14 June 2005

the literal field

From the window of a wandering Greyhound, Stuart Ressler gets his first look at unmistakable I-state phenotype: unvarying horizon, Siberian grain-wastes, endless acres of bread in embryo. The most absent landscape imaginable, it calls to him like home. Schooled in the reductionist's golden rule, he sees in this Occam's razor-edge of emptiness a place at last vacant enough to provide the perfect control, a vast mat of maize and peas, Mendel's recovered Garden. Green at twenty-five, with new Ph.D., he leaves the lab to enter the literal field.

—Richard Powers, The Goldbug Variations, p. 43.

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

Not sure what an I-phenotype is, so will stick to landscape. Brings to mind passage from Willa Cather: " ...a solitary horseman, followed by a pack-mule,was pushing through an arid stretch of country somewhere in central New Mexico. He had lost his way, and was trying to get back to the trail, with only his compass and his sense of direction for guides. The difficulty was that the country in which he found himself was so featureless - or rather, that it was crowded with features, all exactly alike. As far as he could se, on every side, the lanscape was heaped up into monotonous red sand-hills.... The blunted pyramid, repeated so many hundred times upon his retina and crowding down upon him in the heat, had confused the traveller, who was sensitive to the shape of things. "Mais, c'est fantastique!" he muttered, closing his eyes to rest them from the intrusive omnipresence of the triangle." Bon voyage Rebecca.