[ilds] [RG 2003 Justine 1.8 - 1.14]

James Gifford gifford at ualberta.ca
Fri Apr 6 13:30:41 PDT 2007

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From: Charles Sligh
Date: Sun, 31 Aug 2003 18:44:01 -0400
Subject: [ILDS] ILDS Discussion Group: JUSTINE 1.8--1.14.  Sligh.

Dear Durrellians:

Now that August vacations are drawing to a close, perhaps
we can turn our collective attention back to our reading
of _Justine_.

We last set out to read _Justine_, 1.8 - 1.14. We'll be
moving on soon; however, I'll observe here that we haven't
really begun to mine the possibilities of these seven
starred sections.

For your consideration, then, I wonder what we might make
of Darley's strange recollection of Justine in 1.11:

"Nevertheless I can still see a direct connection between
the picture of Justine bending over the dirty sink with
the foetus in it, and poor Sophia of Valentinus who died
for a love as perfect as it was wrong-headed."

My reading always hesitates for a moment when I come to
this passage. I wonder what first-time readers "do" with
this oblique allusion?

I wonder what Darley expects of his audience? The
assumption of an exremely rational tone ("Nevertheless"
and "direct connection") seems to disconnect as it
"connects" the sad and surprising image of Justine with
the odd, arcane allusion to "Sophia." Occult signs are
being given, the reader's sensibilities and skill are
being provoked. . . .

"_The_ foetus" (vs. the more general "a foetus"):
Explanations? I'm interested in hearing any possible
readings, from both new readers and more experienced
readers of _The Alexandria Quartet_.

And I'll note the framing idea of a "picture"--LD/Darley
does favor closing so many of these early paragraphs with
elegiac portraits (or snapshots?) of certain lost moments.

A suggestion: One can learn much about LD's style by
reading the closing sentence(s) of his section-closing
paragraphs, many of which were carefully tailored quite
late in the typescript.


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

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