[ilds] [RG 2003 Justine 1.1]

James Gifford gifford at ualberta.ca
Fri Apr 6 12:44:55 PDT 2007


------ Forwarded Message
From: Charles Sligh
Date: Fri, 13 Jun 2003 00:17:51 -0400
To: <DURRELL at NEWS.CC.UCF.EDU>
Subject: [ILDS] ILDS: Discussion Group--AQ1.  Sligh.


I'll follow up on Isabelle's point about LD's composition
habits.

Look to Ian MacNiven's biography and Earl Ingersoll's
collection of LD interviews for LD's own statements about
the troubles and successes of birthing the _Quartet_.  See
especially remarks on how his financial needs and changing
relationships influenced the writing.

LD did indeed carry about for years the incidents and
descriptions which eventually became _Justine_ and her
siblings.  The quarry books at Carbondale and the British
Library offer us a running record of many incidents and
characters suggestive of moments in the _Quartet_.  I am
away from my notes, but I can recall at least one instance
in which a Darley-like narrator is casting back into his
memories of love affairs which took place in various
geographies, not all of them Alexandrian;  also, the
wonderful lake scenes, hunting and fishing, appear with
frequency, in different incarnations.

Shelley Cox could tell us more, if she will speak up--she
has long pondered--and presented some great things--on the
notebooks.

Given LD's many returns, turning back to his composition
books over a number of years, I find the stylistics of
_Justine_'s opening pages most striking.  The lapping,
repetitive cadences reenact LD's compositional experience,
so that when we read sentences such as

        "and now the wind unpacking the great planes,
        ransacking the great planes" (1.1)

and

        [The sea's] dim momentum is the fugue upon which
        this writing is made.  Empty cadences of sea-water
        licking its own wounds, sulking along the mouths of
        the delta, boiling upon those deserted beaches. . .
        ." (1.6)

we are witnessing just that--the tidal returns of the
writer to his writing.

Of course, the reader will need to learn to use the text in
a similar way.

CLS

----------------------
Charles L. Sligh
Department of English
University of Virginia
cls9k at virginia.edu

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