Preface to the New Edition (Or When Writers Rewrite their Own History)

Dorwindovitch is up to his usual tricks. In a new preface to an old collection of stories (1998’s Pickled Herring Wig) he states that ‘contrary to popular opinion, I am not a purveyor of fine nonsense’. Instead, we are led to believe, he is ‘a sharp and steady moralist, with an eye for political allegory’. His stories, previously thought to be joyously ridiculous and fantastically aimless adventures through the mind of a scatterbrained nincompoop are, in fact, ‘neatly ordered responses to the political situation’. The political situation? Could he be more specific? Well, no, he couldn’t. One cannot pinpoint what isn’t there. One can, however, hover around nothingness until the bovine community return to the homestead.

Dorwindovitch isn’t the first writer to produce a spurious preface. There are few that haven’t, at some point, gone back to revisit previous work and suggest, in retrospect, that it was something other than it clearly was. To say they are actively rewriting the past is not quite fair; more often than not they are creatively misremembering it. A writer of fiction is ever a writer of fiction – even when he/she thinks she isn’t.

As for Dorwindovitch, he is clearly teasing us. In saying he is not a ‘purveyor of nonsense’ he knows that he is proving the opposite. Which is exactly what he wants to prove. So (non)sense prevails, at least.

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