[ilds] [RG 2003 Justine 1.1]

James Gifford gifford at ualberta.ca
Fri Apr 6 12:26:27 PDT 2007

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 10 Jun 2003 11:43:07 +0200
From: A.J.French & Christine B.
To: Anna Lillios 
Subject: Re: [ILDS] ILDS: Discussion Group--AQ1

sorry if I am a bit behind with the discussion, but I was away ...
anyway, here are my fragments:

INVENT (re: inventions/spring) comes from L. invenire = to find or to come
upon it could also mean (euphemistic) a fabrication or a lie
but surely he is talking about spring's creations after the death of winter


>"Of course it will be Justine--who else?" (1.7)

perhaps Darley chose the name because of his obsession with the woman
(and thus her name) and
the memory of her and his inability to think of anyone else (or think
of another suitable name for the girl) because, despite the fact he
finds her repugnant at the end, his memories are still overflowing
with her and with her name -- thus the book! Perhaps the child
Justine could be a mirror for the woman Justine, indeed, a mirror for
all the women in the book, and the title of the book relates not only
obviously to Justine (Nessim's wife) but also to Nessim's child.


>And then those pesky asterisks (*) [...] These little routing paths
>[...] cause a great deal of trouble if we a trying to keep our
>readings "linear."
The book, the whole Quartet is, I feel, just like a meandering route
amongst time and place. In this first book Durrell gives the reader
the task of looking back and forth, not only because of the
narration, but also due to the asterisks and the workpoints at the
end, which give the reader a problem: is this just Darley's fiction?
is this Durrell's fiction? what happens next? and so on ...  And the
information we a given fills in space (like in Balthazar) gives new
perspectives (Mountolive) and rounds up (some of) the threads which
loosely tie the bundle of books together (Clea)
The book(s) certainly ask(s) us to read differently! It can not force
us, merely tempt!
And that last asterisk certainly has to make you smile or frown or
... something!

Re: linear/global reading: surely the reader thinks s/he is reading
lineally, whilst gradually developing a global perspective throughout
the book(s) and yet it is really just fragmentory reading, as is
clear when one begins Balthazar and realised that not everthing
Darley wrote was true/real/correct. It is like looking at several
paintings of the same scene: each one shows a different face/side,
and often objects look diffent from different angles ... or even
times! some of the paintings are mere washes and undercoats (as
someone said, only later do the details, flavours, smells start to
come out), sketches of an idea of a memory.


>In section 1, the narrator says that "the city . . . used us as its flora."
>Why "flora" rather than "fauna"?  This is one of Durrell's favor ideas,
>but I wonder why the narrator sees his friends as plants rather than animals.
this is an interesting point, and I have to think of a comment D.
made about poems being arranged like a vase of flowers, not in the
order they were picked/written but in an order which looks/reads best.

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