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Tuesday, 16 December 2008

od 13



Chapter 13 – Sale


Here I learn about ‘vambraces’ and ‘synonyms’. Tuerqui writes about these but still evidently not a semi-colon girl:

A lash across my buttocks told me that our business in the tent was done, I hurried toward the exit – beyond Henrietta’s table – closely followed by Giggli.

Much talk of Tuerqui being sold as a slave (to Madame Scurf of the Laughin’ Phallus in Dorkin’ as it turns out), stitched by poignant memories of her daughter Tuerquelle and interaction with the revolving plot.

Snippets I particularly enjoyed (although I enjoy it all):

her name was Camellia[1][1] or something of the sort – sucking the blood from a young lady’s neck.  Thinking about it now, I realised with a touch of shock that it contained strong hints of Surrenity.

[1][1] The name should, presumably, be Carmilla – the eponymous lead character in a bogey tale surviving from the Old Time.

Above presumably a reference to Coleridge’s vampire poem.


For the first time in perhaps a dozen years, I felt the urge to pray.  Reaching under the groundsheet, I took a handful of sticky mud.  Carefully, I started to mould it into an image of the Great Mother. 


Each of us made her own prayer of dedication.  Then we fell silent, feeling that another was joining our huddle under the tarpaulin – a silence broken only by the renewed drumming of the rain.  We breathed deep, sucking divinity within ourselves.  Then, as though upon a signal, each of us murmured a simultaneous prayer.

“Oh Great Mother,” I prayed, “although I was a wicked and irreligious person – and a better but still irreligious slave – I know that you always listen to a mother’s prayer.  Please look after Tuerquelle, and be to her the mother I am not allowed to be.  Protect her and guide her.  If it may be, let us meet in the world to come.”





Unable follow this conversation very well


Queries (passages that didn’t seem quite right to me):

The goddess was not, of course, as well made as she in even the humblest shrine – but she was the best we could do.


but the bulk of their attention was directed toward we slaves.


Word docs of the actual chapters are freely available to readers of this blog.




The links to all Chapter comments by me are here: http://weirdmonger.blogspot.com/2008/06/odalisque.html


Submitted by Pet at 7/24/2008 1:59:26 PM

Typo corrected -- thanks!

No -- the reference to the Old Time bogey tale is not to a poem by Coleridge, but to Carmilla by J Sheridan Le Fanu. (A fine bogey tale, in my opinion.)

Of your queries, I don't see what is wrong with:"The goddess was not, of course, as well made as she in even the humblest shrine – but she was the best we could do.

"Perhaps you find jarring Tuerqui's reference to the image as "the goddess". This is a reflection of the strong association expressed repeatedly later in the book, between divinity and image. I suppose that, strictly speaking, images are the bodies of divinities. But we do not usually speak of people's bodies as being separate from people. Tuerqui, similarly, does not write of deities' bodies (= images) as being separate from the deities. A theologian might be more inclined to make the distinction -- but Tuerqui is no theologian.

If your query is other than this, perhaps you could elucidate.

The other query:"but the bulk of their attention was directed toward we slaves."is, I assume, a reprise of the "we slaves" debate.

Submitted by des at 7/24/2008 2:13:53 PM

Sorry, that was what I meant - Sheridan Le Fanu.And 'Christabel' by Coleridge: see above link if you click on 'des'.Agree with your 'reprise' point.

As to the other query, I was wondering whether it should be 'as well made as her' or 'as well made as the one'?

Submitted by des at 7/24/2008 2:25:08 PM

Further to the 'Christabel' point, there seems to be a very interesting article about it (by clicking on 'des' in this comment).

Submitted by Pet at 7/24/2008 2:44:49 PM

I read "Christabel" in the 1970s. Alison, my ex-, gave me a rather handsome copy of the poem (which I rather wish I still had -- I'm not sure what became of it). I hesitated to quote the title of the poem in my previous comment as I couldn't recall how "Christabel" was spelt.

My feeling in the 70s, and now, was and is that "Christabel" influenced Le Fanu. (And hence indirectly influenced the lesbian vampire film genre.)

I don't think that the name of Christabel has anything to do with the slave names in ending in -belle that are fairly common in "Odalisque". (But it's just occurred to me to make that link.)

I think that in saying "as well made as she" rather than "as well made as the one" Tuerqui is asserting a belief that the goddess is fully and truly present in the images in even the humblest shrines.

Submitted by Pet at 7/24/2008 2:53:36 PM

Thanks for the link to the article, Des. Curiously, the phrase "goes into his psychological makeup" has a link from the final word. Clicking on that link takes the reader into a page about make up in the sense of cosmetics.

I think that "Odalisque" deals in both psychological make up and cosmetic make up. The unexpected link seemed to hint at something oddly apt.


Posted by weirdtongue at 3:16 PM GMT

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