Thursday, June 03, 2010

Running The Triangle

There was a reference to a G. Burgess in the concluding barrage of Radon Daughters. It struck me last night that Guy Burgess was the likely reference. Damn. I never remember Burgess but always Blunt (thanks Banville) and Philby.

The terrain of Sinclair remains embodied by the English death, as Durrell was wont to term it. Amidst the decay and the allure of subterranean currents are the names of literary figures: they spill over from the page, a crowd of references, largely named!

The need to remember also materialized the other morning when I was royally reading Clive James on not Chesterton but Eugenio Montale: "The reason I keep on reading on reading Lucky Jim and the Great Gatsby is that otherwise I would be certain to forget them, and I know it's time to read Madam Bovary again when all i can remember is (a) Emma's lewd cab-ride in Rouen, (b)her being impressed by the physical glossiness of the landed gentry, and (c) her husband's lack of success with his operation on somebody's-whose-foot."

I tend to agree with James though it is likely my rereading of him which have shifted scenes (a) and (c) to the fore. My wife has read End of the Affair, To Kill a Mockingbird and The Heart is a Lonely Hunter in the last week. I have been unable to answer most of her queries.


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