[ilds] RG Justine 1.1-1.9 - 'of course'

Michael Haag michaelhaag at btinternet.com
Tue Apr 17 19:04:04 PDT 2007

'I had to come here in order completely to rebuild this city in my 
brain' (1.4).  Durrell will rebuild -- not build but rebuild -- this 
city of his book.  While he does this he is in possession of the child 
-- Melissa's child (1.1).  He will 'of course' name it Justine (1.7).  
It will become apparent that there is something cyclical about this, 
and already we are being prepared.  For we are told it is winter but 
that 'you can feel the inventions of spring'.  We are also told that 
city 'used us as its flora' -- which unlike fauna has a cyclical 
existence.  The drunken whore shedding snatches of song like petals 
(1.3) maintains the flora/cyclical theme; perhaps in one of those great 
cycles of history she was heard before, by Antony when he surrendered 
the city.  Melissa is dead; Justine is gone (1.5); but they are yet to 
come.  'I want them to live again' (1.7).  The child destroys the 
papers of the writer who claims to share increasingly the indifference 
of the natural world to the constructions of art (1.5) -- but who then 
proclaims the significance of his reordered and reworked reality.  Not 
a bad beginning at exercising his authority over the reader, of 
asserting his command of what we will know, when we will be allowed to 
know it, and imposing his own framework of reality.


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