[ilds] RG Justine 1.24 -- Pursewarden

slighcl slighcl at wfu.edu
Fri May 4 12:46:51 PDT 2007

On 5/4/2007 3:20 PM, william godshalk wrote:

> Charlie, could you talk a little more about your question? What 
> changes here? In what ways?

Hey, Bill.  Is it okay to question the questioner?  Maybe so.  So here 
it is. 

    * That summer Pombal decided to let his flat to Pursewarden]  
      Thinking of that summer when Pombal decided to let his flat to
      Pursewarden (1.24) 
    * He was little, fattish and blond]   He was clever, tallish, and
      blond (1.24)

The blondness of Pursewarden springs eternal, but his size and his 
mental capacities seem to be changing dramatically.  I will note that, 
unless they seek out the Faber editions not for sale here, American 
readers must imagine Pursewarden as "little, fattish, and blond" while 
UK readers imagine Pursewarden in his later revised form, "clever, 
tallish, and blond."  A good example of the way in which, whatever LD's 
intentions were, very different readers' experiences are loosed among 
the nations of the earth.  The text never does get to exist in its 
Platonic form, that is for darn sure.

Looking ahead through /Justine /and the /Quartet/, which Pursewarden 
seems more consistent to you?  Thin and tall?  Little and prone to 
carrying some weight?  I clearly understand LD's quest for consistency 
within the larger /Quartet/, but I have to admit that P persists for me 
more like the earliest incarnation--"little, fattish and blond"--more 
suggestive of his maker, perhaps?

And that tricking about and tinkering with the temporality--for me, 
"that summer Pombal decided" invokes a sort of specificity, telling us 
about something occurring in sequence, while  "thinking of that summer 
when Pombal decided" seems to foreground a framing, filtering subjective 
consciousness, retrospecting and rummaging about among various past 
summers and locating the one "when."

You /Quartet /chronologists--and there have been some--speak.


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

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