[ilds] RG Justine 1.1

Michael Haag michaelhaag at btinternet.com
Sun Apr 8 11:06:31 PDT 2007


Charles asks: What sort of audience does the narrator imagine in 
Justine 1.1?

It is a fascinating question.

As Charles knows from seeing the original MS, there was another book, 
or an attempt to write another book, the book that becomes Arnauti's 
book, though it begins as something very different.  That original book 
was a failure.  Someone within the original MS looks at that book and 
tells us so, tells us that it was an impossible undertaking.  That 
Someone grows into the eventual narrator of Justine; he does so by 
meditating on the failure to write what was originally attempted.  
There are many traces, sometimes entire portions, of that failed book 
embedded in Justine -- but that comes later.  As for Justine 1.1 we 
have a succession of remarks on the theme of distance, distancing, 
stories within stories, books within books, worlds within worlds.  'I 
have had to come so far away from it in order to understand it all!'

Of course the audience imagined by the narrator is me.  Not you.  Not 
anybody else.  Just me.  (Like being fixed by the Ancient Mariner.)  
The reason it is just me is that Justine is not a public process; it is 
an intensely private one.  The need is to draw me in.

But it is Durrell, really, who has that need.  He needs to draw me in, 
because if he does not then his world is not a world because there is 
nobody in it but himself.  He needs to create a cosmos.

So the answer to the question 'What sort of audience does the narrator 
imagine in Justine 1.1?' is a cosmos of author's own invention, where 
the author is the author of the author.

The next question is why?  But if you are going to create a really 
successful cosmos there can be no why.  It just is.


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