Convenient and Comfortable
Posted by Karen R on October 30, 1997 at 16:05:38:
In response to Blanche and Christable, written by Kate on October 29, 1997 at 22:13:17
Yes, all those hints are there and that is precisely what the feminists saw and built up to be the myth of CLM. Christabel is supposed to be a combination of Christina Rossetti and Emily Dickinson--both of whom were spinsters. Wasn't ED referred to as the "nun of Amherst"? Were there lesbian relationships or merely deep love and adoration for other women in their past, I don't know. However, I think Blanche is more symbolic of what we are supposed to believe about certain Victorian spinsters and the lives they led. They could do without men. Did that mean that they had sexual relations? Given the fact that many Victorian wives weren't interested in physical relations with their husbands, I tend to doubt that they would seek relations even with another woman.
] 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.
On that one, I believe earlier Randolph comments about her being half French, and everyone knows the French were looser than their Victorian counterparts!!! They were not hung up on all of this. Women wore men's clothes in Paree!!
] Blanche, in her diary, speaks of them being "quiet together, in our special ways".
You see, to me, "quiet" denotes no sexual relations. Conversation, on the other hand, is where the action is.
] And finally, I think that Blanche's overwrought reaction to C's "betrayal" has to result from more than just friendship.
Yes, more than just friendship, how about basic daily essentials, food, roof over her head, and the next level up, companionship, commitment to certain ideals, artistic movements.
Of course, in the poem Christabel, she sleeps with Geraldine, a witch!! But since we never find out who Geraldine is, it's open for debate.
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