict between the intellectual and the physical. Many of the main characters live in their minds and are contrasted with the men and boys around them who, while intellectually mundane, live in their bodies and with nature.
These themes come together and are supposed to be resolved in the long, troubling title story. Set in contemporary Paris, the story presents a twelve-year-old boy, Walt, as a synthesis of the intellectual and the physical: he is an acclaimed genius who is remarkably in touch with his own and others’ bodies, with the smells and the sights of nature. He is also the center of an odd ménage à cinq made up of Walt, his mother, her lover and Walt’s tutor, Marc, Walt’s friend Bee, who appears to the world dressed as a boy named Sam, and Cyril, an unhappily repressed rich boy who learns the joy of sex. Walt’s polymorphous perversity breaks down societal codes and replaces them with a structure in which the characters relate happily, guiltlessly, and selflessly. Marc tells Cyril, “Polycrates burnt the gymnasiums of Samos because he knew that every friendship forged in them were two revolutionaries. Our real families are our friends.” Unfortunately, this conclusion is problematic. A family based on sex between adults and children seems far from idyllic, and the constant talk of erections, masturbation, and so on is more tedious than revolutionary. Despite this reservation (and considering the story’s length, it’s a major one), the other stories in The Cardiff Team have much to recommend them: they are beautiful, intelligent, and thought-provoking. [Robert L. McLaughlin]

McLaughlin's review strikes me as reasonably fair and balanced. The out-of-context quotation from it is clearly at odds with the bulk of the review. SocJan 02:48, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

Ah! The article quotes another, more favorable, passage from McLaughlin: "Instead of focusing on plot, Davenport focuses on moments that beautifully evoke innocence, experience, desire, or fulfillment." I missed it, above, because it was given a separate citation and McLaughlin was not mentioned as the author, implying that it came from a different review. SocJan 03:20, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

I am requsting 3rd opinion on this dispute.Tony 15:11, 1 November 2007 (UTC)Tony
The quotations from the reviews were to reference the sexual aspects of this work and to show this is not OR as SocJan states. SocJan doesn not wish the brief plot summary to mention that adults have sex with children.
The previous sentence, as Tony well knows, mischaracterizes my central objections to his work: please see the Discussion page associated with the APPLES AND PEARS article. We should not repeat all that here. SocJan 22:30, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
The reviewer's comment "A family based on sex between adults and children" confirms what is obvious in the text of the book that an adult enjoys sex with children and is sexually attracted to them (it is all 'consensual' sex and the children are pubescent boys). SocJan has also deleted this work from Pedophilia and child sexual abuse in fiction (boys). The inclusion of this book in that article is entirely appropriate. Wikipedia should not refuse to mention sexual acts with children just because one editor feels it is OK because it is a work of fiction. SocJan has also added 'citation needed' to a number of places in the article plot summary. Factual Wikipedia plot summaries do not need a citation on every statement.Tony 15:24, 1 November 2007 (UTC)Tony

Third Opinion[edit]

I've looked closely at the article. My first question was regarding the notability of the book. The notability of the author is established. However, while this collection of stories has attracted some reviews, and incidental mentions in articles on the author, it may not pass an AfD discussion. Certainly the parent article, Guy Davenport, could handle discussion of Davenport's output quite comfortably without the need to spill out into a standalone article for this, and Apples and Pears, and it may be considered merging the best content of this and Apples and Pears back into Guy Davenport and putting redirects in place.

I agree. SocJan 22:30, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

The next question is then how to deal with discussion of content. Well, that always has to come from sources. I've looked at three reviews and they all mention the sexuality in the stories, so it is appropriate that mention is made of that in discussing the text. However, such mentions must be neutral. An inference taken from the source material that the text deals with "Pedophilia and child sexual abuse" would be slightly problematic for me, as I don't see that strongly in the sources. I am not concerned with the actual content of the text. I am concerned with how sources have dealt with the text. The sources make mention of sexual content, and the sources have views on this. Mention of the views of the sources on the sexual content is entirely appropriate. But going beyond that would not be appropriate.

I agree. SocJan 22:30, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

It would be wrong to keep removing appropriate and verifiable source commentary. At the same time there needs to be a balance so that commentary is not selected in order to put forward an unbalanced view. However, I am persuaded by the reviews here and here that the sexuality in the text is prominent and is dealt with seriously. I find it highly appropriate, given that all the reviews I have looked at make deliberate and extended comments on the sexuality present in the text, that these views are reflected in a discussion of the text in the article.

Again, I am in agreement. SocJan 22:30, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

I do, however, find the current state of the article to be rather messy, and I see little advantage in the listing of the plot lines of each story. The sources do not go into such detail. A few well chosen sentences to sum up the text would be more appropriate, and that could possibly be done in a paragraph within the Guy Davenport article. SilkTork *SilkyTalk 19:29, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

For the record: I will never object to a neutral description of a fictional work that includes reference to the sexuality of the fictional children, including instances in which that sexuality is observed or expressed with/by other fictional characters who are not themselves defined as children in legal statutes prevailing in our non-fictional real world. But I will object forever to any automatic characterization of such material as "child abuse" -- especially if the fiction in question includes nothing that fits the ordinary dictionary meaning of "abuse". As for "pedophilia", I find the subject so poorly defined and definable as to be a dubious subject by which to categorize fictions. My main objection has been to the portrayal of Davenport stories as showing "child sexual abuse", as Tony has repeatedly tried to assert. This characterization of his could not be further from a neutral, established, critical consensus. Besides being OR and NPOV, it happens to be wrong-headed. But I should not have to argue that. OR and NPOV violations should be sufficient to get such material taken out of Wikipedia. SocJan 22:30, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

Following this 3rd opinion, the Davenport article has been expanded and this article can now be deleted. Tony 21:56, 1 November 2007 (UTC)Tony

Merge Talk page from Apples and Pears[edit]

This entry on APPLES AND PAIRS would not exist, I feel it fair to say, were it not for the keen interest of Tony, who has created it, in calling the world's attention to works that he believes fit the category "Pedophilia and child sexual abuse in fiction".

