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pugetopolis
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« Reply #645 on: September 19, 2007, 09:04:00 PM »



Shreve McCannon
(1890-1943)


“Listening, they
were allowed to see.”
     —Bernhard Radloff 
       


a séance, my dear, is the preferred way.

words flowing—from the loins of young african kings.

young nubian princes—rude sunsets by the nile.

octoroon studs—strutting down canal street.

sexy view carrè voices—teenage mulatto boyfriends.

eulalia bon—young daughter of a haitian sugar cane planter.

dark and beautiful—a voodoo goddess of love.

a séance is the preferred way—to channel these spirits.

spirits of the past—the tortured souls of the south.

matching the incidental details—all the unexplainable ones.

our frigid dorm room at harvard—two young men together.

the ideal modernist moment—immersing ourselves in it.

impulsive desires of youth—naïve freshman impulses.

seamless whole—a literary creation—a southern decadent one.

sodom by the gulf—queer rotting ancient seaport of desire.

guided by trance and luck—we descend into hell.

“who is henry sutpen—who is charles bon?”

both quentin and me—asking the question.

we are thinking as one—as lovers do.

speaking the unthinkable—knowing it by saying it.

southern past & present—fused together as one.

parody overcoming paradox—our queer confederacy.

neither one of us is here—we’re in new orleans.

the time is forty-six years ago—quentin is henry.

i’m charles bon—we’re looking at each other—we know.

we know what lovers know—we can smell it.

the rotting city—the smell of cosmopolitan decay.

we can smell the sugar cane—the cigar smoke.

we can smell the sweat of slaves on the docks.

bon takes me there to show me what real african men smell like.

at the black cat there’s a special room upstairs for gentlemen.

men who like poker, the best whiskey and good cigars.

men who like to gamble—for sleek black horses and men.

rufus de vane king sat next to me—the queer vice president.

they always let him win—he pays well for the young studs.

clean-cut, well-mannered, manicured—such a dinge queen.

he owns all of biloxi—he’ll die in cuba smoking a cigar.

buchanan’s lover—foreign minister to england.

the great state of alabama’s most knowing gay son.

i blush—they strut the young black studs by the tables.

i can smell them—their groins and dark damp armpits.

it’s intoxicating—it makes me want to taste all of it.

a look of sheer hatred in their eyes—that’s why they’re chained..

their skin shines like ebony in the moonlight—their huge lips.

how i want to kiss them—when young africa comes close.

a royal flush—rufus wins—the young men are sold.

the old de vane plantation will be their new home.

bon laughs at me—the shock on my country-boy face.

my young mississippi manhood—getting educated quick.

to the sophisticated ways of cosmopolitan faggots…

the smooth suave way it’s done—getting what you want.

the cruel caviler nonchalance—owning young men.

buying it—selling it—doing what you want with it….

suddenly slavery and southern decadence were one.

bon lounging around—waiting for me to wake up.

the new orleans night so humid—mardi gras is coming.

our minds aren’t creating this—the vision is creating it.

we become the lovers—the lovers become us.

listening to them—we are allowed to see.

seeing them—we are permitted to know.

shreve is canadian—calmer than quentin.

quentin is still distraught—the trauma of the docks.

the young kid at the black cat—how i wanted him so.

almost as much as i want bon—every inch of him.

our honeymoon in new orleans doesn’t last long.

the war between the states—sutpen’s downfall.

caught up by the curse—mulatto love.

henry sutpen—naïve adam in the garden of evil.

tempted to taste the dark forbidden fruit.

charles bon—dynastic root of the family tree.

exiled from the garden—obsessed now with return.

“maybe nothing ever happens—just once.”

“maybe it’s always happening—over & over again?”

“fractured moments in time—streams of flashbacks?”

“constantly overlapping—sutpen’s plantation in ruins?”

“bon’s story—inside me each time i shiver?”

“gone like the old south—all those lost dynasties?”

henry reaches over—touches quentin gently.

“your curse will always be—like the original one.”

“that’s why we have to do this—going back in time.”

the garden of evil opening up—two brothers being born.

one stained with the mark of cain—the other black & beautiful.

both ineradicably joined together—by the sutpen curse.

interracial fratricide—and other anguishing gay tragedies.

