This is actually an update to the post before last, but that one was too long ,ergo: I got a little curious about what actually was the longest sentence ever written, and whether I was close. And the answer is, not even. From various sources:
Traditionally, the longest sentence in English literature has been found in James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’ which contains 4,391 words. However this was surpassed in 2001 by Jonathan Coe’s book ‘The Rotter’s Club’ which contains a sentence 13,955 words long. There is also a Polish novel ‘Gates of Paradise’ written by Jerzy Andrzejewski, and published in 1960, with about 40,000 word sentence. Finally, there is a Czech novel that consists of one long sentence (128 pages long) ‘Dancing Lessons for the Advanced in Age’ by Bohumil Hrabal.
and from Wikipedia:
- The last section of James Joyce’s Ulysses, Molly Bloom’s soliloquy, includes two sentences, the first one 11,281 words long[original research?], the second 12,931 words long[original research?].
- In 2001 Jonathan Coe surpassed both Faulkner and Joyce, with a 13,955-word sentence in his novel, The Rotters’ Club.
- Section I of Allen Ginsberg’s poem Howl is one long sentence.
- The Blah Story, Volume 4 by Nigel Tomm consists of one sentence which contains 469,375 words or 2,273,551 characters (with spaces) .
- Mark Leach’s Marienbad My Love, marketed as the world’s longest published novel in English, features a sentence that contains about 510,000 words – about 20 percent of the 2.5 million-word book.
and from here I went to Howl,the first part of which is one ENORMOUS sentence. It’s amazing! I’m generally not into poetry- I tell people I prefer “poetic prose” instead-but this one just had something in the unholy juxtaposition of so many differently-flavoured words-does anyone get what I’m talking about?- that made it very different. Read it to believe it:
I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by
madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn
looking for an angry fix,
angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly
connection to the starry dynamo in the machin-
ery of night,
who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat
up smoking in the supernatural darkness of
cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities
who bared their brains to Heaven under the El and
saw Mohammedan angels staggering on tene-
ment roofs illuminated….
…. who lounged hungry and lonesome through Houston
seeking jazz or sex or soup, and followed the
brilliant Spaniard to converse about America
and Eternity, a hopeless task, and so took ship
who disappeared into the volcanoes of Mexico leaving
behind nothing but the shadow of dungarees
and the lava and ash of poetry scattered in fire
…who copulated ecstatic and insatiate with a bottle of
beer a sweetheart a package of cigarettes a can-
dle and fell off the bed, and continued along
the floor and down the hall and ended fainting
on the wall with a vision of ultimate cunt and
come eluding the last gyzym of consciousness,
who sweetened the snatches of a million girls trembling
in the sunset, and were red eyed in the morning
but prepared to sweeten the snatch of the sun
rise, flashing buttocks under barns and naked
in the lake…
who fell on their knees in hopeless cathedrals praying
for each other’s salvation and light and breasts,
until the soul illuminated its hair for a second,
who crashed through their minds in jail waiting for
impossible criminals with golden heads and the
charm of reality in their hearts who sang sweet
blues to Alcatraz…
and on and on and on… I’m reading Jack Kerouac’s On the Road now, another cornerstone of the Beat Generation, and I will post on that as well when I’m done. By the way, I believe both are mentioned in “Little Brother” as well, as inspirations for m1k3y.