[ilds] durrell and the duck shoot

william godshalk godshawl at email.uc.edu
Mon Sep 22 17:18:03 PDT 2008


Okay. Could you say a bit more about the architectural technique?

Like a palimpsest? Layers of Troy over layers of Troy?


At 07:24 PM 9/22/2008, you wrote:
>william godshalk wrote:
> > Charlie writes:
> >
> >> *No, this is not a murder-ballad, but it is that curious
> >> ending-before-the ending of /Justine/.
> >> *
> >
> > Yes, it is. When I think of the ending of /Justine/, I think of the
> > duck shoot. But of course the duck shoot is far from the end of the
> > novel. Perhaps we could say that the novel ends not with a bang (so to
> > speak) but a whimper.
>There it is.  What happens in Part 4 of /Justine/ works like a first run
>at the storytelling technique of /Balthazar/.  In both cases, it seems
>that Darley has chosen to go elsewhere and start something else--first,
>in Part 4 of /Justine/, to Upper Egypt; second, in /Balthazar/, to the
>Island--but he comes right back whatever the case.
>If I was going to look into the notebooks for more ready evidence for
>Michael Haag's working theories about what Durrell had in mind when he
>wrote /Justine/ versus how Durrell retrospectively played up the
>masterful preconceived architecture of the /Quartet/, I would look to
>how Part 4 sits so oddly at the end.
>Consider it this way:  Part 4 is the first run or testing ground for the
>sequel or sibling works.  Then "Justine II" grows legs and walks and
>teaches its writer to call it by the name /Balthazar/--and
>lo!--something new has been achieved.
>The undertow effect--what seems like forward momentum is really sand
>sliding back from under the feet of the narrator.
>So how about trying the "archaeological" technique, Bill, which I

>learned from Walter Pater and Jorge Luis Borges:
>What if /Justine/ had appeared with only the Duck Shoot and its
>paragraph or two of aftermath?
>What if we readers somehow lost all the rest and that was the extant
>shape of the shard--Parts 1 - 3 alone--no workpoints or data of any
>What would be the impression created for you, Bill, if it all ended with
>the sirens of doom whooping and wailing and the query about "enough time"?
>  From the opening of the book with its greasy reflection to the
>paragraph that greasily reflects that opening paragraph. . . . .  You
>can still see the vestiges of the old "Justine", the cicatrix of the old
>pattern still lingering there in the strata. . . .
>What then?
>I have addressed these questions to Bill because I can locate him.  But
>anyone else should feel free to try the query.
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>ILDS at lists.uvic.ca

W. L. Godshalk		*
Department of English         *
University of Cincinnati            Stellar disorder  *
Cincinnati OH 45221-0069      *

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