[ilds] RG Justine 1.4 -- active reading & Justine

Marc Piel marcpiel at interdesign.fr
Tue Apr 17 14:24:48 PDT 2007


I asked at my bookstore (La Fnac, 5 stories of 
books, music, and computers) the other day out of 
curiosity: The AQ is a constant and regular seller!!!

Instead of pulling words appart and formulating 
hyperthetical unsupported speculations - some of 
you have met LD and known him and his life and 
loves: surely you can, for us others, equate 
events in real life with his writings (not that 
they don't belong to real life- it seems to me the 
two are inseperable). This would be much richer 
than the (excuse me for saying so) the sometimes 
sterile and/or pretentious posts we have had.
Marc Piel,
Paris, France.

slighcl wrote:

>>
>>
>>Credit goes to the author. 
>>
> Yes--absolutely, in the sense that a real writer named LD has written 
> the book called Justine which is still being published today and, 
> sometimes, with greater or lesser degrees of attention, read.
> 
> But how can we be so naive in claiming that we can know exactly what LD 
> "meant" when he set out to write his book?   Invoking "magic" and 
> "sorcery"  seems most charming, but please give me specifics of how the 
> holy spirit of LD comes over and sits on my shoulder to teach me his 
> insights.  If we start with the Justine itself, as it relates to the 
> larger Quartet, we find all sorts of problems set up between us and easy 
> assumptions about what LD "meant."  For instance, LD creates a narrator 
> that we readers must learn to view most critically, despite the lure of 
> romance.  The books work by means of manifold ironies, fragments, 
> revocations.  "Art like life is an open secret."  Puzzle over that one 
> for minute, or for a lifetime, and I think that you will find the 
> Demiurge doing quite a bit of chuckling at all of us here in the Cabal 
> who seek out "God" . . . .
> 
> I think Justine and the Quartet require more of their readers than moony 
> adoration, and that is the highest praise I can give LD.  (That said, I 
> challenge anyone to surpass my own rampant bouts of moony adoration for 
> the Quartet and LD.  Oh, Brother Ass!  I am far gone.)  Puresewarden's 
> many pronouncements on the difficulties of reading and on the tensions 
> between author and reader suggest that there is nothing simple about the 
> reading activity or the relationship:
> 
>         "I love the French edition with its uncut pages.  I would not
>         want a reader too lazy to use a knife on me."
> 
>         "I have always believed in letting my reader sink or skim."
> 
>         When I was chided by Balthazar for being equivocal I replied
>         without a moment's conscious thought: "Words being what they
>         are, people being what they are, perhaps it would be better
>         always to say the opposite of what one means"
> 
>>As to "multiple readings," multiple does not mean valid.  
>>  
>>
> I find the full span of  the Quartet to be leading precisely towards 
> "multiple readings," not towards final revelation.  What else is its 
> central drama?  Why else would we go back to it?
> 
> CLS
> 
> -- 
> **********************
> Charles L. Sligh
> Department of English
> Wake Forest University
> slighcl at wfu.edu
> **********************
> 
> 
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