[ilds] the origins of Cunegonde

Marc Piel marcpiel at interdesign.fr
Mon Jan 31 15:20:57 PST 2011


Think about when LD wrote this. Does it make sense 
that he would be "childish, boyish, prurient, 
prankish, etc" at that time.
I know I wouldn't be!
B.R.
Marc

Le 31/01/11 22:47, Bruce Redwine a écrit :
> James,
>
> Humor is undoubtedly also one of those things that exist in the eye or
> mind of the beholder. And for me, anyway, Cunégonde would be funny
> without knowledge of Voltaire. Much like /tunc/ and the god/dog joke.
> Knowledge of French and its puns, however, is necessary. I can see your
> sense of humor is far more sophisticated than mine. My kind of "lame
> humor" I owe in part to spending four years in the army, where
> experience is often at its most crude. Some of Durrell's humor strikes
> me as being in his vein — childish, boyish, prurient, prankish, etc. So,
> "Zeus gets Hera on her back . . . " or "a bird in the bush is worth two
> in the hand." Little boys do have dirty minds, and it doesn't take much
> to amuse them. I don't think Durrell ever outgrew this. Nor have I.
>
>
> Bruce
>
>
>
> On Jan 31, 2011, at 1:17 PM, James Gifford wrote:
>
>> Bruce notes suggests, rightly, that Charles and I might take up the
>> plural interpretations of Durrell's word plays, but for the naughty
>> Cunegonde's three potential origins, he notes:
>>
>>> I would say that the only definition that
>>> really counts, as far as LGD is concerned,
>>> is the last one [the purely prurient]. So,
>>> I don't see much ambiguity here.
>>
>> Would Cunegonde be funny without the antithetical nature of her literary
>> predecessor in Voltaire's /Candide/? If one possessed such a doll,
>> naming it "Nancy" wouldn't seem terribly peculiar even though it's open
>> to the sexual innuendo of a "nancy boy" (or at least no more peculiar
>> than owning such a thing is already), but if "Reagan" were added as a
>> surname, it would take on a much broader humour. I'd say the same for
>> "Fanny" becoming "Fanny Burney" rather than "Fanny Hill." But just
>> plain old "Fanny" is clearly just plain old prurient, and it's a rather
>> lame joke if the literary predecessor isn't there -- Durrell did make
>> lame jokes, but most have that added dimension of ambiguity or plurality.
>>
>> I think Bruce's peculiar interest {winks heavily at audience} in this
>> rather silly joke in what was perhaps Durrell's most careless (and
>> final) book would be much more peculiar were it not for Voltaire's
>> penning of his own Cunegonde...
>>
>> Cheers,
>> James
>>
>>
>> On 31/01/11 10:44 AM, Bruce Redwine wrote:
>>> Charles,
>>>
>>> Glad to have your company once again, and thanks for the elaboration,
>>> esp. the Nabokov quotation. I think this discussion of alternative
>>> glosses leads to an important aspect of Durrell's method (if you can
>>> call it that) of writing. Namely, ambiguity, deliberate or not. You note
>>> the various readings/spellings of "draught," which is the English
>>> spelling, the American is "draft." In this instance, I don't think any
>>> ambiguity exists (unless you're obsessed by Kinbote's "texture").
>>> Durrell is making a cute comparison between drafty English architecture
>>> and the drafty English soul, if you will. But what about Cunégonde,
>>> recently discussed? What's the meaning or source of that personal name?
>>> We came up with three definitions/sources:
>>>
>>> 1. Voltaire's /Candide,/
>>> 2. Marc's etymology based on German /kühn/ and /Gund /(sic), and
>>> 3. Richard's "cunt on which the sexual business of the world hinged."
>>>
>>> Now, which of these meanings did Durrell intend? Or does he want, as
>>> Charles and James probably think, all three to be held simultaneously in
>>> the reader's mind? Does Durrell want "texture?" Quite possibly. But I
>>> think only nos. 1 and 3 applied at the time of composition. Durrell's
>>> source is most likely Voltaire, but what really appealed to him was the
>>> sexual innuendo seen in the French, which is what Richard and Marc point
>>> out and acknowledge. I would say that the only definition that really
>>> counts, as far as LGD is concerned, is the last one. So, I don't see
>>> much ambiguity here.
>>>
