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The truth about Jerry Cornelius? (SPOILERS)

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  • The truth about Jerry Cornelius? (SPOILERS)

    Is it all meant to be a dream?

    From reading 'The Condition of Muzak' with its revelation that there is a Jerry Cornelius who is nothing more than another nobody who dreams of becoming a somebody, it led me to wonder.

    Is the Jerry Cornelius that we've seen in novels, short stories (by Moorcock and others), comic strip and even film nothing more than the dreams and overactive imagination of a person who desires something more in his life. This could be a reason between the non-linear and non-continuity nature of the JC Canon given on the events of 'Muzak.' Either that or it is meant to be more proof of the ever multitude of differentiation that occurs in the Multiverse. Or maybe I'm wrong in all respects and the meaning of the entire thing is one I make for myself.

    I'm not seeking an answer, I'm just putting forward an interpretation of the JC work as I see it.

  • #2
    I think the beauty of the Multiverse is that all interpretations can be true. On one level, yes the stories are the imaginings of a child, but that doesn't mean they are any less real...

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    • #3
      Or maybe the adventures are the dreams of the strange clone zombies who follow him around and steal his coats?

      Tee hee!

      D...
      "That which does not kill us, makes us stranger." - Trevor Goodchild

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      • #4
        Which level is the dream, though? Does Messiah Jerry dream of a simpler life with mum in the flat?

        Nah, my interpretation's always been that the Messiah is Notting Dale Jerry's escape from grim reality, though whether the end of CoM is also an escape is probably a moot point. Could be wrong, though - the Second Ether jumps into alternate realities like a kid into a major puddle.
        \"Killing me won\'t bring back your apples!\"

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        • #5
          if only

          alas
          if only you could have read my rantings in the old style multiverse.org you would have all the answers.
          any chance berry (nay jhary) to reboot that old guff?
          your eternal (well this time around) servant
          muckyshoe
          (for 'tis he!)

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          • #6
            Re: if only

            Originally posted by muckyshoes
            alas if only you could have read my rantings in the old style multiverse.org you would have all the answers. any chance berry (nay jhary) to reboot that old guff?
            Berry recently stated in another thread:

            Originally posted by Berry Sizemore
            Thanks for asking. I am currently having discussions with a skilled mysql guy who may do what we need. I still have the data. If he doesn't help us, I'll write the code eventually. The problem is that I can't drop it into this forum system because of all the registered users. People might get misquoted, so what will happen is that each question and answer will appear together in the portal as an article. People will be able to add comments to each article. I'll have the ability then to cross reference everything into Topics. For example, "Michael Moorcock on Ronald Reagan" would contain answers that touched on RR. Hang in there.
            D...
            "That which does not kill us, makes us stranger." - Trevor Goodchild

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            • #7
              Is Pyat Jerry's dad?

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              • #8
                Well, if you believe his Mum, Jerry's father was a man named... Jeremiah, who promptly "scarpered". Since it's claimed that they were married, then it's logical to assume that Jerry Cornelius's father was also a Jeremiah Cornelius. Which is all jolly confusing.

                D...
                "That which does not kill us, makes us stranger." - Trevor Goodchild

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                • #9
                  So who Jehemiah Connahlias? Is he the real Jerry C or not?

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                  • #10
                    Re: The truth about Jerry Cornelius? (SPOILERS)

                    Originally posted by manmiles
                    ... Is the Jerry Cornelius that we've seen in novels, short stories (by Moorcock and others), comic strip and even film nothing more than the dreams and overactive imagination of a person who desires something more in his life? ...
                    Since this thread has been resurrected - some marine rejuvenation going on? - let's return to the original question...

                    That's what I concluded... but the "reality" is probably even more complicated than that. Remember the party where the guests included members of the Hawkwind Orchestra and Q. Gloriana... ?

                    Then there are all the riffs on Cornelius/Cornell/Conel/... and von Bek/Begg... probably others... across multiple books.

                    Look at the parallels: Jerry/Frank/Catherine: Elric/Yyrkoon/Cymoril... You might also see Elric et al. as other dreams of the mundane JC.

                    Whole books could... have? ... will be written about this.

                    Cheers,
                    Ant

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                    • #11
                      I thought dreams and imaginings were our reality anyway...but cheaper? :roll:

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                      • #12
                        Re: The truth about Jerry Cornelius? (SPOILERS)

                        Originally posted by manmiles
                        Is it all meant to be a dream?

                        From reading 'The Condition of Muzak' with its revelation that there is a Jerry Cornelius who is nothing more than another nobody who dreams of becoming a somebody, it led me to wonder.

