[ilds] RG Justine 1.1

Michael Haag michaelhaag at btinternet.com
Sun Apr 8 06:59:46 PDT 2007


To overlap with and extend what has been said about the epigraphs to 

Durrell wrote about 'the four of us' who come together in the act of 
love.  These are Darley, Melissa, Justine and Nessim.  But also Durrell 
read the edited correspondence from Freud to his colleague Wilhelm 
Fliess (first published in English translation in 1954).  'Now for 
bisexuality!', Freud wrote to Fliess on 1 August 1899 -- and Durrell 
would quote what followed as an epigraph to Justine: 'I am accustoming 
myself to the idea of regarding every sexual act as a process in which 
four persons are involved. We shall have a lot to discuss about that'.

The four persons are the female and male aspects of the man and the 
male and female aspects of the woman, for Freud insisted on 'an 
original bisexuality in every individual' and saw the repression of one 
side of one's sexuality in favour of the other as a cause of neurosis.  
I am not sure that Durrell can be said to have repressed the 
bisexuality part; he originally wanted Justine to be described as 'an 
investigation of bisexual love', but Faber objected and so it became 
the anodyne and meaningless 'investigation of modern love'.

Against this sexual illustration of the theme of harmony and unity 
Durrell opposed duality, which he regarded as false and unhealthy, and 
which he likewise illustrated with a prefatory quote to Justine, this 
time from the Marquis de Sade who showed how the logic of rationalism 
led to an insane choice of either/or: 'There are two positions 
available to us -- either crime which renders us happy, or the noose, 
which prevents us from being unhappy. I ask whether there can be any 
hesitation, lovely Therese, and where will your little mind find an 
argument able to combat that one?'

Durrell mentions the falseness of either/or in for example Prospero's 
Cell (p108: 'Was he happy or unhappy, moral or amoral?  He was outside 
the trap of the opposites').  The object is to realise that the choice 
is a false one.

Going back to Freud's letter to Fliess, that was one of his last before 
the relationship foundered.  The letters show Freud formulating the 
basic elements of psychonanalysis in his theories of dream 
interpretation, infantile sexuality, bisexuality and psychoanalytic 
method which found developed expression in The Interpretation of Dreams 
(1900).  This was a break with Fliess who had developed and continued 
to be convinced of various physiological explanations for hysteria, 
etc, of a pretty crackpot kind -- ideas which Durrell himself pursued 
and gave expression to throughout the Alexandria Quartet.  Freud may 
have been an improvement on Sade in Durrell's mind, but he remained 
unhappy with any one system of thought, indeed with any system at all.


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