[ilds] RG Justine -- 1.22 lashings of sex

Michael Haag michaelhaag at btinternet.com
Tue May 1 14:01:01 PDT 2007


Not that, but they may come to understand what they are doing with sex. 
  In his first notebook for Justine, Durrell wrote: 'Sex as a parody of 
the soul's pleasure in its conjunction, like the meeting of two images 
in a prism.'  And in the published Justine he wrote: 'It was not sex 
they offered ... but like true inhabitants of Alexandria, the deep 
forgetfulness of parturition' (AQ 1962 edition page 153).  In other 
words, following Plotinus, it is the many fractured beings we have 
become, seeking to rediscover their wholeness in the One.  Durrell gets 
his mirrors, fragments and prisms from Plotinus who used all those 
images first.  Furthermore Plotinus frequently used the imagery of 
sensual love to express this spiritual seeking and union, so that the 
lover, excited by a beautiful face, a beautiful body, has the memory of 
the greater beauty beyond.  The particular piece in the Ennead to read 
is On Beauty.

:Michael


On Tuesday, May 1, 2007, at 08:44  pm, william godshalk wrote:

> Michael,
>
> Thank you for pointing this out. I have not picked up my Plotinus in 
> many years. I will have to find it -- and read.
>
> I gather that you are implying, as the characters get more instruction 
> from Balthazar, the less the characters will be jerked around by 
> sexual desire?
>
> Bill
>
> At 12:31 PM 5/1/2007, you wrote:
>
> By the time we reach 1.22 we are deep into the gnostics and Plotinus. 
> One needs to be aware of that.  For example, at the beginning of the 
> fourth paragraph in 1.22, Darley says 'And is this the way?', to which 
> Justine says 'I do not know', and again 'I do not know'.  This is a 
> variation on 'How lies the path?, the question Plotinus asks in the 
> Ennead.  Durrell follows this up later in Justine where, just after 
> Nessim's historical dreams, he has Nessim talking of escape but saying 
> 'This is no journey for the feet, however', which continues that same 
> segment of the Ennead.
>
> :Michael
>
>
> On Tuesday, May 1, 2007, at 05:06  pm, william godshalk wrote:
>
> Justine says to the narrator: "You thought I simply wanted to make 
> love? God! haven't we had enough of that?"  Does she mean in general 
> or with the narrator? Either way things look pretty bleak for the 
> narrator's sex life (1.22).
>
> A bit later in the same episode (1.22), he remembers Justine saying 
> "After all, . . . this has nothing to do with sex," which the narrator 
> goes on to interpret as the "desperate attempt to dissociate the flesh 
> from the message it carried."
>
> Later on Pursewarden in 2.6 tells the narrator "the secret of my 
> novelist's trade. I am a success, you a failure. The answer, old man, 
> is sex and plenty of it."
>
> Is Pursewarden right about the narrator? Does his writing lack 
> lashings of sex?
>
> And how much sex does the narrator really get from Justine? She 
> apparently likes to take her clothes off around him, but does the 
> Check keep her from actually making love with him?
>
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