[ilds] Rg Justine 1.11 -- foetus

slighcl slighcl at wfu.edu
Tue Apr 24 11:34:43 PDT 2007

On 4/23/2007 11:16 PM, Michael Haag wrote:

> For the gnostics, the material world created by Sophia's fall was one 
> of confusion, agony and remorse; it was an ektroma, an abortion.

Yes, I had thought the Sophia reference was leading us the way to 
meditations on "the botched creation."  Also recall Justine pleading:

        "I mean, that God neither created us nor wished us to be
        created, but that we are the work of an inferior deity, a
        Demiurge, who wrongly believed himself to be God?  Heavens, how
        probable it seems; and this overweening hubris has been handed
        down to our children."  (1.20)

Justine's "our children" takes on a new resonance if if we keep in mind 
not only the "lost child" but also "the dirty sink with the fœtus in it" 

But again we have here "the picture" (a specific memory?) and also 
highly particularized by the articles--"the dirty sink" and "the 
fœtus."  Is there any other allusion to this incident in the /Quartet/?  
The dirty sink would seem to suggest the back area of Pombal's "little 
dank flat" (1.12).  Cf. Melissa washing in the "ugly scullery" with its 
"dirty iron sink" (1.23).  So what is this "picture"?

Biographically, for LD, the issue of pregnancy and lost children was 
haunting.  Others will tell those tales with more knowledge than I 
have.  As a student of the literature, I will simply note what artistic 
uses he made of the trauma:  "he carried the consciousness of her going 
heavily about with him--like a dead baby from which one could not bring 
oneself to part" (4.1).

Tremendously sad, that last.  I recall also Joyce and Poldy carrying 
heavily the memories of lost little ones.


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

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