[ilds] Justine impression 5

Godshalk, William (godshawl) godshawl at ucmail.uc.edu
Sat Sep 18 12:20:48 PDT 2010


I find that I do have a fifth impression of Justine, which has NO dust jacket with a spinal hand. 

Justine impression six has a dust jacket with a spinal hand in light blue. 

It seems to have been meant to be part of this package of text and paratext. But dust jackets do travel from book to book, and issue to issue. 

One can never be too skeptical, I think).

Bill


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: Saturday, September 18, 2010 11:27 AM
To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca
Cc: Bruce Redwine
Subject: Re: [ilds] Buttons?

On the other hand, "the (w)hole truth," without the pun, is surely the objective of any biographer, and we who read biographies are all complicit "voyeurs," in some sense of the word.


BR



On Sep 18, 2010, at 12:27 AM, Richard Pine wrote:

As far as I understand it, because he gave the woman in question an undertaking not to reveal her identity. An honourable course of action, but no doubt frustrating for voyeurs anxious to know the (w)hole truth. Regrettable that Ian doesn't seem to be part of this group. RP

________________________________
From: Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net<mailto:bredwine1968 at earthlink.net>>
To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca<mailto:ilds at lists.uvic.ca>
Cc: Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net<mailto:bredwine1968 at earthlink.net>>
Sent: Fri, September 17, 2010 9:32:47 PM
Subject: [ilds] Buttons?

More doubt, more mystery.  Now, why would MacNiven do that?  Durrell's other romantic interests get identified, at least one adulterous — so, why not "Buttons?"  I'll speculate and assume she is real.

As gleaned from Durrell's letters, his sketch of Buttons is not flattering.  He seems to describe her as some prototype of Cunégonde, that "Latex doll of great beauty," who appears at the end of CVG (pp. 188ff).  Cunégonde is not unique in Durrell's fiction; she has an antecedent in Justine.  It's worthwhile to quote Da Capo on this matter, "All my ancestors went wrong here in the head.  My father also.  He was a great womanizer.  When he was very old he had a model of the perfect woman built in rubber — life-size.  She could be filled with hot water in the winter.  She was strikingly beautiful.  He called her Sabina after his mother, and took her everywhere" (p. 34).  Lots of echoes and reverberations here.  Sabina/Sabine.  Moreover, in an astonishing bit of life imitating art, Da Capo describes LD himself as an old man, a womanizer and fictional doll-maker.  In Justine, Clea says, "There are only three things to be done with a woman . . . You can love her, suffer for her, or turn her into literature" (p. 22).  Is Buttons, another doll-like companion, always on call for sexual services, is she being turned into "literature?"  My point — a woman may not want to be known, accurate or not, as merely a sexual plaything — and a dirty one at that.


BR




On Sep 17, 2010, at 12:14 AM, Richard Pine wrote:

'Buttons' is - or was - a real person - the only person whose identity MacNiven refuses to reveal, even to persistent enquirers. RP

________________________________
From: Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net<mailto:bredwine1968 at earthlink.net>>
To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca<mailto:ilds at lists.uvic.ca>
Cc: "gkoger at mindspring.com<mailto:gkoger at mindspring.com>" <gkoger at mindspring.com<mailto:gkoger at mindspring.com>>; Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net<mailto:bredwine1968 at earthlink.net>>
Sent: Fri, September 17, 2010 2:22:10 AM
Subject: Re: [ilds] Out of school

Bill,

I think we're in agreement here.  "Buttons" could be real, but she also seems to me fabricated, at least in part, starting with her moniker, which is the kind of nickname someone would give a cat or another pet, like the fictional Cunégonde in Caesar's Vast Ghost.  Then there's also her resemblance to characters in Durrell's fiction — Melissa in the Quartet and Sabine in Monsieur (p. 41), that grimy version of a gypsy, who also flits in and out of a story.  You could say he's basing these characters on real examples, but the recurrent pattern makes me suspicious.  Yes, Durrell was a fabulator, but quite possibly a far greater one than Robert Scholes imagines.  And by that I mean Durrell actually lived his fantasies.


Bruce



On Sep 16, 2010, at 1:51 PM, Godshalk, William (godshawl) wrote:

Yes! Room 13 in all good hotels, does not exist. Is Buttons also nonexistent? An aporia?


W. L. Godshalk *
Department of English    *           *
University of Cincinnati*   * Stellar Disorder  *
OH 45221-0069 *  *
________________________________________
From: ilds-bounces at lists.uvic.ca<mailto:ilds-bounces at lists.uvic.ca> [ilds-bounces at lists.uvic.ca] On Behalf Of gkoger at mindspring.com<mailto:gkoger at mindspring.com> [gkoger at mindspring.com]
Sent: Thursday, September 16, 2010 2:01 PM
To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca<mailto:ilds at lists.uvic.ca>
Subject: Re: [ilds] Out of school

That's very well put! And isn't there a novel here that one of us should write? Grove


-----Original Message-----
From: Bruce Redwine
Sent: Sep 16, 2010 11:34 AM
To: Charles-Sligh at utc.edu<mailto:Charles-Sligh at utc.edu>, ilds at lists.uvic.ca<mailto:ilds at lists.uvic.ca>
Cc: Bruce Redwine
Subject: [ilds] Out of school

Charles,

Thanks.  If by "out of school" you mean "divulge secrets," then let's divulge more.  Seems to me this is the whole purpose of literary and biographical analysis.  "Buttons" flits in and out of Durrell's last years like that other "waif of the . . . littoral" (Bal. 140), Melissa.  Buttons is even described as having a small, dark, emaciated resemblance to the Greek dancer.  Maybe she too is "phthisic."  Why Room 13?  Is there in fact or ever was a Room 13 in the Hôtel Royal, Montparnasse?  Some hotels don't even have a Room 13 because of superstitiousness.  Durrell liked numerology, like his other dabblings in the occult; he also fantasized a lot, possibly lied.  Eve said he was unreliable when it came to facts.  She described a fabulator:  an "entertainer" who drew people into "his world," who would also "make things up on the spur of the moment to suit the occasion, [though] he believed what he said" (Haag, City of Memory, p. 250).  I'm wondering if something like all that is going on here with Buttons and Room 13.  Durrell's last years — don't they read like one of his novels?


Bruce





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