(urth) memory and Suzanne (offshot of Typhon's nature)

Gerry Quinn gerry at bindweed.com
Mon Oct 17 14:52:38 PDT 2011

From: Jerry Friedman 
>From: Gerry Quinn gerry at bindweed.com

> >I don’t agree that the name > of the main character in Suzanne Delage
> >  is significant, or that it is about memory.  Sure, the name is 
> > apparently that of a minor ?>character in Proust, and Wolfe is 
> > known to like Proust.  But nobody has ever, as far as I know, proposed 
> > any particular connection between the actual Proust >character who 
> > bears the same name, and the character in Wolfe’s story.  If the story 
> > was called Mary Macdonald, I would read it exactly the same way as I do. 
> The excerpt from Proust is available at the WolfeWiki
> http://www.wolfewiki.com/pmwiki/pmwiki.php?n=Stories.SuzanneDelage
> and there are more resemblances than the character's name.  Whether these
> resemblances should suggest anything about the interpretation of the story
>  is another question.
“I had once been due to go to a dancing lesson, and even to take a small part in a play at her parents' house. But the fear of getting a fit of giggles and a nose-bleed had at the last moment prevented me, so that I had never set eyes on her.”
I think that’s the connection.  Like the girl in Wolfe’s story, the narrator (in this case the author himself) heard of the girl and should have met her, but never set eyes on her.  That’s central to Wolfe’s story and to me it seems sufficient to explain the name.  Probably Wolfe got the idea for his story while reading this. 
In Proust’s narrative, however, neither the girl nor the fact of him not meeting her seem to be of any particular significance.
- Gerry Quinn

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