The emotional equivalent of "whole sight"

Discussions relating to John Fowles' novel Daniel Martin.

The emotional equivalent of "whole sight"

Postby drkellyindc on Wed Dec 24, 2008 7:45 am

What is the emotional equivalent of “whole sight”?

This is primarily a question about life and how it’s lived, not one about literature and how it’s composed. However, literature in general, and fiction in particular, are indispensable at helping us to understand and articulate our feelings.

Evidence in Daniel Martin suggests that John Fowles explored the question above with singular dedication. He knew that “whole sight” had to go past ocular vision and external appearances and into the realm of inner realities and the psyche. He made it his challenge in this novel to find a place for every type of feeling and experience of which humans are capable.

Below is a list of many of the emotions depicted in Daniel Martin. It’s a long list, and yet it omits a great deal. Completing the list would be impossible, which is probably a good thing! The list can’t be completed partly because the novel’s emotional life is so complex and nuanced, so “below the surface.” As Daniel tells Jenny, his M.O. as a writer is to pack the meaning “in between the lines” (14). Any strict attempt to classify this novel’s emotional life, and to account for its “steeped resonances” (353), would fall prey to the very literal-mindedness and nearsightedness that the novel itself opposes.

In the novel, Fowles presents this material with seamless integration; here, I’ve broken it up for the sake of utility. I divided the list into seven general categories. The first six represent core or primary feelings—anger, fear, shame, envy, sadness, and joy. The seventh category deals with feelings in combination.

Why create such a list? Three main reasons: to entice more people to read the novel, to deepen the experience of those who have read it, and to facilitate the research of those who are studying it. What sustained me in assembling this list was a sense that Daniel Martin serves as a masterful synthesis of the varieties of human emotion, and that this synthesis deserves an index.

I’ve connected with the novel over a long enough time that putting this list together was a little like going over old diary entries. However, this “diary” is more like the diary of a civilization—an account of where modern humanity can and cannot go, and of where we’ve been, and of where we might still go.

Imagine each item here as one stitch in a vast tapestry--a tapestry encompassing a full spectrum of colors and textures. I believe this tapestry is also a work in progress: the novel is configured in such a way as to endlessly combine and recombine in each reader’s imagination. Fowles was attempting not just to capture and chronicle existing feelings but to generate new ones. As Eleanor Wymard writes, Daniel Martin reveals Fowles “absorbed in the mission of the artist to extend the range of human sensibility.”

What this novel's hero says about the writings of Hungarian critic Georg Lukács may also be said about Daniel Martin: “It was the emotional attempt to see life totally, in its essence and its phenomena; the force, the thought, the seriousness” (534).

This is from a benedictory passage near the end of the book:
It is not finally a matter of skill, of knowledge, of intellect; of good luck or bad; but of choosing and learning to feel. (672)

(Warning: there are many plot spoilers in this list!)



At age 15, Dan nurses “his terrible oedipal secret; already at the crossroads every son must pass” (9)
At Oxford, Andrew and his friend Mark show contempt toward Dan, the “effete middle-class aesthete” (25)
Dan to Jenny, on why he spends so much time paring dialogue: “I loathe actors” (32)
Jane’s confession to Dan that she “hated Nell that whole evening. I had no nice sisterly feelings at all” (61)
Dan’s cab driver curses freeways in general and the San Diego one in particular (63)
Dan stays with the Kitchener script out of a need “to validate self-contempt” (75)
Anthony believes (after Tertullian) that self-mortification is universal because it is “absurd and necessary” (75)

Dan’s hatred of his mandatory school uniform (92)
Dan is offended that Barney’s Oxford gossip-column report is so brief (!) (102)
Dan’s general dislike of critics (104)
Barney’s contempt for the U.S. and its childishness (105)
Dan and others in the film world work in a medium where (according to one Hollywood saying), “Audiences are schmucks . . . and schmucks hate brains” (107)