Update 9/13/07: Three of the four contributors to this discussion page agree that Apples and Pears: Het Erewhonisch Schetsboek: Messidor - Vendémiaire 1981 is particularly unsuited to the "pedophilia/child abuse" label that its creator, "Tony Sandel" champions. Today I have once again removed Tony's "Pedophilia and child sexual abuse" label, since it has gained no support at all on this page.
"Tony" is not wrong that child sexuality is something addressed in Davenport's work. Davenport's exploration of human sexuality in general and child sexuality in particular is highly original. There is an issue here, but Tony is not up to addressing it. Slapping a completely inappropriate and misleading label on this work of fiction is the exact opposite of the treatment it deserves -- and has so far not received here. I continue to resist a strong temptation to take this case to the headquarters of Wikipedia Deletion Police, but if "Tony" gets into a revert war with me over this appalling label, I will.
Also: No significant progress has been made toward replacing the initial crude, reductionist, inaccurate, biased, summary of this challenging novella with something more neutral. This article continues to violate Wiki neutrality standards. It should be taken offline until someone less biased can work on it. SocJan 18:26, 13 September 2007 (UTC)

Perhaps someday a more balanced view of A+P might be justified. In the meantime, I believe that this entry, given its many problems, should be taken to wherever biased articles go until they can be re-written.

It is marred by numerous factual inaccuracies (for example, Sander 'Floris' is not a blood relative of Adriaan van Hovendaal).
I agree this is an errorTony 12:48, 26 July 2007 (UTC)Tony
It presents a highly skewed and thus distorted summary that misleads the reader as to the nature of APPLES AND PEARS and glosses individual passages so as to highlight only controversial material. (This is precisely the sort of selective, reductive, out-of-context reading of his work against which Davenport fought throughout his career.)
I have highlighted the predominant theme of the book. Others should contribute if they wish on other themes.Tony 12:48, 26 July 2007 (UTC)Tony
Is it the job of Wikipedia articles to highlight themes? Even if so, would there be universal agreement that you have identified "the predominant theme"? What has happened to the neutral POV that Wikipedia articles are supposed to maintain (and that you pledge to honor, on your personal Wikipedia page)?
I have written from a neutral POV. There is, for sure, more that can be added on other, less dominant themes, but that just makes the article incomplete, not a distorted POV. I have not said in the article that pedophilia is a dominant theme - that would be POV. I've just summarised the main storyline; that's one core justification for a Wiki summary of a work of fictionTony 22:49, 26 July 2007 (UTC)Tony
Tony, you have contradicted yourself. In one breath, you claim to have “highlighted the predominant theme of [‘Apples & Pears’]”. In the next breath, you claim neutrality, & you claim NOT to have said that pedophilia is a dominant theme (in the article, true, but since you describe in the discussion—just as public as the article—that you consider it such, then you tell everyone to read the article that way, which is, of course, how you mean it). In that same next breath, you state that there are “other, less dominant themes”, which re-asserts that you consider pedophilia a “theme” of “Apples & Pears” & the “dominant one”! Where, exactly, is the concrete factuality in the statement “Pedophilia is the dominant theme of ‘Apples & Pears’”? Point to the page of “Apples & Pears” that states that, please. Your peculiar reading or “Apples & Pears” violates Wikipedia’s goal of hewing to objective, neutral, factuality. Until you are willing to write a truly complete summary of “Apples & Pears”, then this page in its current state should be held in abeyance. I would LOVE LOVE to see a page on “Apples & Pears”. I am happy to write one with you, but this one isn’t ready for public viewing in its current, parochial state. James Nicol 05:08, 27 July 2007 (UTC)
James: I would be delighted if you want to edit/add to the article and happy to have it put into abeyance for, say, 4 weeks for you to get to work. Then you can load it up again. Perhaps you can get SocJan to work on it too.Tony 13:50, 27 July 2007 (UTC)Tony
The position Tony appears to be taking here is that he has no obligation to be neutral; somehow the rest of us should now help the article achieve neutrality by adding to it, correcting his errors, and doing the work necessary to balance out the selective summary he acknowledges having provided. Speaking only for myself, I don't have the interest or time to devote to this.
Let me be very clear: I am against censorship, against deletion of articles with merit. But I also do subscribe to the Wikipedia insistence on neutrality.
This A+P entry, as it currently stands, is absolutely not written from a neutral POV.
The question I raise continues to be: Will Tony or someone else bring this article into line with Wikipedia neutrality and factual quality standards in a timely fashion? If not, should it be worked on off-line until it reaches a minimum quality level? This seems to be what Highers Up in Wikipedia recommend in situations like this one. I don't presume to answer the question. (Notice that I have not formally requested anything from Wikipedia Police and Homeland Security Forces.)
Thanks, Tony, for the fast response. Let's now hear from others. Further affiant sayeth not (for now). SocJan 20:20, 26 July 2007 (UTC)

Let me illustrate by contrasting one passage from Tony's summary of A+P with the text itself and with a Davenport scholar's recent treatment of some of the same material.