>>> On the other hand, ambiguity, if that's the right word, has its place.
>>> Something to do with what the reader makes of words and images. Charles
>>> lists Durrell's various usages of /draught,/ and taken together these
>>> contribute powerfully to the "world" of his fiction and poetry, an
>>> ambience that readers find so bewitching. I don't know how to integrate
>>> this into a theory of composition, but it is definitely something that
>>> has to be reckoned with.
>>>
>>>
>>> Bruce
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> On Jan 31, 2011, at 8:52 AM, Charles Sligh wrote:
>>>
>>>> On 1/31/11 11:13 AM, James Gifford wrote:
>>>>>
>>>>> It's a typical Durrell wordplay
>>>>> though, generating confusion whenever possible...
>>>>>
>>>> Thanks to our posters for these various glosses on "draught."
>>>>
>>>> What a translator makes of these words does matter, opening up or
>>>> shutting down meanings depending upon choices. Translation is one of
>>>> the highest interpretive arts, if not the highest. Good luck.
>>>>
>>>> Across the works, I find Durrell using "draught" to signify something
>>>> atmospheric (climacteric), or something imbibed, with a few odd
>>>> meanings here and there.
>>>>
>>>> He often seems to signify a breeze -- e.g., the numerous "cool
>>>> draughts" wafting throughout his descriptions of place, and the smell
>>>> of the sea, Arab bread, cognac, Chianti, the sound of music and
>>>> beautiful language, and the perfume of a lover's head from the pillow
>>>> can all be perceived by means of draught.
>>>>
>>>> But drinking scenes also take "draught," and both meanings occur in
>>>> /Justine/. Synesthesia.
>>>>
>>>> He does use the word at least once in the sense of "play draughts."
>>>> And the nautical usage appears in /Balthazar/, /Clea/, &c.
>>>>
>>>> The second occasion of "draught" in /The Dark Labyrinth/ is
>>>> climacteric. I do not know if that would shape your reading of this
>>>> initial incident.
>>>>
>>>> I will also gloss James' note on the OED & spellings ("draft" versus
>>>> "draught" or "drought") by noting that in notebooks and typescripts
>>>> Durrell was sometimes an indifferent speller.
>>>>
>>>> I think that, as with many writers, some of Durrell's most memorable
>>>> felicities spring from this trait, and it only was compounded by his
>>>> typists or typesetters who in turn made mortal slips.
>>>>
>>>> How the reader will react to these /felix culpas/ tells us more about
>>>> the reader than anything else -- revealing whether the reader is more
>>>> generally Darley or Pursewarden, more Dr. Charles Kinbote or John Shade.
>>>>
>>>> I also called on Coates.
>>>>
>>>> He was afraid he had mislaid his notes.
>>>>
>>>> He took his article from a steel file:
>>>>
>>>> 800 “It’s accurate. I have not changed her style.
>>>>
>>>> There’s one misprint—not that it matters much:
>>>>
>>>> /Mountain/, not /fountain/. The majestic touch.”
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> Life Everlasting—based on a misprint!
>>>>
>>>> I mused as I drove homeward: take the hint,
>>>>
>>>> And stop investigating my abyss?
>>>>
>>>> But all at once it dawned on me that this
>>>>
>>>> Was the real point, the contrapuntal theme;
>>>>
>>>> Just this: not text, but texture; not the dream
>>>>
>>>> But topsy-turvical coincidence,
>>>>
>>>> 810 Not flimsy nonsense, but a web of sense.
>>>>
>>>> Yes! It sufficed that I in life could find
>>>>
>>>> Some kind of link-and-bobolink, some kind
>>>>
>>>> Of correlated pattern in the game,
>>>>
>>>> Plexed artistry, and something of the same
>>>>
>>>> Pleasure in it as they who played it found.
>>>>
>>>> -- VN, /Pale Fire/ (1962)
>>>>
>>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> ILDS mailing list
>>> ILDS at lists.uvic.ca <mailto:ILDS at lists.uvic.ca>
>>> https://lists.uvic.ca/mailman/listinfo/ilds
>> _______________________________________________
>> ILDS mailing list
>> ILDS at lists.uvic.ca <mailto:ILDS at lists.uvic.ca>
>> https://lists.uvic.ca/mailman/listinfo/ilds
>
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> ILDS mailing list
> ILDS at lists.uvic.ca
> https://lists.uvic.ca/mailman/listinfo/ilds


More information about the ILDS mailing list