“but there’s more than that—there always is.”

i push henry even further—deeper into dinge romance.

the sutpen curse—forcing him to tell me more.

“it’s more than just murder and interracial fratricide isn’t it?”

“it’s more than just incest too—tell me henry…”

handsome charles bon—leaning nude on the balcony.

his puce silk robe—slipping down around his feet.

his fancy french quarter apartment at night.

smoking a sleek cuban cigar—enjoying himself.

leaning against the railing—legs spread apart.

i’m on my knees—groveling for it.

my mulatto half-brother’s gorgeous family jewels.

the dynasty of death—the death of a dynasty.

“shameless, shocking!” cries rosa coldfield.

“oh my god! too horrible to contemplate!”

“the sutpen dynasty in ruins—dragging us all down into hell!”

i’m young henry compson—faggot heir apparent.

the one bred to succeed—the one bred to fail.

falling to his knees—before charles bon the beautiful.

proud, huge—veiny and thick—like the mississippi.

his dark kinky pubes—fanning out over the delta.

ancient mulatto city—sodom seaport of the black gods.

up against his flat stomach—dark snakes of the evil garden.

from his loins—charles etienne de saint valery bon is born.

out of him—joe bond, joe christmas, milton moore…

his young negro manhood—bred by a proud planter.

bred to be master of a southern plantation.

the true dynastic dream—the future sutpen universe.

the love between two brothers—both obsessed with it…

his lust for the family root—the family tree—the family dynasty.

my lust for him—his black male beauty—his big lips.

the garden of evil always breeding—forbidden & seminal love.

especially in new orleans—down by the mississippi.

i can smell the sickening sweet smell of wisteria and honeysuckle.

coming in through the sultry window as we sleep tonight.

i can feel the spanish moss—swaying beneath old voodoo moon.

opulent oozing magnolia trees—bending down out of time.

and the young man in bed with me—he’s all i want—all i need.

how long will this love last—how long will he be mine?

staining my lips—forever and a day?

c’mon let’s go to bed now—shreve says…
« Last Edit: September 19, 2007, 10:17:35 PM by pugetopolis » Logged

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« Reply #646 on: September 19, 2007, 09:10:45 PM »

"The premise of the book is that Quentin is explaining the South to Shreve, who is always bothering him to tell him about the South.  And so....why does Quentin choose this particular story?"

I dont accept that premise at all and Quentin doesnt choose:
"She wants it told" (probably page 1 or 2).   
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« Reply #647 on: September 20, 2007, 12:16:23 AM »


I dont accept that premise at all and Quentin doesnt choose:


My dear John, you keep posting these one-liner pronunciamentos
about not accepting this premise and that premise...but you never
seem to explain, explicate or elaborate on anything.

On the other hand, you'll probably come back and say I elaborate
and meander too much in my naive Southern way about Faulkner
and this book we're discussing. Which is okay if all you want to
do is argue about this and that...

In my opinion, Absalom, Absalom is a very complex novel...
and there are no heavy-handed rules, premises or black & white
steadfast propositions to guide the reader into this labyrinthine
work other than as you said...growing up and living in the South
trumps most premises you keep coming up with.

Perhaps if you'd elaborate a little more on your various objections
like about just what Quentin and Shreve are doing there
in that Harvard dormitory room, then maybe you can convince me
and the others about what you're talking about.

Have you ever visited or lived in the South? Are you acquainted
with what Faulkner says about the Southern storytelling tradition?
His introduction to TSATF in the Nortion edition makes it very clear
how important storytelling is and always has been to Southern
culture. Yet you seem to know all the rules about storytelling...

I don't understand how you can come out with these rules about
Faulkner's storytelling in Absalom, Absalom or how you seem to
know what Shreve and Quentin are talking about? Or why they're
talking or who they're talking about.

Premises? Rules? If Faulkner listened to you...he'd never get a book
written at all!!!

Just because somebody says something in a novel doesn't mean
it's true or it's something steadfast out of a physics textbook or
something that can be only one way or another.

Is that how you think Fiction works?

How do you think Fiction works?

For example, what do you think Shreve and Quentin are doing?

Just whistling Dixie?  Smiley
« Last Edit: September 20, 2007, 12:21:13 AM by pugetopolis » Logged

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« Reply #648 on: September 20, 2007, 01:55:30 AM »



Premises, premises I'm all through
with premises premises now...