P A S S A G E from current Wikipedia entry on A+P
Back in Amsterdan, Adriaan is invited to a meeting of ‘Paedofil Frihedskaemper’ (Paedophile Patriots) where he meets Gotfried Strodekker and his two sons Nils (age 13) and Tobias (age 11). Toby is naked throughout the meeting and the men play with him. Strodekker is chairman of the 'Nederlands Student en Arbeiterverbond voor Pedofilie' (NSAP). Adriaan agress [sic] to address the meeting on Fourier's blueprints for childhood in the New Harmony. Olaf, an 18-year-old Danish man, is a member and shows explicit films of children involved in explicit [sic] sexual activities at the next meeting, including clips from a film he is making himself.
Problems with this passage:
♠The words 'Paedofil Frihedskaemper' appear only on an article of clothing worn by Olaf; PF is not the group that is meeting.
♠The meeting in Strodekker's house is of the steering committee of the NSAP -- as an earlier passage, "7 FRUCTIDOR" (A+P, p. 180), clearly states.
♠Olaf is not a member of the NSAP; he is a visitor.
♠"Toby is naked throughout the meeting and the men play with him" is lamentably misleading and inaccurate.
This sentence misleads as to the nature of the "meeting" and the role played by Toby at the meeting:
In fact (A+P, p. 190-191), Toby's father strips Toby before the very formal presentations that are to follow, so that Toby can be "our presiding daimon". After which "Tobias palmed two cookies and an orange slice, and went to sit astride Olaf's thigh [ . . . ]" during the speeches. (Strodekker has explained that he has just come from photographing his two sons with Olaf.) Olaf later "park[s] Tobias in [Joris] Oudveld's lap" when he wishes to show literature from his Danish sexual freedom group.
The meeting is a group of self-proclaimed pedophiles.Tony 12:48, 26 July 2007 (UTC)Tony
Nor are only men present; we are introduced to Elsa Boonwijn, "smartly feminine, good legs, Athena's nose [. . .]". Not just present: she is among those who speak.
After the meeting and subsequent discussions, when he departs Adriaan chastely kisses Toby's tummy; no other contact between them is mentioned. (When Adriaan next meets Toby (p. 209), they shake hands and Toby fetches him coffee.)
'chaste' is not in the book. Adriaan kisses the boy on the navel.Tony 12:48, 26 July 2007 (UTC)Tony
Thus, "the men play with [Toby]" comes down to Toby sitting in the laps of, and being caressed and cuddled by, exactly two of those present, Olaf (18) and Joris (in his early 20s).
happy to be more explicit and mention that Tobias is placed on teh lap of a man with an erection etc. (p191)
Not exactly an all-male orgy, as the article's summary could very well suggest!
Your suggestion, not mine.Tony 12:48, 26 July 2007 (UTC)Tony
In short, "The men" (a term the reader would expect to include Adriaan)
do not "play with" Toby (a description that could mean almost anything,
but, especially in the context of Tony's interests in child sexual abuse and pedophilia,
could easily conjure up enormously more than what in fact happens).
More happens than I describe. I can write more. Tony 12:48, 26 July 2007 (UTC)Tony

P A S S A G E from scholarly monograph by Prof. Andre Furlani [Furlani, Andre. GUY DAVENPORT / Postmodern and After, Northwestern University Press, 2007. pp. 112-113] discussing the same section of A+P
A "Pythagorean Calvinist" ([A+P], 254) who rescues teens from squalor and profligacy with financial support, encouragement, and affection, Adriaan [ . . . ] reluctantly accepts an invitation to address the Nederlands Student en Arbeiterverbond voor Pedofilie, but finds its chairman, Godfried Strodekker, dismayingly strident. Adriaan delivers a paper on Fourier, which is no ideal subject since the philosopher argued that children are a neuter sex and proposed to segregate youths under fifteen from the sexual life of New Harmony.
This 'scholarly' piece is itself full of errors. The "Pythagorean Calvinist" comment is made in another context. Adriaan is at the NSAP meeting when he agrees to address them at a future date "The most I hope I agreed to is to...". No mention of reluctance. There is no descrition of Adriaan's lecture.Tony 12:48, 26 July 2007 (UTC)Tony
[ . . . ] Adriaan denies himself sexual contact with minors, and he intervenes to prevent sexual intimacy across ages.
This is nonsense. Adriaan has frequent sexualised contact with children in teh book.Tony 12:48, 26 July 2007 (UTC)Tony
[ . . . ] Adriaan's tactful explanation is that this is to protect not the boys but Joris: "Because it's unfair to Joris, who can only want to play for keeps, whereas you two, enjoying a permissiveness that's at best experimental and, shall we say, experiential, are simply playing" ([A+P], 255-56).
Wrong. This paragraph refers to Adriaan's warning to the two boys not to love Joris. It's nothing to do with his own actions.Tony 12:48, 26 July 2007 (UTC)Tony

I have no interest in trying to repair the current, seriously flawed, Wikipedia summary of A+P. My own feeling is that A+P defies summary and Wikipedia readers will be done a mis-service if this "summary" is allowed to stand.

Why not allow others to edit is normal Wikipedia practice. You have no right to delete an article just because you don't want the subject matter of the book to be described.Tony 12:48, 26 July 2007 (UTC)Tony

A+P is a highly allusive collage, in which the "story" that Tony extracts is just one element. It simply will not do, as the current article does, to dismiss as "innumerable literary and artistic references, passages in Dutch and other foreign languages" the extensive and numerous passages of social observation, philosophical speculation, descriptions of plants and geological formations, etc., that are at least as crucial to this metamodern (Furlani's term) experimental "fiction".

I vote for deletion of this entry.

Comments from others who have read Davenport? SocJan 10:38, 26 July 2007 (UTC)

I welcome comments from anyone who has read Apples and Pears, but not anyone who has just read Davenport. Apples and Pears is a very comple work of fiction and I do not even aspire to understand it all. Thatvwould be a lifetime's work. It has, however, a very strong theme of sexual interaction between children and adults. It also has many pages written in an erotic style with frequent descriptions of children enjoyed sexual acts with each other and with adults. It is, and this is my POV as someone who has read very widely on the subject, one of the most explicit works of fiction about sex with children that is a) widely available and b) written by a respected author. The writing could be described as pornographic, though again this is a POV and has no place in the article.Tony 12:48, 26 July 2007 (UTC)Tony
I am quite familiar with Davenport's readily available oevre and with most of his more obscure work as well. I must agree with SocJan that although this article is full of interesting and important facts, it is highly misleading. It reads like a police report or prosecutor's statement!
The book explores Fourier's detailed, imaginative depiction of utopian, "Harmonian" society by seeking "signs of the Harmony" in the history of culture, of art and letters, of architecture and style, in the developing character of the story's main players and their developing relationships with each other, in intellectual and erotic persuits (including intergenerational, pedagogical relations), and in language itself.
"Pedophilia" is certainly "in there", explicitly too, but so is de Stijl architecture, several books from the New Testament, Rilke, still-life... "Pederasty" would be perhaps a more apt candidate for a "theme," referring as it does to an ancient concept of an erotic-pedagogical relationship between man and boy.
We should note right away that the utopian vision that is explored in the story implicitly, and in some cases explicitly, defies modern conceptions of child sexuality and of pedophilic/pederastic adult sexuality. The challenge is to be true to the book, depicting it on its own terms, while at once relating it to the very categories that it challenges. Not an easy task! But a fair and useful article, I think, will not dwell excessively on specific sexual acts, but will recognize the radical relevance of its highly sexual content to the imaginative project of the work. In this light I'd like to make some revisions. Steven Stephens 22:48, 6 August 2007 (UTC)
PLease go ahead and edit and improve the article. Much better than leaving stuff on the talk page.Tony 19:52, 7 August 2007 (UTC)Tony

