[ilds] Balthazar &c.

slighcl slighcl at wfu.edu
Tue Apr 17 12:44:50 PDT 2007

Matt recalls the effect of Balthazar's visit to Darley there in the 
opening pages of /Balthazar/:

> Like you might recognize an old friend by hearing his voice around a 
> corner. 

The many returns and reunions in the /Quartet /have also always touched 
me deeply.  Balthazar showing up unannounced at Darley's island  Clea 
later mentioning that she has visited with a much-altered Justine.  
Nessim grown into another person, "aged like a woman" with his foolish 
authoritativeness and cheap, vulgar girls hanging on his arms. 

You mention that you first encountered LD's writing with a "wonderful 
professor" and you underwrite your name with Baltimore.  I cannot deny 
at all the spookiness of reading that note, for I suspect that I knew 
your professor.  I am always jarred by the associative nature of these 
books. Part of their meaning for me always has to be the friends whom I 
have met through them and the places to which they have taken me.  We 
should not ignore that aspect, I think.  These books--/Justine /and the 
/Quartet/, &c.--also represent a community of readers with shared and 
individual memories of past readings in various company, in various 
locales.  LD gave us the books, but he could never have guessed the full 
meaning of the gift.


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

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