[ilds] The Dark Labyrinth

Charles Sligh Charles-Sligh at utc.edu
Sat May 7 19:52:25 PDT 2011

On 5/6/11 7:54 AM, Meta Cerar wrote:

>     I wonder if the women in the DL, and especially Boecklin, are
>     really aspects of Nancy? Unfortunately I know very little about
>     her from what I've read in the biographies, so I cannot say, but
>     maybe one of you can contribute a more elaborate opinion here?

Hello, Meta.  I am attempting to do my part, enjoying dips into /The 
Dark Labyrinth/ between some heroic bouts of chainsawing.  (Our oaks are 
all down on the ground here in Tennessee, post-tornadoes.)

Your question about Nancy's possible presence in the pages of /The Dark 
Labyrinth/ seems best answered by the following moment, in which Baird's 
first encounter with his wife is recalled:

>         He met /Alice Lidell/ in the tea-room of the Tate Gallery and
>         fell in love with her at sight. She was tall and beautiful and
>         her fine blonde hair picked up the reflected light from the
>         long mirrors, twinkling as she combed it.  ("Portraits," /The
>         Dark Labyrinth/)

The connection of Alice's elemental blondness with the Slade School 
makes this more than suggestive, of course.

Why /Alice Lidell/?  I naturally think of Dean Liddell's daughter, 
Carroll's muse, little Alice Liddell.  As to what any of it means, I 
can't say.

I smiled just a bit when Hogerth began to lampoon Boyd's book -- which 
uses psychoanalysis to "trace" repressed truths from Poe's "Raven" and 
Dickens's novels.  Also curious was Alice's mistrust of "another attempt 
by these psychologists to put the artist in the strait jacket of a 
clinical definition."

I will keep reporting my finds.  I hope that others will share as they can.


Charles L. Sligh
Assistant Professor
Department of English
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
charles-sligh at utc.edu

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