Deletion of Inappropriate or Unsupported Categories[edit]

"Fictional child molestation victims"

APPLES AND PEARS is itself not a child. It cannot be a victim of child molestation. For further discussion, see discussion page of Category:Fictional child molestation victims. SocJan 05:30, 5 August 2007 (UTC)
Perhaps more to the point, there are no child molestation victims in Apples and Pears. Steven Stephens 21:39, 6 August 2007 (UTC)

"Pedophilia and child sexual abuse in fiction (boys)"

I have added the category "utopian fiction". (See below for supporting documentation). APPLES AND PEARS discusses and illustrates aspects of the utopian vision of Charles Fourier (which included significant challenges to conventional ideas of sexual morality).
I'm no Fourier expert (or even beginner) but I was not aware that Fourier ever proposed or endorsed sexual activity with children. I can't find any reference to this. Did he?Tony 19:52, 7 August 2007 (UTC)Tony
Events in APPLES AND PEARS that could arguably be categorized legally or morally as abuse in our world are clearly portrayed as unabusive in this Fourierist utopian fiction. The child abuse link was thus misleading and inappropriate. So I have deleted it. SocJan 23:12, 5 August 2007 (UTC)
It was also unsupported. So I have again deleted it. SocJan 21:00, 6 August 2007 (UTC)
"Pedophilia" is really most tangential here. What about "pederasty?" Please see my comments above and below. Steven Stephens 21:39, 6 August 2007 (UTC)
Steven - you have agreed that pedophilia is in the book and so the category is OK as it includes works (like Death in Venice) where there is pedophilia but no CSA.Tony 19:52, 7 August 2007 (UTC)Tony
SocJan - I'm happy to quote excerpts from the book as reference if you really think that is necessary and that the category is "unsupported".Tony 19:52, 7 August 2007 (UTC)Tony
For all the reasons given above, and respecting the judgment of all contributors to this discussion except Tony, I have today, yet again, removed his persistent "child abuse" label. Please let's not have a revert war here. So far, no other participant in this discussion has supported the label. Until someone supports Tony's position more convincingly than he has, the "child abuse" label should stay away. SocJan 18:47, 13 September 2007 (UTC)

Utopian fiction[edit]

Please provide reference for this.Tony 07:51, 6 August 2007 (UTC)Tony

No problem.
See Furlani, Andre. "A Postmodern Utopia Of Childhood Sexuality: The Fiction Of Guy Davenport", in Curiouser: On the Queerness of Children (University of Minnesota Press, 2004)
Extensive references to Charles Fourier and his utopian ideas appear throughout the text of APPLES AND PEARS, itself (identified in and further discussed by Furlani, Andre, GUY DAVENPORT / POSTMODERNISM AND AFTER. ISBN 0810123894, 2007. pp 49, 56, 60-62, 108-122, among others). SocJan 01:40, 7 August 2007 (UTC)
I welcome your agreement that no category should be listed without proper documentation in a Wikipedia article for this or any other work of fiction. SocJan 20:44, 6 August 2007 (UTC)

The text of the story itself is the best reference. The imaginative exploration of Fourier's utopian ideas through the observation, extension, and expression of these ideas in the modern world is the central unifying theme of the story. Childhood sexuality and pedophilia play, in philosopher Adriaan's interpretation, a significant role in this exploration, while child abuse and molestation play none (except insofar as the utopian experiment seeks to obviate them). There is no relation between pedophilia and child molestation in this utopia. The category "Utopian Fiction" is thus appropriate; the category "Pedophilia and Child Sexual Abuse" very problematic. Steven Stephens 21:39, 6 August 2007 (UTC)

Not really. As I say above, the pedophilia qualifies it on its own.Tony 19:52, 7 August 2007 (UTC)Tony

Novel vs. Novella // Short Title ("Apples and Pears") vs. Author's Full Title (including complete subtitle)[edit]

SocJan claims this book cannot be categorised as a novel. It is entirely consistent with Wikpedia's description of a novel as well the Oxford Dictionary's. The dust jacket says that Apples and Pears is his first novel-length work of fiction.Tony 20:01, 7 August 2007 (UTC)Tony

