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Sunday, 2 November 2008
'Odalisque' by PF Jeffery (DFL's comments)

Chapter 18 – Transitions


A chapter of events: low-key but all events are significant and powerful in one’s destiny however low-key they seem: getting pox, but allowed to continue for whip-making purposes at the Laughing Phallus by (pragmatic but essentially, we feel, soft-hearted) Madame Scurf:  i.e. retained for whip making. A delightful chapter, where we feel Tuerqui is fulfilling the stoical philosophy of this novel and making people (otherwise bad) better than they would otherwise be.  By the power of the Goddess as well as by the omniscient tri-partite author?


Choice snippets from among many:


We could gauge the passage of time, each night, from the sand trickling through a large glass by the door.  The timepiece was invisible from the cubicles, but I looked at it each time an attendant released me from my straps.  The device was, of course, placed there for the attendants – not for the whores.  It was to ensure that customers were not allowed more time than that for which they had paid.




Our injections done, Madame Scurf led us through the twisting corridors, with which the Laughing Phallus was threaded like worm holes in a several months overripe cheese.  The passages brought us at last to a large dusty room which was obviously long disused.  Sunshine spilt dimly through filthy windows.  The only furniture was a collection of packing cases – all of which proved to be empty – and a small clutter of cleaning equipment.


and the memorable Leather Mistress monument:


On the far side of the market were the dark outlines of mansions and a great temple with many domes.  Dominating all was a colossal goddess, at least sixty feet high.  Although I’d never been here before, I recognised the image from a book I had thumbed in the Belle House library.  She was the Leather Mistress and we were in Leatherhead.


I love the following sentence but did not fully understand it (no bad thing):


The purple faced man – or, rather, purple with discoloured streaks – sputtered in rage whilst the street rang with laughter.





or whom otherwise earned the attendants’ disfavour


I think that ‘whom’ should be ‘who’.



relcalcitent = recalcitrant ?



I know Tuerqui is purported not to be a semi-colon girl so would not the following:


Each booth contained a bed, each bed was occupied by a whore, some male some female, each whore was bound to her or his bed by leather wrist and ankle straps.


be better as:


Each booth contained a bed, each bed occupied by a whore, some male some female, each whore bound to her or his bed by leather wrist and ankle straps.



Does ‘tanner’ need a footnote?




neither glanced my direction




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


 On this site, if you want to leave comments all you need do is type 'nospam' in confirm box and your name.


The links to all Chapter comments by me are here:



Posted by: newdfl on 8/9/2008 8:07:51 AM , 3 comments

Submitted by Pet at 8/10/2008 5:28:17 AM

Thank you for that, Des.

The paragraph beginning "Our injections done," was one with which I had quite a struggle on the final revision. In previous versions, it was rather clumsily expressed -- but it now seems to read rather well. I'm glad that you seem to agree.

I've never been to Leatherhead, but would be disappointed to find no temple with many domes or colossal statue of the Leather Mistress.

Perhaps it is better not to understand fully the man's face -- purple with discoloured streaks.

I've looked at the sentence with "whom" and, for such a short sentence, it seems to have rather complex grammar with (I think) two subsidiary clauses. Hacking through its strange complexity, I think that you may be right -- and yet "whom" seems to read better. I haven't changed it.

By contrast, I have changed the sentence beginning "Each booth". During the final revision, it seemed to me that the book contained the word "was" at many points where it was unnecessary. In this instance, I seem to have skipped two unnecessary occurances in the same sentence. I can only ascribe this to a lack of attention on my part. Corrected now!

"Recalitrant" was the word I wanted, and I've made the change. I wonder what "relcalcitent" means? The word "relcalcitent" found its way in via the Microsoft spellcheck. It failed to suggest the correct spelling as a substitution for my mistaken sequence of letters. I think that my false spelling was "recalcitrent".

Now working on "Jane" which will have no footnotes, I'm not in the space to add more of them to "Odalisque". Actually, I'm content for "tanner" to lack a footnote. The footnotes are for the benefit of Jennifer Petrie's readers, over 800 years after Tuerqui's death. Sometimes, the notes explain things that would give a present day reader little trouble, sometimes they omit to explain possibly puzzling things. The footnotes are also a bit erratic -- "slaffilius" isn't explained until long after its first use. Perhaps a sense of delicacy held Jennifer Petrie from explaining the coarse allusion when it first occurs, perhaps she was merely inattentive.

Typo (which really was a typo) now corrected.


Submitted by des at 8/10/2008 5:57:26 AM

I disagree strongly with your decision on who/whom above.

"relcalcitent" only had one google hit: your blog of BONDLINGS.

Glad my comments seem generally useful to you (and others?).

Submitted by Pet at 8/10/2008 6:57:33 AM

I've taken another look at "whom", and think that my disinclination here was to make "who" the subject of two subsidiary clauses in the same sentence. I have now simply deleted the word "whom" -- the sentence seems to work well enough without it.

Perhaps "relcalcitent" is the invention of the Microsoft spellcheck.

Your comments are useful even when I disagree with them.



Posted by augusthog at 7:58 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 2 November 2008 8:01 AM EDT
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