[ilds] Benedicta et al

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Fri May 20 14:09:10 PDT 2016

Sam Kirshaw certainly has a (deliberately?) provocative take on Benedicta (whose name I initially took to mean “well spoken” or some such).  I would not go so far as to say she’s more real than Io or Justine or Melissa.  In fact, I don’t much care for her character.  Durrell, however, seems to have other ideas.  So, “this slender woman riding down upon us like some drunken queen of the Iceni” (p. 158; 3.2).  The Iceni were a Celtic tribe during the Roman Period.  Tacitus mentions them.  Their queen Boudica led a revolt against the Romans.  “Benedicta” plays on “Boudica?”  Possibly.  Hence, “The Revolt of Aphrodite?”  Dunno.  I just tend to see her as simply revolting, doubled-toed and all.  Still, I understand the attraction of “revoltingness.”


> On May 20, 2016, at 1:29 PM, Sam Kirshaw <samkirshaw at gmail.com> wrote:
> Thank you James
> Yes, I think most academics have missed a trick here. Benedicta is not considered and is not merely victim. She survives! And more than survives alongside the thinking weed. Could it be because most of the academics following the Lineaments trail are male? Perish the thought!
> Welcome to the discussion, Sam!
> On 2016-05-19 1:56 PM, Sam Kirshaw wrote:
>> Is this a trust or an enslavement?
> Either everything or nothing...  Charlock and Benedicta seem to have 
> sorted that out for themselves at the end, which seems to give a bit of 
> hope.  With the records / memory / determinism destroyed, who knows -- 
> alas, he doesn't tell us.
> I am not sure they have sorted it out but they will destroy the capitalist contractual bond and then see. Yes, there is hope
>> It is only disengagement that allows the anti-hero
>> to triumph and Durrell?s work is littered with them
>> both failing in general terms and succeeding but
>> occasionally.
> The hero would a rules-man indeed.  This is a fascinating take.  But 
> "disengagement" seems to call for a Buddhist or Taoist 
> conceptualization, perhaps?  As you say, "The hero would have to play by 
> the rules" and pace Che those rules are laid down by Firm or at least by 
> the system in which it has a deep interest.  Is Charlock's closing "very 
> much master of myself" (Nunquam 7.1.2, p. 283) then a radical break with 
> systems of rule or at least artificial rulers?  Hmm…
> Ah, yes, the Taoist take seems to be appropriate here. I’m leaning that way.
>> Take Benedicta as an example in her time. Her
>> devil?s teat and the attempted excision of same are
>> a telling element of this tendency.
> You know, I can't think of a decent academic study of Benedicta...  She 
> gets short shrift in much of this, but really, she's alive and active at 
> the end -- she's the one who recovers, unlike Iolanthe.  She might even 
> be mistress of herself too.
> Undoubtedly at the end Benedicta is mistress of herself and indeed as the sole survivor of the Merlin family the one who can choose to lose it all! Such bravado!!! But more than that. I think there is a consciousness even in her madness phases that belies traditional opinion of her. This is a woman who has led her “brother” to the sacrifice of his manhood, who has killed her husband, apparently on command, and has sold her body and almost her soul for the greater good of the firm. She is so much more a real woman than Io, Melissa or even Justine!
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