It is necessary, first, to distinguish between the book APPLES AND PEARS and the eponymous story within. The book is not a novel, it is a collection. Next we must address whether the story "Apples and Pears" is a novel or a novella. It may be of "novel-length" but dust jacket blurbs are not a legitimate authority. Nor I did say that "A+P" cannot be categorized a novel; my point was more direct: if its author and his most astute critics call it a novella, then novella it is. They do (z.B, Davenport in his Paris Review interview; Furlani in GUY DAVENPORT); they are the author(ities). So it is a novella. Q.E.D. SocJan 02:50, 8 August 2007 (UTC)
The article is written about the story,not the book.
You illustrated the article with a picture of the book and you gave the article the title of the book, not the full title of the novella.
NO. The title of the story is Apples and Pears. The book is Apples and Pears and other stories.Tony 23:31, 9 August 2007 (UTC)Tony
The table of contents of the book APPLES AND PEARS lists (unsurprisingly) "Stories", of which the 4th is listed thus:
Het Erewhonische Schetsboek: Messidor-Vendemiaire 1981
This full title appears again on p. 61, the story's title page.
Its name is no more "Apples and Pears" than yours is Tony.
You are "Antony" and it is "Apples and Pears: Het Erewhonische Schetsboek: Messidor-Vendemiaire 1981". No matter what people call a person or a story for short, the person or story's official name is the one its makers gave it.
I grow weary of responding to emphatically asserted "facts" that are presented without reference and evaporate upon inspection. From now on, I will respond only to assertions posed as questions or supported by something more than (an erroneous) "NO". SocJan 12:50, 10 August 2007 (UTC)
I edited the lead to fix some of the confusions thus created in your initial posting of this article. SocJan 06:52, 9 August 2007 (UTC)
Novel/novella: there is no clear distinction and categories of novels in Wikipedia include novellas. I agree it is of novella length, but that is not relevant.
If an author recognizes a distinction between novel and novella and clearly states that he has written a novella, it is relevant. Indeed, it settles the matter. SocJan 06:52, 9 August 2007 (UTC)
One of literature's better known novellas is Death in Venice and here are the relevant categories shown Category:German novels Category:1912 novels Category:Philosophical novels.
This says more about Wikipedia classifications and accuracy than it does about how properly to categorize longer works of fiction. SocJan 06:52, 9 August 2007 (UTC)
I don't think we need a category "Novellas with a pedophile theme". . .
AMEN to that!!!
Indeed, I think we can get lots of people to agree with you. For that matter, I think lots of people would question the wisdom of "Novels with a pedophile theme" -- and even the whole notion of categorizing novels by "themes".
On the long list of Wikipedia categories of novels, very few can be found that go beyond obviously verifiable fact, such as by author, by language, by year of publication, etc.
How can one factually and neutrally and verifiably classify novels by "theme" without doing original research? Would a novel that includes scenes of violence between man and wife have a "theme of spousal abuse"? If characters in novels kick dogs, would you say those novels have themes of animal abuse? Where does this end? Perhaps if a novel is commonly discussed in the secondary literature as having a particular theme, or if the author states a theme in the novel, then such a categorization might be subject to verification. SocJan 06:52, 9 August 2007 (UTC)
. . . any more than we need "German novellas".
Authors do not always agree with what their publishers write (or do with their pictures in Davenport's case), but the dust jacket is a statement of record. It is certainly as reliable as an author speaking or writing about his own work, or a reviewer.
Hardly. Jacket blurbs are notoriously unreliable. SocJan 06:52, 9 August 2007 (UTC)
- hence Wikipedia doesn't allow authors to write articles on their own books.Tony 23:07, 8 August 2007 (UTC)Tony
This strikes me as a non sequitur.
But I enjoyed reading what you wrote. . . SocJan 06:52, 9 August 2007 (UTC)
. . . though that pleasure is diminishing rapidly as I contemplate the very real possibility of being presented with an endless stream of un- or poorly-supported assertions here or on the page itself.

For the record: From this date on, any failure on my part to respond to unsupported assertions should not be mistaken by anyone as any form of agreement with those assertions. My silences most certainly are not to be construed as consent. SocJan 13:04, 10 August 2007 (UTC)

"Bruno, with no thought of his own hypocrisy"[citation needed][edit]

The editor who has provided this summary of "Apples and Pears" protests several times that his summary meets Wikipedia tests of neutrality of point of view. The passage being discussed and quoted here appears on p.289 of the book. Nowhere there or elsewhere in the novella does the text support the notion that any character (much less the author) considers Bruno's administration of a spanking to the children to be evidence of "hypocrisy". The phrase "Bruno, with no thought of his own hypocrisy" thus clearly belies the claim of neutral PoV. The charge of hypocrisy is entirely the summarizer's opinion and thus violates Wikipedia standards. So I have requested that it be supported or removed.

it will be removed. Tony 23:42, 20 September 2007 (UTC)Tony

Again I ask: How long must visitors to WIkipedia endure the current, biased, description of this novella? It has now been posted for several months. No significant improvements have been made to the summary offered by the person who created the page. Not a single other contributor to this discussion has agreed with his assertion that this novella deserves this sort of treatment because of the "theme" of "paedophilia and child sexual abuse" that he and he alone claims to find in it.

Quite to the contrary, all of us save the creator of this page deny the presence of any portrayal of child sexual abuse in this fiction. Moreover, we question the current entry's focus on passages that he considers related to pedophilia, which seems wholly disproportionate given the text's much more general challenge to conventional ideas about sexual behavior and morality, not to mention all of the other subjects it addresses in highly original ways.

I repeat: the current characterization of this fiction is an embarrassing travesty that should have been fixed or removed months ago. SocJan 10:30, 20 September 2007 (UTC)

"all of us save the creator of this page deny the presence of any portrayal of child sexual abuse". If you really mean this statement, then you should be ashamed of yourself. Paedophilia is self-evident throughout the book. The laws of the Netherlands in the 1980s (the setting for this work of fiction) would have meant that the activities described in the book are clearly child sexual abuse. For anyone new to this page, there have been a total of four contributors including me. About 80% has come from SocJan. Another editor has offered to improve the article and I've volunteered to help him, but have seen no contributions. SocJan might consider improving the article instead of sniping at it and sniping at me on this page Tony 23:42, 20 September 2007 (UTC)Tony
The creator of this entry has said nothing new here. He reads this highly original and challenging utopian fiction as if it were nonfiction; he then summarizes it in view of legal standards prevailing in the real world in the time and place in which the author happens to have chosen to set this decidedly non-real-world story.
That is silly. Several of us, in different ways and words, have explained why (above, on this page).
To respond to valid criticism by challenging others to "improve" something so fundamentally flawed is akin to George Bush responding to his critics by challenging them to figure out what to do about Iraq. Calling attention to a mess does not logically or morally oblige one to clean it up.
My own position has been clear from the outset (see above): I do not know how to summarize "Apples and Pears" fairly. I would never try to do so. What I do know -- and what every contributor to this page except Tony has affirmed -- is that the current summary, whatever else might be said about it, violates Wikipedia rules, especially the requirement of a neutral point of view.
Fortunately Wikipedia is not stuck with flawed entries the way the world is stuck with the misery and chaos of Iraq; a flawed Wikipedia entry can easily be deleted without a trace. No risky, phased, withdrawal needed. Indeed, I argue in this case that the world will be improved when we do just that.
This entry has support from exactly one person -- the individual who created it. I have pointed out some flaws. Others have agreed with me. No one has agreed with positions taken by the article's principal author. This article should be taken off line and should stay off line unless or until someone can write an entry on this subject that meets minimum Wikipedia standards. SocJan 09:55, 21 September 2007 (UTC)


Is it appropriate for a Wikipedia contributor to create hyperlinks that take a reader to unexpected subjects, ones he knows are disputed in connection with the article he is editing?

Click on "film-making" in this article; you will find yourself taken to "Child Pornography".