Maybe all through with Absalom, Absalom, too.  Tapped out. 


(Pugetopolis:  Your poem beginning "a seance my dear..." is beautiful.  Thank you for posting it.)
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pugetopolis
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« Reply #649 on: September 20, 2007, 03:14:22 AM »

Hoffman,

My own approach to Absalom may not be the
right approach to discussing it. Other books
like Beowulf and The Waning of the Middle
Ages
weren't so ambiguous and labyrinthine as
Faulkner...

Using fabulation, satire and poetry to explore the
interstices within Faulkner like I do is sort of a
one way ticket...it's something readers can do
individually but most people don't have the time
to set down and imitate or use their imagination
to explore the nuance of a text like Absalom.

For example, my own homoerotic hermeneutics
of the Quentin/Caddy/Ames menage-a-trois or
the storytelling paradigm used by Faulkner to
retell the Sutpen scenes from Sound and Fury,
well, not everybody sees that as kosher book
discussion protocol.

Like the seance piece. What can anybody really
say when something like that's posted? Or what
can anybody say when I use my Louisiana
experiences to illustrate the novel?

It's not just a matter of sophisitcation...but
who wants to wade thru all that Southern
fabulation of mine when it's hard enough
just reading the book itself.

It's just the way I approach Fiction that's
all; to me writing rather than just reportage
is a kind of love-affair with literature...and
from that love flows other literature.

It's just a phase I go thru like writing about
Eraserhead; these forums are good for
developing a conversational style to writing
that goes beyond simple one-line prose
which is discursively politically correct for
some people I suppose, but in terms of
developing writing or reading skills, well,
I find that approach somewhat lacking if
you know what I mean.

I'm very pleased with our Fiction book
discussion this time; I hope what I've
shared with the group has been somewhat
interesting about the South and how I
view Faulkner's writing strategies...

Thank you.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2007, 03:12:19 PM by pugetopolis » Logged

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« Reply #650 on: September 20, 2007, 11:14:11 AM »

Dearest puge:

So many questions, so little time, but I'll try to answer a few.

   "but you never seem to explain, explicate or elaborate on        anything."

It was a simple question, I thought a simple declarative sentence enough to answer it; I still do.  There's a lot to be said for making points quickly and clearly in this format but I'm not the one to say it.

   "you'll probably come back and say I elaborate
   and meander too much"

I lack couth in many ways but I would never be as pretentious as that.

   "other than as you said...growing up and living in the        South"

Not quite; what I said was "The stereotype notion is important--Faulkner and others build reader's and mine, the earth has built pontalba's."

   "Perhaps if you'd elaborate a little more on your various     objections... then maybe you can convince me..."

I have no objections and I am not here to convince anyone.  I come here to enjoy, not contend.

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« Reply #651 on: September 20, 2007, 04:31:24 PM »

stereotypes and charicature:

I dont think we're on the same page here and maybe stereotype isn't the proper word but it's the one I use.

The brain sees what it wants to see--images, events, whatever you might call them are stored and recalled automatically without reflection.  The unconscious concepts thus formed are stereotypes and we use them, for example, in flight or fight situations. It's impossible to control these concepts, we can only add to the stored images and events.  We live and make most day to day decisions entirely with stereotypical information--pure fiction.  This is the area of Goethe's "becoming". 

In context, we have pontalba's: "I grew up with these people"
agreeing that Faulkner paints true characters based on her earthy stereotype and reader "these characters do not think or speak like people, none I know", saying his stereotype of people does not agree.  Faulkner's job is to build a believeable stereotype for his readers, with his characters words and actions that will compete (and agree with) pontalba's earthy one and allow the reader to operate in that magic Goethean area.


As an aside:


Former forumite ND philosopher Gene Halton following Peirce says that the stereotype IS reality: 

"John60, the true is the representation of the real, and the real is that which is represented in the final opinion of the unlimited community of inquirers, the opinion fated to never be overturned by further inquiry, the true opinion which is indeed true belief."


