Blog > Komentarze do wpisu
The Excess of L-Words [Dorothy Dunnett, "The Lymond Chronicles"]

I must admit that, unlike the vast majority of Dorothy Dunnett readers, I never really liked Philippa Somerville. Her motivations always seemed rather unbelievable to me (exactly why is she setting off east? To find a child she has never seen, of a man she thouroughly disliked, leaving her mother, for whom she was the only support?), her stiff moral backbone I found unbearable and her obstinacy was nothing short of irritating. Compared to brilliant and solitary Marthe or to Kate, practical and level-headed, she seemed bleak and unable to capture my imagination.

Thanks to the (doubtful) courtesy of more than one reviewer, I was informed in advance (actually, as early as halfway through The Game of Kings) that it was Philippa that would finally capture Lymond's elusive heart. And right up until Chapter 9 of The Ringed Castle I did not understand why.

The scene at Blackfriars made it believable for me, finally, what is it in Philippa that would make her attractive for Francis. And the answer is, I believe, comprised in these few words that she says to him: I have never, in my whole life, seen you laugh before (p. 439). And that's it, I think: it is wonderfully visible throughout this scene that Philippa is able to make him feel relaxed, to make him feel free and careless and to laugh and play. Not ot mention one more important fact: she is never treated as intellectually inferior, as sillier just because she is a woman; in this scene, she arises as Lymond's equal in both wit and art. The whole scene is brilliantly composed, with the prolepsis at the beginning, pointing out at the importance of the moment and arising the reader's curiosity (It was a short journey and more fateful than any one of them ever knew, p. 429), the subtle suggestion of Lymond's change of heart concerning his nominal wife (And deep within him, missing his accustomed tread, his heart paused and gave one single stroke, as if on an anvil. (...). The air hurt his skin. His nerves, unsheathed, left him oversentitized and defenceless, as sometimes happed; exposed raw to the touch of the his clothes as if his flesh has been stripped off with acid, p. 440-1) and the last sentence, of Lymond remembering the night he spent with a prostitute after his fatal confrontation with Kate and his own reaction and realizing what was happening to him: Too late, too late, too late. It had happened (p. 442).

The core of that scene is a crazy, improvised comedy, played out by Lymond, Philippa, D'Harcourt and young Nicholas Chancellor. The script is full of words starting with L; but the one, most important, the word that describes Lymond's newly found feelings – this L word is never spoken.

piątek, 28 grudnia 2007, ninedin

Polecane wpisy

  • Zdjęcie w prezencie

    Dla autorki Zacisza Literackiego : Byłam sobie ostatnio w Salzburgu - i w pewnym momencie, spacerując ulicami starówki, zobaczyłam to i od razu sobie pomyślała

  • Selene

      Selene Alas! for this gray shadow, once a man-- So glorious in his beauty and thy choice, Who madest him thy chosen, that he seem'd To his grea

  • Selene - zakończenie

      Tata się zgodził, bo ona się zgodziła; miała szesnaście lat, on dwadzieścia cztery i mieli brać ślub przez wakacje.   Wtedy wróciła Alma. Zaczęł