Here are several such links (including the film-making one) copied today from the current version of the Apples and Pears entry:

sexual relationship
touching them intimately

Comments, anyone? SocJan 18:39, 21 September 2007 (UTC)

SocJan's comments above are misleading. The links were inserted when I created the article and have not been altered since the dispute started. As for the film-making link, he fails to mention that the link to child pornography is in the previous paragraph referring to the same films. This is the link: films of children involved in explicit sexual activities. All the links are to expected subjects. Tony 23:54, 21 September 2007 (UTC)Tony


I am renewing this RfC request because no comments were received in the last RfC period and the problem remains:

This entry [Apples and Pears] has been disputed for Neutral Point of View and No Original Research violations; no significant progress has been made in four months. Outside review would seem to be in order: The bulk of the debate so far has been between just two voices, the creator of the page and one critic. The longer this page remains in violation of Wikipedia standards -- if indeed the consensus is that it does violate those standards -- the more visitors to Wikipedia it will mislead.

The creator of the page has several times restored variations of his original label of "pedophilia and child sexual abuse in fiction" after they were removed by his principal critic.

So far, there has been no support on this page for the original, unreferenced, summary of the "plot" nor for the unreferenced main point (that this fiction can be categorized as having a "theme" of "pedophilia and child sexual abuse"). The primary critic of this entry is calling for its deletion, or at least removal to a sandbox until it meets Wikipedia standards.

Review by experienced Wikipedia editors thus seems to be in order at this time.

Reviewing editors, besides addressing the narrow topic of whether this work of fiction can be said to portray child sexual abuse, are asked to address the entire concept of categorizing novels in Wikipedia by "themes".

To date, most Wikipedia categories for fiction are far more neutral and verifiable (such as by name of author, by language in which the fiction is written, by date of publication, etc.). Should categorizing works of fiction by whether or not they portray, in some reader's mind, "pedophilia and child sexual abuse" even be a Wikipedia category at all? Or is such categorization inherently un-encylopedic??

It's all original research unless there is a source. To be honest it could all be removed now but i'll give it a few days to see if it is, in fact sourced from somewhere. if it turns out the be original research it can go. I think the article should be reduced to what is known. --Neon white 22:49, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
THANK YOU, Neon White!
I very much appreciate your willingness to look at this egregious APPLES AND PEARS article. I haven't the time or the energy to deal with the larger problem Tony Sandel and others have created by their efforts to categorize fictions by content, based primarily on their own readings of those fictions, unsupported by any Wikipedia-approved sources. I visit Guy Davenport entries in Wikipedia. Back in July when this entry first appeared I found it so wrong-headed (and so clearly in violation of POV and OR prohibitions) that I looked at other pages Tony has created or contributed to. I quickly realized that this is all part of a larger effort that might have some merit. But so far a huge amount is clearly "original research" as defined by Wikipedia, not to mention that it is often highly POV and unlikely to be supportable by Wikipedia recognized sources. Virtually ALL of Tony's characterizations of fictions and films by content should be deleted because they violate original research. I've concentrated on defending Davenport's work. Other people may wish to visit and ponder such pages as Pedophilia and child sexual abuse in fiction. Peruse the TALK page for that one; it's a revelation! I have deleted Davenport fictions from that page on original research grounds. But the violations extend far beyond Davenport; only a relative handful of the works listed in that entry are supported by references (for example, by Library of Congress content descriptions). Once APPLES AND PEARS is dealt with, someone might consider tackling the larger problem. SocJan 10:17, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
Here are some reviews of Davenport's works of fiction: on The Cardiff Team by Robert McLaughlin: "A family based on sex between adults and children seems far from idyllic, and the constant talk of erections, masturbation, and so on is more tedious than revolutionary." [[2]]. Or Kirkus Reviews: "unfortunately, in order to be astonished by Davenport of late means having to endure what once again here is a surfeit of the soft-core gay kiddie-porn (masquerading as Arcadian idylls) that he puts so much of his effort to". [[Kirkus reviews again on A Table of Green Fields: The remaining stories all draw on Davenport's tiresome obsession with uncircumcised boys. Publishers Weekly wrote of The Cardiif Team that these were stories about young men and precocious boys pretending to some Greek ideal of Eros. Two linked stories (The River; Concert Champêtre in D Minor) concern a licentious Boy Scout troop leader and his frisky charges. I'd welcome an independent review that would show, I am sure, that a number Davenport's works of fiction describe and embrace pedophilia. They also clearly depict sexual acts between adults and pubescent children. This cannot be disputed. For SocJan to pretend that pedophilia isn't there makes me suspect some ulterior motive. Tony 12:32, 27 October 2007 (UTC)Tony
none of those are reviews of this book. This is a classic example of selectively picking out bits from reviews to form a very POV article. If the children are pubescent then it can't be pedophilia, which solely refers to pre-pubescents, it would be there be more accurately described as ephebophilia. The category mentioned is very poor as i have mentioned on the talk page. Please remember to assume good faith, personal attacks about people's motives are not appropriate and wont be tolerated. --Neon white 18:41, 27 October 2007 (UTC)

if there is a larger problem with an editor persistantley adding OR material to wikipedia then you can warn them on their talk page> If that does not work consider using the Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents to report said user. It might not seem as big a deal as vandalism but the adding of unsourced OR can be damaging. --Neon white 18:38, 27 October 2007 (UTC)