I hope this post satisfies for length, the blue pills do help.
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pugetopolis
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« Reply #652 on: September 20, 2007, 06:31:28 PM »



The Séance

Well, Reader—so many questions…

You remind me of Shreve—my Harvard roommate…

He was that way too—dontchaknow…

Use your imagination—it’s the only way to go…

A séance that is, my dear, dialoging with the dead…

The Night of the Living Dead—that’s the South…

Use your imagination—let’s do a séance…

Séances aren’t easy—even at Harvard…

Especially literary séances—with guys like me...

Southern writers…especially Southern decadent ones…

They’re hard to understand—difficult to fathom…

Like Faulkner—one must use one’s imagination…

To commune with the dead…

Isn’t that what Quentin and Shreve are doing?

Communing with the dead?

The Sutpen dead…the Compson dead?

The dead are never dead…they’re here now…

Use your imagination—isn’t that how a séance works?

A literary séance, that is—down into the labyrinth?

The labyrinth of Deep South decadence?

Are you ready for it—are you ready to know, baby?

It gets pretty risque—dontchaknow?

You Canadians from up North…

You're pretty naive when it comes to decadent love...

Use your imagination…

Pretend you’re Temple Drake in the hayloft…

And I’m Popeye—with a corncob, baby.

Pretend you’re Temple Drake there in Memphis…

There in Miss Reba’s big skanky whorehouse…

With handsome Alabama Red and cross-eyed Popeye…

Use your imagination—then use it some more…

Ever read Sanctuary—well, have you?

It's a book where even Angels fear to tread...

“C’mon, now—let’s go to bed,” Shreve says…

Use your imagination…

Love is a labyrinth…there’s no escape…

Every family is a dysfunctional labyrinthine grave.

Full of skanky skeletons in the closet...

The labyrinth of the Faulkner family?

The labyrinth of the Sutpen dynasty…

The labyrinth of the Compson clan…

It’s all there—told again and again…

How many ways to look at a blackbird?

How many ways to love your mulatto brother?

How many ways to love your mulatto mistress?

How many ways to enslave a whole race?

Just ask the Old Colonel…

Just ask William Clark Falkner…

Just ask Fannie Forrest Falkner…

Just ask Lena Falkner…

Just ask the Old Colonel’s great-grandson…

Just ask Billy Faulkner…

Why did he change his name?

From Falkner to Faulkner?

Was he ashamed of his past?

Was he full of disgust and self-loathing?

Use your imagination…

It’s a Pandora’s Box…dontchaknow…

Faulkner’s family—full of skeletons in the closet…

Every family's got skeletons in the closet…

Portraits in the attic...

Adulterous love affairs…

Things that go bump in the night...

Some got it worse than others...

Faulkner gets into it...

His oeuvre a vast cesspool of desire and decadence...

Incestuous hot mulatto love and romance…

Henry Sutpen and handsome Charles Bon...

Making love down there in Ole Miss...

Quentin Compson and Shreve McCannon...

In bed there in that cold Harvard dormatory room...

Use your imagination…

Use your imagination...that's what it's for...

Old Carother’s incest with his slave daughter…

Did you know he had a love-child son too?

Charles Etienne St. Valerie Bon…

The Colonel was in love with him too...

Use your imagination…

“No, surely not that,” Shreve says…

Use your imagination…

“His own daughter his own daughter…"

"No!!! No!!! Not even him!!!” says Ike McCaslin…

Use your imagination…

“I’m the black stud…I'm the one..."

"That’s going to sleep with your sister,” Bon says…

“Not that!!!” says Henry Sutpen…

“Please not Judith!!! Take me instead…”

Use your imagination…

“Did you love them Caddy—did you love them?”

“Did you love Dalton Ames—did you Quentin?”

Oh Lordy, Lordy—down into the Labyrinth we go…

That decadent Southern imagination..

Talk about apocryphal Pulp Fiction, baby…

Talk about philoprogentitive magic realism, my dear...

Miss Borges would blush—use your imagination.

There’s nothing more decadent—and sleazy…

More down-to-earth and full of Baby Doll love...

Than the Southern imagination…

I should know—just look at me…

Use your imagination...

Shreve, you're such a naïve Canadian boy…

You don't know what you're getting into…

Climbing into bed with Quentin that little whore…

Ever been to Mardi Gras—ever been down South?

Ever been to New Orleans—ever been to Carnivàle?

Ever been in the French Quarter—there in the Big Easy?

