(Dick was of course living in Orange County during those hallucinogenic visions of 1974, in which God supposedly spoke to him, as well as during the long days and nights when he transcribed his experiences. Here for the relevant chapter of my recent story about the author's time in the Southland.)
“The title he gave it, ‘Exegesis,’ alludes to the fact that what it really was, was a personal laboratory for philosophical inquiry,” Lethem told the New York Times, here for full story. “It’s not even a single manuscript, in a sense – it’s an amassing or a compilation of late-night all-night sessions of him taking on the universe, mano-a-mano, with the tools of the English language and his own paranoiac investigations.”
The visions came after a girl delivered some medication to Dick for dental surgery. Not long after he began seeing visions from modern painting and to realize that the Orange County landscape around him was actually First Century Rome.
“It’s something that he talked about and created a kind of amazing aura around,” Lethem said, “so that people have an image of it as if it’s some kind of consummated effort. ‘I’m working on my exegesis.’ But what he really meant was, he was turning his brain inside-out on the page, on a nightly basis, over a period of years of his life.”
David Gill, who runs the Total Dick-Head blog, tells The Misread City: "
The first of two volumes is expected from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2011.
Photo credit: Philip K. Dick Estate