[ilds] Ankles

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Wed May 5 19:06:56 PDT 2010


So much for the morbidity theory of the Durrellian foot fetish . . . but, as Roman Jakobson might have said, let's not allow a few exceptions deter us from making our generalizations about Durrell and his obsessions, which, when compared to say, James Joyce's, are very nice and proper.  Read Jamsey's letters to Nora and be prepare to be shocked right out of your ankle-high socks.


On May 5, 2010, at 4:23 PM, Godshalk, William (godshawl) wrote:

> Justine -- 
> Page 27 …lit a cigarette; and sitting up in bed clasped her slim ankles…
> Page 46 …the background to such conversation as we had. We walked ankle de…
> Page 184 …into the shelter of the lamplit houses, dresses held ankle-hi…
> Page 228 ... ankle. "All! let us not speak of her any more," she said at last in …
> W. L. Godshalk *
> Department of English    *           *
> University of Cincinnati*   * Stellar Disorder  *
> OH 45221-0069 *  *
> ________________________________________
> From: ilds-bounces at lists.uvic.ca [ilds-bounces at lists.uvic.ca] On Behalf Of Bruce Redwine [bredwine1968 at earthlink.net]
> Sent: Wednesday, May 05, 2010 6:36 PM
> To: Charles-Sligh at utc.edu; ilds at lists.uvic.ca
> Cc: Bruce Redwine; gifford at fdu.edu
> Subject: Re: [ilds] Ankles
> 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
>> ********************************************

More information about the ILDS mailing list