                        Is the Jerry Cornelius that we've seen in novels, short stories (by Moorcock and others), comic strip and even film nothing more than the dreams and overactive imagination of a person who desires something more in his life.

                        On one level the Cornelius saga is "the dreams and overactive imagination of a person..." He is called Michael Moorcock, and he sat at a typewriter and turned them into stories.

                        Showing us a Jerry C who apparently lives in Condition OR (Original Reality) is a way of reminding us of that.

                        It also helps us (living in Condition OR) to identify with the other Jerry C's, who have (in other realities) achieved positions of power, abused their power, lost their power, achieved positions of powerlessness... while striving to remake reality in ways which seem to them better. Or which... "Seemed like a good idea at the time." What was it in his life, or his views about the world around him, that led that young man to create his identities as a Jesuit, a physicist, a businessman, a rock guitarist, an urban terrorist, the English Assassin?

                        While not pretending at all to have a complete handle on the JC stories (far from it) I see one theme of them as: here's a group of people who (through their ability to move between the realities) are all trying to create a Perfect World as they see it. They often try to work together but they have such different visions of how the world should be...

                        Isn't that just like "real life"?

                        I also agree that Jerry, when the Struggle gets too much, might at times retreat to Condition OR (or something like it). See for example the closing panels of the Jerry Cornelius comic strip from IT, reprinted in the Nature Of The Catastrophe.

                        Jerry, Frank and Catherine retreat to a Christmas dinner scene with their Mum, which uses the form of an old-fashioned English children's comic to make its point, plus a paraphrase of Charles Dickens:

                        "God help us, one and all!"

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                        • #13
                          The articles New Worlds - Jerry Cornelius and In Lighter Vein, which appear in the Elric At The End Of Time anthology are a help in understanding Mike's intentions with the Cornelius stories. The first article, written around the time of the The English Assassin, gives some background to the creation of the Cornelius stories.

                          The short second one gives an indication of what he was trying to achieve - 'while I strive for the effect of randomness on one level, the effect is achieved by a tightly controlled system of internal reference, puns, ironies, logic-jumps which no single reader may fairly be expected to follow'. He then gives an example from The Condition Of Muzak, which includes an oblique reference to the story The Pleasure Garden Of Felippe Sagittarius among other things - those who have read the story may well spot it, and it will be lost on anyone who hasn't, but that doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things.

                          I suspect the only person who truly understands the JC stories is Mike himself, which is perhaps how it should be. The rest of us can make our own guesses about what it all really means, and that goes for the rest of his output. As I've been re-reading stories over the least few months, there are many interesting cross-reference that crop up. For example, I just read The Deep Fix - obviously influenced by William Burroughs (and probably Phillip K. Dick), its 'nothing is what it really seems' premise could be said to prefigure the Cornelius stories. The story also includes a character called The Man Without A Navel, which was one of the physical characteristics of Jephraim Tallow from The Golden Barge. Tallow seems to share certain characteristics with Moonglum from the Elric stories, and the Cornelius books started as a riff on the original Elrics.

                          I could go on... but I won't

                          For what it's worth my interpretation of the JC books is that the daydreamer of Condition Of Muzak is the 'real' Jerry, but the fact that the books can be read in any order leaves the whole thing open to personal interpretation.

                          Has anyone ever read Durrell's Alexandria Quartet? I've had them on the shelf for years and have never got round to tackling them, but the quartet idea seems to share some similarities with the Cornelius books, particularly the idea of the fourth volume being a 'resolution' of the previous three. Be interesting to know if they were an influence on Mike at all...
                          'You know, I can't keep up with you. If I hadn't met you in person, I quite honestly would NOT believe you really existed. I just COULDN'T. You do so MUCH... if half of what goes into your zines is to be believed, you've read more at the age of 17 than I have at the age of 32 - LOTS more'

                          Archie Mercer to Mike (Burroughsania letters page, 1957)

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by DeeCrowSeer
                            Well, if you believe his Mum, Jerry's father was a man named... Jeremiah, who promptly "scarpered".

                            D...
                            Not guilty.

                            I wasn't there, and even if I was you couldn't have recognised me. It was dark and I was wearing a false nose.

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                            • #15
                              I'm with Muckyshoes, I think alot of answers are floating around in the old qa archives and hope the whole thing's not Shakey Mo's version of Owl Creek.
                              "A man is no man who cannot have a fried mackerel when he has set his mind on it; and more especially when he has money in his pocket to pay for it." - E.A. Poe's NICHOLAS DUNKS; OR, FRIED MACKEREL FOR DINNER

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