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

James Gifford odos.fanourios at gmail.com
Sat Apr 21 13:22:06 PDT 2007


> his avowed intent,
> if i remember correctly, was to use the quartet to flesh
> out and expand on eliott's time present, time past.

I cannot read the opening scenes of Clea with the burning rose of Alexandria
without thinking of the ending of "Little Gidding" in which Eliot finally
achieves his closing word: "One."  In order to reach that unity, Eliot finds
that the fire and the rose are one, and I think Durrell's burning rose of
Alexandria deliberately displaces Eliot's Four Quartets.

So, not "to flesh our and expand" but to change and revise...  I don't think
I can muster up an impersonation of Harold Bloom just now, but would it be
fair to suggest Durrell didn't want us to be able to read Eliot the same way
after the Quartet?  As with the active reader, that's not a change in the
previous texts; it's a change in the reader.  That's where I think Bill &
Michael are butting heads as well -- the reader does change the text, but in
that engagement with the text's 'field,' the reader is opened to change as

Perhaps Rita might comment on a kantian reading of that mutual engagement?
Can I engage in a text in a way that allows me to add or revise it without
opening up myself to that same process of revision?  What is the ethic of
that engagement?  Alas, I'm not ethicist...

> yet we are speaking on the subject of gaps, and i find no
> comments about durrel's attemp to create a new concept of
> time though the a quartet.  am i lost in space?

Lost in a gap.  How does time work in a lacuna or an aporia?  Beatrice or
Anna can correct my Greek, but is it fair to trouble aporia vs. aporos?  A
puzzle vs. and impasse?  I think Durrell's gaps fit the former, and before
we can tackle the reflective atemporality of Justine, we must come to grips
with what we're doing when the novel isn't doing anything.  It puts us in
the "nothing" quite a bit.  "The rest is silence" strikes me as a literal
statement about rests, and when we rest, we think...

As for the Quantum theory, I'll admit that I avoid it as anything beyond a
metaphor, personally.  I think it's more overt in the Quintet, but in the
Quartet, the issue of time stayed and time regained strikes me a formal with
science words working allegorically rather than sincerely.  That said, I can
appreciate why others would disagree.


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