Not only does Tony present original research rather than properly sourced material, his original research tends to be highly selective, misleading at best and sometimes simply wrong.
Here is a test of the quality of Tony's original research: I challenge him to point to where I "pretend that pedophilia isn't there". The evidence should be somewhere on this page. Can he point to it?
My primary challenge to Tony's work on APPLES AND PEARS, as any reasonable reader of this Discussion will quickly see, has been his insistence that A + P has a "theme" of "child sexual abuse". (It was he, not I, who chose to link pedophilia and child abuse in a single rubric that he wants to slap on many works of fiction.)
No one else has supported Tony in this Discussion that any events in A + P -- in the context of the fiction itself, a Utopian exploration -- fit the ordinary dictionary definition of "abuse", though several of us are happy to acknowledge that if some of them were to occur in our world with its laws and morality, they might indeed be found in violation of religious and legal proscriptions. But our opinions don't matter. The issue is Wikipedia rules on sourcing vs." original research".
Tony and his critics have a fundamental disagreement over how to read and characterize Utopian fiction. This has been covered again and again here (and on other discussion pages associated with Tony's Wikipedia entries) but in any case is NOT what we are supposed to be addressing in this RfC section.
Focusing, then, on the Original Research issue: If the Library of Congress or some other Wikipedia-recognized source says that a book contains material on child sexual abuse, I will instantly agree that Tony is justified in listing that book on his "child sexual abuse" pages and linking any Wikipedia discussion of that book to pages that list works that have to do with sexual abuse of children. I might not agree with the Library of Congress categorization, but I will have no quarrel with Tony. The question in this RfC section is one of Original Research. Tony should respond to that ONLY, in my humble, exasperated, opinion:
Can he support his descriptions of APPLES AND PEARS with something other than his own readings of it? Can he support the conclusion that this fiction portrays child sexual abuse? If not, those descriptions and that conclusion should disappear -- until (if ever) they can be properly supported. SocJan 23:51, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
I did notice that the above quotes seem to be plucked selectively from overall quite positive reviews. As i have said on the category talk page to have title like that, to encompass books that dont involve child abuse, is incredibly controversial and in breach of guidelines. The end of the discussion is that Wikipedia is not a publisher of original thought, nor a forum for promoting one's own point of view; all material must be verifiable. If an editor wants to write reviews of books, go get a free blog and have fun but wikipedia is not the place. --Neon white 13:41, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
Following the 3rd opinion on Talk:Apples and Pears, the Davenport article has been expanded and this article can now be deleted. Tony 21:57, 1 November 2007 (UTC)Tony

Here we go again: Re-appearance here of disputed OR and NPOV plot summaries by one editor who insists that the world see Davenport as a writer of fiction about pedophilia and child sexual abuse[edit]

I'm weary. Please see Discussion ("Talk") page associated with the APPLES AND PEARS entry -- if that page can be accessed, once Tony deletes it.

After months of discussion, his OR summaries of "Apples and Pears" were deleted.

Now he brings them back here, along with others from other disputed pages.

I can't imagine going through all this again, but it appears that we will have to. SocJan 22:48, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

A second thought: So as not to lose the A + P discussion, which is likely to be highly relevant here soon, I have imported it to this page (see above). SocJan 05:34, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

I believe that talk pages do remain after pages are deleted. --Neon white 16:42, 4 November 2007 (UTC)
Thanks; good to know. Let's leave the A + P discussion here at least until we resolve what to do with Tony's A + P "plot summary". SocJan 02:31, 5 November 2007 (UTC)
Maybe put on OR tag on that section? --Neon white 02:10, 6 November 2007 (UTC)
Good idea. I have left the OR warning at the top of the entire article, and added OR and POV tags to the individual book sections that are in dispute. The rest of the article is in pretty good shape.
Incidentally, I followed the links to the references cited in the Cardiff Team section and recommend that other interested parties do the same, and decide for yourselves whether the excerpts quoted here are representative, or not, of the articles from which they are taken.
I hope we can take action on these inappropriate OR and POV book summaries by next weekend (Nov.12, 2007). SocJan 04:45, 6 November 2007 (UTC)
ok, 19 ( is fine, the other are not proper citations one of the them, reed business, is a communications company and has no obvious link to the book. I'll removed the ones that aren't cited properly until they are. --Neon white 16:32, 6 November 2007 (UTC)

Nine days having passed without any third-party defense of the recent posting to this page of OR/POV summaries of three collections of Davenport's fiction, I have deleted those summaries. I agree that a balanced discussion of the role that child sexuality plays in Davenport's fictions would be useful. I hope someone can write one, based on reputable published criticism (the references given on the Davenport page include several possible sources). Please let's have no more original summaries of these fictions by editors with an axe to grind. SocJan 05:05, 11 November 2007 (UTC)


I doubt this is the most, or only, fact about him in Davenport's book. I really dont think this fact about his eating fried bologna with campbells soup is notable, in light of who he was. if julia child did this in public, yes. if davenport advocated this in his book as the perfect diet, and it was the source of one of his works (say, a book on bologna, a poem on bologna, or even if its the source of the book its taken from: davenport tries this food, decides to write about food, and credits this event a la proust in remembrance of things past vis a vis madeleines), yes. Its interesting and quirky, but thats all. please provide some context for adding this back if you do so. Mercurywoodrose (talk) 19:46, 4 August 2009 (UTC)

A previous discussion on this topic can be found at Talk:Guy Davenport/Archive June 05 - May 07#Davenport bought Oscar Mayer bologna, fried it, and ate it with Campbell's soup. Personally, I tend to think (as my contribution to that discussion may suggest) that the detail is too insignificant for inclusion in the article; one gets weary of attempting to deal with the one or two editors who want to establish their ownership of this article, though. Deor (talk) 21:41, 4 August 2009 (UTC)
Aww, let's have a big flame war about it! It'll be just like old times! SethTisue (talk) 02:53, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
sometimes the bizarre behaviors of editors here amazes me. why cant the silly phrase be put into a better context? it seems to just get added back repeatedly with no modification at all. i dont have the book where this comment appears, but if someone does, how about CHANGING the wording of the sentence to make it encyclopedic? heres an example: "While primarily known as scholar and essayist of serious subjects, Davenport was known for taking a contrarian position on some issues. For example, he admitted to eating fried bologna with canned soup regularly, and wrote about this habit in his essay collection **, which included incongruous and bizarre, but researched, comments on other notable author's eating habits. He admitted to enjoying this apparent contradiction between his reputation as a member of the intelligentsia and his lower class diet." of course this would need references. BTW, while i think most bologna is disgusting (nitrates, etc) i do fry up any deli meats i get to improve the flavor. Campbells soup, however, is worthless. i believe Anthony Braxton is noted for eating fried bologna. and davenports collection of aphorisms from diogenes and heraklitos is one of my all time favorite books. I am a fan of him and a fan of eclectic and bizarre information. i just want the sentence to be encyclopedic, im not interested in an edit war, and i wont revert again. Mercurywoodrose (talk) 16:24, 9 August 2009 (UTC)
Guys! I hadn't noticed this discussion before tonight. Since I'm the latest reverter on this one, let me provide a little context.
The poet Ronald Johnson who was also a celebrated author of regional cookbooks was one of Davenport's close friends. Johnson stayed with Davenport for weeks, and cooked, and Davenport reported appreciatively that he had never eaten better. However, Davenport was also a staunch opponent of oppressive regimentations of all sorts, including what he called "food snobbery".
One of Davenport's least known essays appears in JUNK FOOD (1980, Dell Publishing Co, New York; ed. by Charles J. Rubin. ISBN #: 0440-54276-6, p.47; other contributors include Harry Crews, Bruce McCall, R. O. Blechman, and Stephen Jay Gould).
Davenport's title -- "A Moral Lecture for Food Snobs, Gourmets, Epicures, Health Food Nuts, Gourmands, and People Who Pick On Their Children for Gulping Rock & Roll Jelly Kings" -- gives a pretty good idea of where he stood. His essay is very short, paralyzingly funny, and stuffed with bizarre facts about famous people's eating habits -- but says nothing about his own.
When the former Davenport students who did most of the work on this entry in Wikipedia included the sentence we are discussing, I found it appropriate, amusing, and important. I was confident that Davenport would have approved. It serves to remind readers who do not know Davenport's oeuvre that even erudite polymaths can have foibles -- and, in Davenport's case, can have a sense of humor about their foibles. That's why I have defended it.
Granted that encyclopedia entries should be factual and should include matters of significance, surely we can acknowledge that not all facts in every entry require ponderous explanations. Readers may well find this particular sentence amusing and/or puzzling; we could hope that some might be curious enough to do a little independent spade work (such as seeking out and reading the material on this comments page).
Surely it is not bad for an encyclopedia to include the occasional short, sweet, enigmatic comment, to amuse -- and perhaps motivate the occasional reader to seek more information? SocJan (talk) 05:47, 11 August 2009 (UTC)

