[ilds] RG Justine 1.1

slighcl slighcl at wfu.edu
Sun Apr 8 09:20:17 PDT 2007

Thank you for drawing out LD's studies in Freud &c., Michael.  You write 

>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.
And that last notion--LD's predilection for shying away from 
systems--gets captured in the juxtaposition of the two /Justine 
/epigraphs.  I have always fancied that the Freud and the Sade 
quotations are a challenge to the reader to get involved--not merely 
atmospheric outriders signaling the decadence to follow in the text--and 
the posts by Bill, Jamie, and Michael speak to this.  Obviously LD 
imagines a very engaged reader for his /Justine/. 

Curiously when I analyze them as rhetorical strategies I find that these 
epigraphs are in one sense about different ways to imagine an audience.  
If read generously, Freud includes his audience in a first person "we."  
Sade, by contrast, holds hard to his advantage over his audience, his 
"lovely Thérèse," she of the "little mind."

I would want to carry that attention to audience over to the unnamed 
narrator, I think.  (I will not flatten or normalize the experience by 
insisting that we call him Darley.)  What sort of audience does the 
narrator imagine in /Justine /1.1?  (I think that the opening moments of 
/Balthazar /critique his shortsightedness, but that will have to wait 
for a future reading thread.)

I will also note that the ordering of the epigraphs grants the last 
word--or last query?--to Sade, not Freud.  It is Sade who has the last say,

    I ask whether there can be any hesi-
    tation, lovely Thérèse, and where will your
    little mind find an argument able to combat
    that one?

I think that the reader feels a great deal of "hesitation"  when he or 
she moves from the more balanced harmonies that Michael has pointed out 
in Freud's epigraph to Sade's elaboration of starkly contrasting 
binaries and the condescending query which follows.  Again, the question 
mark lingers.  The process of moving through the text creates the sense 
of uneasiness; it is not merely the good Marquis who is aligning 
extremes--the juxtaposed epigraphs create another layer of ambiguity.  
Undeniably, in the larger /Quartet /LD has his characters work to come 
into a fuller understanding of their sexual selves.  But here at the 
start there is a great deal of uncertainty.

I look forward to more on this!


Charles L. Sligh
Department of English
Wake Forest University
slighcl at wfu.edu

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