Ancient Sodom and Miss G seaport...down by the Gulf.

You can smell the city rotting from miles away...

Down there where they got cockroaches big as alligators...

And dead bodies in the hurricane attics stinkin' bad...

Where the Swamp Women...love cute guys like you...

Ever been in bed with a cute young black Cajun girl?

Ever made love to a dark handsome moody Creole boy?

I have...it's lucky I got outta there alive, man...

Use your imagination, baby—use it now…

You don’t need Ishmael Reed's hoodoo-voodoo…

You don’t need Tennessee William's skanky ouija board…

You don't need Harper Lee's dead mockingbird...

You don't need Truman Capote's killer boyfriend...

You don't need Katherine Dunn's Geek Love...

You don't need Van Vechten's Harlem Renaissance...

You don't need Miss Borges' Library of Babel...

You don't need Andrei Codrescu's naked muse...

You don't need Toni Morrison's playin' in the dark...

You don't need Bruce Nugent's "Smoke, Lilies and Jade"...

You don't need David Lynch's Eraserhead...

All you need is your imagination…

And a beat-up dog-eared paperback novel…

Absalom, Absalom




« Last Edit: September 20, 2007, 07:19:23 PM by pugetopolis » Logged

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« Reply #653 on: September 20, 2007, 06:44:42 PM »

Reader....In The Sound and the Fury, Quentin is obsessed with his sister Caddie.  In the end, he commits suicide.  Interesting you should ask "when" in relation to Quentin's suicide.  Where Absalom, Absalom, is about memory, TSATF is about time.   Well worth reading. 
« Last Edit: September 20, 2007, 07:22:39 PM by Lhoffman » Logged
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« Reply #654 on: September 20, 2007, 06:49:48 PM »

Quote
My own approach to Absalom may not be the
right approach to discussing it. Other books
like Beowulf and The Waning of the Middle
Ages weren't so ambiguous and labyrinthine as
Faulkner...

Works for me.

Quote
Using fabulation, satire and poetry to explore the
interstices within Faulkner like I do is sort of a
one way ticket...it's something readers can do
individually but most people don't have the time
to set down and imitate or use their imagination
to explore the nuance of a text like Absalom.

I think you are being overly modest here....I really don't think it's a matter having enough time.  For some of us, all the time in the world wouldn't be enough.
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« Reply #655 on: September 20, 2007, 06:56:31 PM »

Oh...when and where....AA takes place about three months before Quentins suicide.  He kills himself by jumping off a bridge into a river near Harvard.

The perplexing thing about Quentin from TSATF into AA, is that in his conversation with Shreve, we get no hint of the force that drives him to his suicide, his obsession with his sister and with time.
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« Reply #656 on: September 20, 2007, 07:29:07 PM »

Did Quentin kill himself in September? 
If so, it could have something to do
with the Red Sox.

Well, that may get some jocks in here...

That's okay with me, baby!!!

They sure enough have lots of energy
in those sports forums dontchaknow...

I could use a little of that about now...
Use your imagination...




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« Reply #657 on: September 20, 2007, 08:28:19 PM »


The perplexing thing about Quentin from TSATF into AA,
is that in his conversation with Shreve, we get no hint
of the force that drives him to his suicide, his obsession
with his sister and with time.


Well, I dunno.

Like I've been saying...use your imagination.

Your gay imagination...that is...

Which is kinda hard for straights to do...
but if I can think like straights than surely
straights can think like me...kinda...

I don't think Quentin really was that
concerned with Caddy's maidenhead...
and virginity. Caddy wasn't...doing what
she did so well with Dalton Ames.

Call it jealousy...call it sibling rivalry...
I think Quentin wanted it too...Dalton
Ames in his arms. I can't really blame
him either...Dalton's a real stud. He's
got Quentin's number pretty well...so
does a lot of people. Caddy's first
husband...the guys at Harvard.

Most gay guys would help their sisters...
lose their virginity and have a good time.
After all, there's always the possibilty
of sloppy seconds dontchaknow. At least
that's the way it was with my sister...

Quentin has the hots for Dalton Ames...
that's the real story. He keeps asking
Caddy about it...her lovers and all that.

He's worse than Shreve in Harvard...
what's it like? Did you love Dalton Ames?
There on the bridge...why'd ya faint in
his arms that way?

