[ilds] RG Justine 3 -- the great duck shoot

slighcl slighcl at wfu.edu
Tue Jun 5 00:10:36 PDT 2007


On 6/5/2007 3:45 AM, william godshalk wrote:

>Perhaps it's time to move on from the internecine battle over 
>borrowing to a discussion of Nessim's historical dreams (if indeed 
>they are his) and the duck hunt on Lake Mareotis. You know my 
>recurrent question: why these rather than something else?
>
I am heading out to the coast this morning, but although I do not have 
my /Justine /with me I cannot pass this up.  The duck shoot as we have 
said is different in many ways.  It is one of the oldest parts of 
/Justine/, existing in some earlier state(s) before Durrell knew that he 
was writing a novel called /Justine/.  But having admitted its textual 
difference from some of the surrounding materials, I am struck past and 
present by how the insertion of the duck shoot right here in Durrell's 
narrative provides a departure, a sense of difference in the 
storytelling style, as if all of that tension built up in all of 
Darley's endless, recursive retrospecting now comes free--like the 
clogged drain in his dirty little kitchen at Pombal's flat?--and the 
necessary movement occurs.

When you test the duck shoot against any other episode in /Justine/, you 
find there is not another section of sustained, straight-forward (at 
least temporally!) narrative.  And it is tremendously effective, both in 
its beautiful description of the masculine culture of hunting--falling 
to sleep to the drowsing sound of what Faulkner called "old tales and 
telling"; being woken gently by Nessim; the first stray ducks and the 
first snaps of shots in the distance; &c.--and in its canny use of an 
apparently straight-forward narrative style to couch Darley's anxieties 
about what Nessim is up to and to disguise the deeper plots.

Now for Victoria Station.

Charles

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

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