[ilds] Balthazar &c.

M. Erick Ward wardwrites at yahoo.com
Tue Apr 17 12:59:46 PDT 2007

In fact, I became close friends with another student who was similarly taken in by Durrell, and, of course, by the professor's wonderful tales of meeting the author, of seeing his plot diagrams written out in different-colored ink (just like Balthazar's interlinnear).  After the intial class, the two of us were lucky enough to talk CP into an independent study of the Quintet.

slighcl <slighcl at wfu.edu> wrote:
  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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