Yes, its actually quite bad to do this, davenport would probably not have approved of this (unless he hated reference books), and your stating that this one of his least known essays shows it doesnt belong in the article. nothing you have said here makes the specific case for this sentence to be in this article. if we want to motivate a reader to explore davenports work, there are many other NPOV ways to do so. a one sentence quote from an essay, a quote from a review by a major figure, which refers to his eccentric and entertaining style. WP is not in the business of recommending authors. I dont want a reader of this article to feel like ive put my arm around his shoulder, escorted him into my library, and said "oh, you simply MUST read davenports essays on food, they are perfect examples of how a highly cultured, literate critic can be down to earth. please, borrow it as long as you like. and when youre done, come back and sit down with me over some bologna, soup and a bud light, and we will wax rhapsodic about the man!" it takes away from the power of the encyclopedia to have the author of the article (you and i) inject our passions into the article itself. our passion should be in the craft of the article, not the advocacy of the subject. but again, im not interested in deleting the line, just in trying to stimulate some more creative approaches to documenting this writer that are NPOV. wait, did you say that former students of davenport included this statement? how POV can you get? come on, call a spade a spade, admit bias. for my part, i admit that im probably overly incensed by this, and i apologize for any apparent personal slights. but i am really really really willing to go along with ANY inclusions that document his style, along the lines of what i have suggested. peace, Mercurywoodrose (talk) 01:49, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

(1) All evidence suggests that Davenport loved reference books -- especially ones with a touch of style. And he was a stickler for accuracy; indeed, he wrote several essays documenting foolish (and one would have thought easily-avoidable) errors in highly-respected reference books. But he also loved odd facts, sometimes finding convincing significance in apparently minor details that others had overlooked.
One of his interests was eating customs -- so it's his "passion" (your word), not that of any editor of this entry. The sentence in question alerts a reader to that thread in Davenport's work -- if the reader is Davenportian enough to wish to go there. The sentence also points to Davenport's anti-authoritarian stance in general, his habit of challenging conventions that he found pretentious or oppressive.
(2) The present version of the Davenport Wikipedia entry strikes me as superior to those that most encyclopedias manage even a decade after the death of an important if lesser-known author. Its accuracy, concision, and balance I attribute in large part to weeks of revision by several people who knew Davenport personally and also are excellent and scrupulous scholars. Why would their efforts be a bad thing? What is POV about former students contributing facts to an encyclopedic entry about their professor? Do you believe it impossible for someone who happens to have studied under a particular figure to contribute to an encyclopedia entry about him or her?
Note that the Davenport entry in its current form absolutely does NOT take the reader by the arm and twist it. Your proposed elaboration (back there a bit) in place of the simple sentence to which you have objected would do just what you now say should not be done.
(3) Is it obvious that an essay that happens not to have been collected is automatically inferior? Davenport wrote so many essays, book reviews, and other short pieces that dozens are little known. I cited the one in JUNK FOOD because Davenport does there, to others, what the sentence in question does here to Davenport. A nice little symmetry. A touch of style. Must every sentence in every encyclopedia entry be pedantic and pedestrian? The authors of the 11th edition of the Britannica didn't think so, and we still read and enjoy their entries today, a century later.
(4) Does NPOV mean to you what it means to Wikipedia? I can't quite follow your suggestion that the sentence in question somehow violates the NPOV injunction. It's true, it's economical, and it adds to our understanding of Davenport's habits of mind and style of life.
I do appreciate your willingness to tolerate a tiny bit of serious humor in this essay. I didn't write that sentence. But from reading Davenport I happened to know it to be true; the instant I first read it, I felt it added something useful. So I have defended it. But I, too, have no intention of falling on my sword over it. Someday someone will delete it and we, its defenders, will all be gone. That's probably the fate of every sentence in Wikipedia.
The only thing we might continue to discuss is how the Wikipedia NPOV injunction relates to the legitimacy of contributions from people who actually know something.
I would hope that we would welcome help from anyone willing to do spadework, back up each contribution with appropriate, recognized, references, and defend the significance of each contribution on a talk page like this, if need be. I thought that was what Wikipedia was all about. SocJan (talk) 06:11, 12 August 2009 (UTC)
I admit now that im simply confused and doubtful of my ability to understand the process here, and would like to politely bow out of any discussion of this article. thanks for the chance to work here. goodbye. Mercurywoodrose (talk) 21:29, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Guy Davenport/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

Last edited at 08:54, 24 March 2007 (UTC). Substituted at 16:53, 29 April 2016 (UTC)