- Selected Letters from Readers
PMC Reader’s Report on Stephanie Barbé Hammer, “'Just like Eddie' or as far as a boy can go: Vedder, Barthes, and Handke Dismember Mama”
I really appreciated reading your article on Eddie, but some of your information is incorrect. First, Eddie did have a paternal figure during his childhood. His mother was married to a man named Mueller, whom Eddie frequently refers to in many of his ea rlier songs, even before his times with Pearl Jam. Mr. Mueller is the man who caused the immense troubles in Eddie’s and his mother’s lives. However, Mr. Mueller was not Eddie’s true father, he was actually his “step-father.” If you look in the cover s leeve to TEN, Eddie’s god-given name is listed. It is actually Eddie Louis Severson III, but it was quickly changed to Mueller early in his life. Unfortunately, Eddie did not find this out until age thirteen, hence the line in the song “Ali ve.” When his mother finally divorced Mr. Mueller, his name was changed to Vedder, which was actually his mother’s maiden name.
Again, I found your article and references to be one of the best I’ve seen in a long while, but I was unsure if you were aware of the actual background of Eddie’s childhood. Therefore, I decided to give you a quick rundown. I think if you would include this info. in your article somehow, it would make it even better.
Stephanie Hammer responds to Bill Angione
Thanks very much for writing and for your response. Actually, I was aware of Vedder’s background, but for the purposes of the essay I am interested in the imaginaries (rather than “realities”) constructed by the autobiographical material. Likewis e, I do not investigate or, for that matter, even mention Barthes’ and Handke’s “real” relations with their mothers, but rather seek to unpack the twists and tangles that emerge in the texts.
Still your point interests me a lot. What is it about Veddeer and perhaps about rock in general (and grunge?) that makes us want to get “the facts right”? I think part of Vedeer’s fascination as a performer/celebrity lies in his ability to play the bord er between truth and fantasy, and I also wonder if we don’t bring Romantic (rather than modern) expectations to the rock artist — expecting him/her to be authentic, original, tortured, addicted, and a host of other qualities which western culture first a ssigned to people like Byron and E.T.A. Hoffmann. I would be curious to know what you and others think about this in conjunction with the “difficulty” of approaching rock from any sort of theoretical-analytical perspective. Really, your comment is very rich and thought-provoking. Thank you again.
PMC Reader’s Report on Peter Consenstein, “Memory and Oulipian Constraints”
I’ve just read Peter Consenstein’s text about Oulipo: there are several things that I didn’t understand, because I was lacking references or because my English is not good enough, but found it very interesting. I’ve been interested in the works of Oulipo for a while, and have started making a Web page about it with some friends (the URL is: http://alpha.univ-lille1.fr:28080/~bruhat/oulipo/ but everything still is under construction!).
Another aspect of Oulipo which seems interesting to me is its strong link with mathematics (I happen to be a math student, by the way). François Le Lionnais who played a very important role in the foundation of Oulipo was a mathematician, as was R oubaud, and Queneau himself was very interested in mathematics (what was said about “Odile” really made me feel like reading it!). In a his latest book, Poesie etcetera menage, Roubaud said that when creating Oulipo, they also referred to Ni colas Bourbaki (a collective pseudonym of a group of French mathematician created in the 30’s), but in a somewhat parodic, “non-serious” way. They referred as well to the surrealists, but mostly as a “counter-example,” because...