[ilds] RG Justine 1.1 - dedication

slighcl slighcl at wfu.edu
Mon Apr 9 12:03:01 PDT 2007

On 4/9/2007 1:47 PM, Michael Haag wrote:

I wonder what people make of the dedication to Justine:

*To Eve these memorials of her native city*


    For example, who is Eve, and what is the city?

An important question, Michael.  Of course, as you and Bruce have noted, 
many of us on this listserv already know the biographical answers and a 
few even know about LD's special tailoring and tinkering of the 
dedication in his notebooks and typescripts.  However, the more I learn 
about /Justine/, the more I find an equal value in de-emphasizing that 
biographical knowledge and giving free reign to my imagination and 
intuition in a ludic sort of way.  Call it "setting the book free to 
dream," if you will.

Above all I fancy that the dedication sits in a rather strange sort of 
space within the total textual system of /Justine/.  How, for example, 
do we understand that we should start negotiating and differentiating 
between LD and his narrator in the following component levels, all of 
which demand interpretation?

    Cover (Art, blurbs, jacket notes, author bio, price &c.)
    Binding Design
    Paper, Ink, and Typeface
    Half Title
    List of Books "by the same author"
    Title Page [declaring this book to be Justine | a novel | by |
    Title Page Verso
    PART I

How do we map out when one "author" leaves off writing and another 
"author" begins writing  in /Justine/? 

    * Who gets credit for the epigraphs?  for the dedication?  How do we
    * What happens when we "misread" them as the work of the narrator of
      /Justine/?  Literally, creatively, or by willfully
      over-identifying the narrator with LD? 
    * Who translates the Cavafy poems in the Consequential Data? 
      Scholars regularly refer to those translations as LD's work.  It
      is not so simple, I think.  Note that the translator [the unnamed
      Darley?] "copied out and gave" them to "her" [Clea].  (And then
      the fact that they are /translations /embedded within a fiction
      reminds us that translation has much to do with all of this--a
      creative, interpretive, subjective act.) 
    * Who puts those asterisks and those notes in the text? 

When does the "fiction" end and the "real" begin?

To say "LD wrote it all" is evasive and unhelpful and not in the spirit 
of /Justine /and the /Quartet/, I think.   Boundaries between texts and 
authors are not merely being crossed, but blurred.  (LD, the 
narrator/Darley, Arnauti, Nessim, Justine, Clea, &c.)

Above I quote from /Justine, /Faber First Edition, First Impression.  
Considering /Justine /in its many other printings, its multiple 
revisions, and its relation to the larger /Quartet /changes these issues 
and questions in different ways.* 


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

*Cf. the transformation of this line in different printings post-1957:

    Does not everything depend on our interpretation of the silence
    around us? (4.4)

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