[ilds] RG 1.6 -- the narrator meets Justine

Marc Piel marcpiel at interdesign.fr
Sun Apr 29 14:18:16 PDT 2007

Please excuse me for being very basic: how can 
anyone say that the "narator" played tricks on the 
reader??? 1. the narator is LD himself. 2. It is a 
novel that intrigues the reader and holds him/her 
in suspense. Surely this is not "tricking" but a 
great writing tallent???
It seems to me that anyone who feels tricked, is 
very pretentious! Or is it something else that I 
don"t understand?
Marc Piel

slighcl wrote:

> Beata Beatrix!  I am excited about your post.  It raises some basic 
> issues--not only of reading and interpretation--but also of the 
> textual-bibliographical history of the Quartet.
> You write that:
>>     The narrator plays tricks on the reader. A couple of times in the
>>     beginning he mentions Justine, but he goes on to discuss Melissa.
>>     The woman "walking idly towards the town in her white sandals"
>>     "yawning" is not Justine, but Melissa who has just woken up from
>>     her afternoon nap, because she works at night.
> I agree about the indeterminacy of the women and how they shade into 
> each other like mirages--like Alex seen from the sea upon approach.  
> Bill Godshalk and I have been talking about that indeterminacy for 
> several years now.  Perhaps Jamie can pull our old postings from 2003 so 
> we will not repeat too much? 
> But in short your observation--and it is helpful and acute in 
> itself!--must take us to asking, what text of Justine you are using?
>     *
>               All early Fabers (1957 - 1962) will leave the flux and
>               indeterminacy open, letting you interpret that woman in
>               1.10 as perhaps being Melissa.  After all, Melissa has
>               been colored as an "afternoon" presence in 1.4, the
>               section with a little "coloured stall" with its ices.
>     *
>               All post-1962 Faber Justine printings will follow the
>               single volume additions and corrections, where that line
>               reads:
>                   "This is the hour least easy to bear, when from my
>                   balcony I catch an unexpected glimpse of her walking
>                   idly towards the town in her white sandals, still half
>                   asleep.  Justine!" (1.10)
>                 + You write again that
>>                   Only at 1.10 starting "I have had many glimpses of
>>                   her" does the narrator start describing Justine.
>                   Here I think that you mean 1.11, but again your post
>                   brings out the differences in the text.  The 1957
>                   Faber does read "many such glimpses of her"; the 1962
>                   reads "many such glimpses of Justine."
> The differences, Beatrice, as you already know from our old 
> conversations in Cincinatti & Corfu & from your own writings, makes a 
> "world" of difference for how the reader experiences these first 
> glimpses of Alex and her women.  Both the 1957 and 1962 versions of 
> Justine are legitimate and represents LD's method in the particular 
> historical moment.   Both need preserving in the record--they are 
> "possible" Justines.  But I for one will always enjoy the open 
> possibilities of the 1957-1962 printings.  (American Dutton/Penguin 
> printings are based on the earliest available plates, so they persist 
> with the indeterminacy.) I have been asking for a long time why LD moved 
> to isolate and specify the women.  As a reader who has learned a great 
> deal about reading among indeterminacies from the Quartet, I would have 
> counseled him otherwise.  As an editor, I hold on to the historical 
> differences.
> So what text are you reading from these days, Beatrice?  And while we 
> are talking, what text does the Greek translator follow?--or (here to 
> Marc) what did the French translator use?  How about Aurora Bernardez 
> (Julio Cortazar's wife)--which version does she follow in the those 
> wonderful Spanish translations?
> Why should we only have one perspective!
> -- 
> **********************
> Charles L. Sligh
> Department of English
> Wake Forest University
> slighcl at wfu.edu
> **********************
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