[ilds] RG Justine 1.1

James Gifford odos.fanourios at gmail.com
Sat Apr 7 20:40:24 PDT 2007


Hello all,

I have to tip my hat to Beatrice Skordili before I start in on this one,
since she first set me thinking about the epigrams carefully, and John
Peters¹ work on the epigrams has also captured my attention.  If I¹m
repeating Beatrice¹s comments, I¹ll rely on her to point it out to me.

The last few time I¹ve taught the Quartet, I¹ve increasingly discussed the
epigrams and find myself reading them as the ethical quandary of the text.
We seem to have two opposing opportunities or positions available to use as
readers:

  1) talk, as in Freud¹s talking cure, which would seem to be Darley¹s
project in the novel.

  2) crime or the noose.  In other words, unrestrained pursuit of desire,
desire that doesn¹t get analysed, or desire whose origins are unexamined.

Both epigrams also have missing materials.  Freud¹s letters, published only
shortly before Justine in English translation, are discussing bisexuality ‹
that sentence doesn¹t appear.  Likewise, Sade is out of context.  I wonder
if that speaks to repression...  And the repressed always reappears
somewhere else.

Charles¹ reference to The Grand Inquisitor seems apt in the double bind, but
I do wonder to what extent those competing epigrams are Durrell¹s attempt to
squirm out.  The attempt to Œtalk¹ about desire‹to analyse its origins,
repressions, displacements, and sublimations‹would seem to be the antithesis
of Sade¹s jouissance, in which desire leads to crime or death.  Freud is
taking sexuality and turning it to discussion, analysis, and origins apart
from desire itself.  Sade stikes me as avoiding analysis and refuting
anything behind desire, with only the desire of desire itself.  And in the
novel, Darley is in the position of Œtalking¹ about the memory of this raw
desire, desire that is clearly standing in for something else.  Justine, of
course, fails in her efforts, and receives her share of the noose for it.
Darley seems to slip the knot, though I would suggest that his remembering
is initially a continuation of his search for desire.  In remembering, he¹s
still in Sade¹s noose, but somewhere in the process he ends up in an
auto-analysis rather than an analysis of others...  I am not, however,
exactly sure of when that point occurs.

Would Capodistria¹s survival then qualify his sexuality as a form of
self-analysis?

Cheers,
Jamie
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