[ilds] Ankles

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Wed May 5 15:36:49 PDT 2010


Charles and James,

Thanks for the refresher course on ankles:  the foot fetish through Western lit.  Charles's references to Homer jarred my memory and recalled Sappho:  "women and maidens with tapering ankles" (no. 44 and elsewhere).  Unlike Homer, Sappho, Wyatt, Joyce, et al., Durrell's fetish is not erotic, as James points out.  I haven't checked all the references in Durrell's oeuvre, but it appears the pattern is morbid, contrary to what you'd expect.


Bruce



On May 5, 2010, at 3:10 PM, Charles Sligh wrote:

> Charles Sligh wrote:
>> You really cannot improve on Homer's epithets.
>> 
> But you can borrow them:
> 
>>        She did it up all by herself and what joy was hers when she
>>        tried it on then, smiling at the lovely reflection which the
>>        mirror gave back to her! And when she put it on the waterjug
>>        to keep the shape she knew that that would take the shine out
>>        of some people she knew. Her shoes were the newest thing in
>>        footwear (Edy Boardman prided herself that she was very PETITE
>>        but she never had a foot like Gerty MacDowell, a five, and
>>        never would ash, oak or elm) with patent toecaps and just one
>>        smart buckle over her higharched instep. Her wellturned ankle
>>        displayed its perfect proportions beneath her skirt and just
>>        the proper amount and no more of her shapely limbs encased in
>>        finespun hose with highspliced heels and wide garter tops. As
>>        for undies they were Gerty's chief care and who that knows the
>>        fluttering hopes and fears of sweet seventeen (though Gerty
>>        would never see seventeen again) can find it in his heart to
>>        blame her? She had four dinky sets with awfully pretty
>>        stitchery, three garments and nighties extra, and each set
>>        slotted with different coloured ribbons, rosepink, pale blue,
>>        mauve and peagreen, and she aired them herself and blued them
>>        when they came home from the wash and ironed them and she had
>>        a brickbat to keep the iron on because she wouldn't trust
>>        those washerwomen as far as she'd see them scorching the
>>        things. She was wearing the blue for luck, hoping against
>>        hope, her own colour and lucky too for a bride to have a bit
>>        of blue somewhere on her because the green she wore that day
>>        week brought grief because his father brought him in to study
>>        for the intermediate exhibition and because she thought
>>        perhaps he might be out because when she was dressing that
>>        morning she nearly slipped up the old pair on her inside out
>>        and that was for luck and lovers' meeting if you put those
>>        things on inside out or if they got untied that he was
>>        thinking about you so long as it wasn't of a Friday.
> 
> 
> -- 
> ********************************************
> Charles L. Sligh
> Assistant Professor
> Department of English
> University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
> charles-sligh at utc.edu
> ********************************************
> 
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