Blanche and Christable
Posted by Kate on October 29, 1997 at 22:13:17:
In response to Ms. White Gloves Herself, written by Karen R on October 29, 1997 at 15:53:50
] The white glove image, at least to me initially, was one of all things prim and proper--consistent with the Victorian period. Then you read the titles of the scholarly treatises at the Lincoln Libary, especially the one about Blanche, called "White Gloves: Blanche Glover: Occluded Lesbian Sexuality in LaMotte." Now, Byatt is making fun of the whole feminist take on LaMotte. I mean, a little later on Maud makes the comment "the dates fit. You could make up a whole story. On no real evidence." Ah, scholarship!! But then, I ran across this comment about Browning's poems on sexual love:
...he places his lovers in the reality of mid-Victorian fashion and decor. Intimacy and consummation of love are evoked by the glove, a fan, the curtains of a room, the cushions of an empty sofa bearing a faint perfume of the woman whose skirts have pressed casually against them.
] So, does that mean there really was a relationship between Christabel and Blanche? Could be, but that it was over in the same way that Roland/Val's was and had entered the stage of "silence."
Firstly, there's definitely Val/Blanche parallels.
And secondly, IMO there is definitely a sexual relationship between Blanche and Christabel. There are a number of clues apart from the settled acceptance of it by everyone, including Maud, who I think is a fairly reliable witness.
Maud thinks that references to gloves in Christabels poetry are related to Blanche. Have a look at the poem at the beginning of chapter 18... phew!
Then there is Ash's surprise on discovering that Christabel was a virgin,because she was so sexually sophisticated. He considers the "possibilities" and although Byatt doesn't articulate the thought, I think it's clear he's thinking about her and Blanche.
Blanche, in her diary, speaks of them being "quiet together, in our special ways".
And finally, I think that Blanche's overwrought reaction to C's "betrayal" has to result from more than just friendship.
I think there are other clues too, but this is a start.
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