architectural space

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Abgeschickt von Birgit am 12 Maerz, 2005 um 15:12:05:

For a long time now, I've been looking at the various ways DD uses language to weave her stories. Like the painter she is, she uses images to illuminate the story she is telling. Analysing some of the metaphors she chooses; the colours, symbols, architecture and landscape, reminded me very much of deciphering the iconography of a painting. Layer upon layer of meaning is revealed. Carefully looking at some of those metaphors, I was amazed to find how much they reveal about the characters, their inner state of mind. And over and over again they provide vital clues to the heart of the story.

What got me started was the last passage in GoK, when Lymond's innocence has finally been established and he is summoned by the Dowager. All of a sudden we get one of those rare insights into his mind:

"In a lifetime of empty rooms, this was another."

Such a hauntingly beautiful image. It struck a chord. This overwhelming sense of inner loneliness, conveyed by the mental image of an empty room. And how he has resigned himself to it, doesn't expect it ever to be different.

"Then there was a whisper of silk, a perfume half remembered, a humane, quizzical, intuitive presence; and a wild relief that deluged the tired and passionate mind. Sybilla was there. She saw her son's eyes and flung open her arms."

I was intrigued. I began to look for more of those metaphors. Very soon it became clear to me that, consistantly, all through the LC, the theme of architecture and space is cleverly used to convey something of Lymond's true feelings, to reveal something about his true state of mind.

So I decided to embark on yet another journey through the LC, this time focussing on the theme of doors and rooms.

Over and over the image of a room is used as a metaphor for Lymond's mind. The literal opening and closing of doors on another level indicates when he lets get people close. And it is interesting to see who he lets in. And who he shuts out. Or tries to shut out. Some people always manage to get inside his guard. His reactions whenever his personal space, literally and figuratively, gets invaded are always a giveaway.

He tries to guard his mind. He doesn't really feel at home anywhere. He often feels trapped or cornered. He's restless. He sets out to repel invaders. Or when encroaching on other people's territory tries to keep his personal barriers up.
He isn't always sucessful. Some people, such as Philippa and Kate always manage to get inside his guard. Right from the start. They find their way in to his "room". And when they get too close for comfort, when he is unable to cope with it, he sets about driving them out. He literally and figuratively barrs his doors to them. He asks them to leave, or in some cases throws them out.

Because he's not at ease in his room. Over and over we get descriptions of him pacing the room, roaming about, moving restlessly, prowling around, much like a caged tiger. You'll rarely find a description of him being at ease. He's either perfectly motionless, or nervously pacing from wall to wall. There are countless descriptions of him standing next to a window, or with his back to the door, backed up against a wall, or backed into a corner. Running into obstacles. Probably longing for a way out. Looking out of windows is a recurring theme.
But at the same time he is busy barricading himself in, building bastions and bulwarks.
His rooms are haunted. There are a great number of breathtaking metaphors spread through the books evoking his feeling of despair and inner loneliness.

But sometimes he doesn't succeed in locking all the doors. And then people see too much. Adam does. And Ludovic d'Harcourt...

And sometimes there is no room to hide in. In stark contrast, the most crucial events, and also his most painful moments all occur out in the open. When he's caught in an open space, with nowhere to hide, the barriers crumbling and no walls to put up. The scene in the dell in GoK, facing Richard. Facing Richard again on the beach after the shipwreck in RC. His anvil moment, in the sunshine, out on the river Thames. The flight through the fog at Lyon. Philippa seeing him swim at Sevigny. And returning to Flaw Valleys at the end of CM.

It is an eye-opener to read the description of landscapes at crucial moments. The beach at Philorth. Russia of course, and both rides to Dieppe in CM. They are perfect descriptions of Lymond's mental state.

He acts most of the time, or if you want, shows his public face only.
The theme of acting is of course most obvious in GoK. But not only there. There are countless descriptions of Lymond pausing before he enters a room. As if about to enter a stage, and bracing himself for it. Descriptions abound, of his hand on a doorlatch, of pausing on a threshold, lingering in the doorway, leaning against the door-post. Almost as if he has to make a conscious effort to enter the room, to go onstage.

The description of landscapes, of architecture, of houses and rooms, often reflect Lymond's situation exactly, his inner state of mind is conveyed in those terms and images. Those allusions and metaphors provide valuable insight to what's going on beyond the surface.

Dies, in Grundzügen meine architectural space theory. Ich erspare Euch die fast 50 Seiten (oder so) Beispiele, die ich als Belege angeführt hatte <g>. Wen's interessiert: Das komplette Opus Magnum mit allen Textstellen, die mir aufielen (über 6 Bände) hab ich letzten Februar auf Marzipan gepostet.



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