Use your imagination. Reread Absalom.
Reread TSATF. What's Quentin bothered
by so much of the time? Time? History?
Caddy's virginity? Not.

Quentin's worried about one thing...and
one thing only. Himself. Himself and his
unrequited love for the men in his life.
That's why he faints in Dalton's arms
there on that bridge. That's why his
Harvard classmates bully and pick on
him.

That's why they say guys like him
jump off bridges...or jump in front of
trains like Paul in Willa Cather's short
story "Paul's Case."

Suicide be soup du jour for queers,
dontchaknow...that's what they say...

But it's a little more complicated than
that...you don't have to go down to Ole
Miss for the Yoknapatawpha Conference
to find out that homosexuality and race
run thick and slow like the Mississippi
thru Faulkner's novels...

Nor do you have to be a MLA hotshot
or a postmodern queen bee to know
that Faulkner was one of the most
subversive writers we've ever had.
Many of his friends in New Orleans,
New York and Mississippi were gay
men who helped him become the
writer he was... Go figure on that
one a little bit and then I'll tell
you who they were...many of them
great writers themselves...

Faulkner was ahead of his time not
only dealing with race issues back
then from the '20s and '30s on...
but he wrote about identity crisis,
closet cases and the homoerotic
South long before Miss Capote and
Queen Bee Tennesse Williams got
around to writing about the love
that dare not speak its name...

Before gay lib and Stonewall, what
could a gay kid like Quentin Compson
do with his same-sex urges and need
for male love? It fucks a guy up...

Look at what Henry Sutpen goes thru
with his mulatto half-brother Charles
Bon. Not only incest...but incestuous
miscegenation as well. A double-header
dontchaknow...two taboos in one. Talk
about mind-fuck, sweetheart.

Use your gay imagination...think about
it... I know I do and I've reread Absalom
and TSATF along those lines many times.
Not just as hidden subtext...but as the
Text itself clear as day...

You see, I'm writing this gay Cliff's Notes
on Absalom, Absalom...but it's different
than the other black and yellow version
high school and college students use
today. I don't do Faulkner chapter by
chapter...I do him blow by blow, baby.

I gots da disease...I blame the lovely
Meandering Forum for it. I've learned to
meander as you will...I've learned to
meander as you won't. I'm in no hurry...
and neither is Faulkner.

Labyrinths can be luxurious...mazes
can be amazingly louche and lazy. You
see I've been Quentin for a long time...
and I know how Quentin thinks and acts
and feels and loves. I've been there and
done that dontchaknow.

That's why Faulkner rules...his novels
are existentially real for me. As real as
pecan pie and pretty bayou boys. As real
as pralines and the Bordreaux boys...

Down there in the swamps at night.
Smoking, drinking, playing poker...
Diving off the dock naked. Scared
to death of their big black water
mocassins...kinda...


« Last Edit: September 20, 2007, 08:39:13 PM by pugetopolis » Logged

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« Reply #658 on: September 21, 2007, 01:55:53 AM »

Doesn't take too much imagination.  There is the idea that Henry would like to change places with Judith, become the bride himself, and this is mirrored in the scene on the bridge in TSATF where Quentin confronts Dalton.

Chapter Eight:  Henry takes stock of the situation. "All right.  I am trying to make myself into what I think he wants me to be; he can do anything he wants to with me; he has only to tell me what to do and I will do it; even though what he asked me to to do looked to me like dishonor, I would still do it."  Goes on to compare his feelings on the matter to Judith's, contemplates whether Bon did her the dishonour of kissing her...Then, as the chapter goes on Quentin/Shreve are tied to Henry/Bon: "Shreve ceased.  That is, for all the two of them, Shreve and Quentin, knew, he had stopped, since for all the two of them knew he had never begun, since it did not matter (and possibly neither of them conscious of the distinction_ which one had been doing the talking.  So that now it was not two but four of them riding the two horses throught the dark....four of them and then just two---Charles-Shreve and Quentin-Henry..." and "........both of them were Henry Sutpen and both of them were Bon...."
 
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« Reply #659 on: September 21, 2007, 02:04:37 AM »


"So that now it was not two but four of them riding
the two horses throught the dark....four of them and
then just two---Charles-Shreve and Quentin-Henry..."

 

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