Posted by Karen R on November 01, 1997 at 17:16:02:
In response to Does It Really Matter?****Spoiler*****, written by Cassia on November 01, 1997 at 15:53:57
] I've grown to believe that this kind of dispute is the reason that Byatt left thing unclear. There is textual evidence for both sides and that is the point that Byatt is making. We interpret things from our own point of view. Clever of her, really.
] Like Maud and Roland, we can't truly know the entire story. The first time I read PossessionI was convinced that Blanche made the whole thing up, that her love wasn't returned in kind. Later, I came to think just the opposite. Byatt purposely chose the name Christabel to muddy the waters even more. She wants us to pour over the 'evidence' in the text, sift again and again and then not rely on the pat, easy answers that we have grown used to. She may be saying that the way we sort things, our categories, don't matter when it comes to the past because we can never really know. And what gives us the right to know when it was all between the two of them?
Very nicely put, Cassia, we will never know. That is what it says at the beginning of the novel with the Browning poem and by the use of Coleridge's poem for the name of a major character. I guess my preference--and that is all it is--is that the Christabel-Blanche relationship is too obvious for me to accept it and, in my convoluted way, I must reject it.
Also, Byatt has seen the rise of women's studies programs and may or may not agree with modern interpretations of these Victorian women poets. I appears that their lives were so "veiled" that these and other interpretations (e.g., whether or not Emily Dickinson was in love with another woman, are undergoing reevaluation.
Oh well, cest la vie.
(BTW Kate,it was me who mentioned the French thing. If you will remember her teacher in all things was her father.)
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