Caro’s anger at her ex-boyfriend Richard (120)
A “total unforgivingness” between Dan and Nell at the divorce (124)
An English “hatred of the other,” of sharing a train compartment (139)
“Agapicide” between marriage partners Dan and Nell (140)
Nell’s contempt for Dan’s film-work (170)
Hostile reviews of Dan’s play (175, 304)
Dan’s play The Victors kills a friendship as well as a playwriting career (177)
Dan: “I felt depressed, secretly angry at not having been angrier” (over Bernard’s relationship with Caro) (274)

Middle-aged men hustling each other over lunch, “in some ultimate treachery of the clerks” (275)
In one of Dan’s scripts, Robin Hood’s rage and then self-rage about the rape of a village girl (292-3)
Producer David Malevich’s “engaging venom” toward anyone who ever turned him down without good reason (296)

Anthony’s killing “stone dead” even the most innocent attempt to bring up religious matters at the dinner-table (309)

Nell’s “embittered sniff of inside knowledge” at Compton (322)
Fenwick’s assessment of ordinary English citizens’ relation to their government: “Contempt for us poor boobies who have to represent you, for democratic process, for law . . .” (333)

Dan’s dislike of Fenwick and his Conservative philosophy (336-8)
Dan’s offense at Jenny’s response to Tsankawi (351)
Dan’s memory of hating Jane over her advice to him about Caro (359)
Anthony’s genuine hatred for (and fear of) “what could not be collected, classed, precisely defined, noted down”—epitomized in a certain species of British wild orchid: “the fluid frontiers between their species seriously upset him,” and presented “a nagging flaw in his would-be highly ordered nature of things” (361)

Daniel’s rage/hatred/seething despair about his father’s ending his relationship with Nancy (401-2)
Jane: “All this useless, diffuse anger churning inside me, and knowing I just let it churn” (412)
In the “Orchard of the Blessed,” Dan’s intellectual defiance: “To hell with cultural fashion; to hell with elitist guilt; to hell with existentialist nausea . . .” (432)

Jenny’s third contribution: “Written in anger” (457), and ending in bitter defiance: “I just won’t be only something in your script. In any of your scripts. Ever again.” (472)

Dan’s subdued exasperation with finishing his Kitchener script (485)
Jane’s hatred of her mother’s cutting behavior toward Americans (519)
The bitter 1930s quarrel between Bertolt Brecht and Georg Lukács (534)
Dan’s strong dislike of most ancient Egyptian art (537)
A heated argument over the Vietnam War--Mitchell’s aggression about it and Marcia’s fierceness in return (538-9)

“Aswan was the return of reality with a vengeance, and Dan loathed it” (569)
Jane’s “small gift for acting” as a “curse”: “Hating being able to pretend I’m someone else. Then using what I hate to be it” (578)

Dan’s contempt for the New Cataract Hotel (as well as Miami) (585-6)
Dan’s need to punish Jane, or himself, after their lunch with Alain and the photographer (588)
Labib’s animosity toward Syria, “a place where all is crazy, crazy people” (618-624)
The Hotel Zenobia staff’s apparent resentment toward Dan and Jane as guests (626)
Jane’s having (in Dan’s estimation) “murdered something in all three of us” back at Oxford (631)
Dan’s outrage at waking up alone, and at Jane’s subsequent behavior, at Palmyra (644-50)
Dan’s growing seethe of anger for Jane’s system of valuation; with Oxbridgery (649)
During their meeting in London, Jenny’s rage at what she sees as the phoniness of Dan’s decency (664)


Dan at age 15 is terrified by a German Heinkel plane flying close overhead: “. . . an agony of vicious fear. The boy, who is already literary, knows he is about to die” (5)

Film director Bill’s judgment about Dan: “being a perfectionist and being scared are often the same thing” (16)

Jenny’s “self-centered terror of being challenged and disturbed. Reduced to equality” (40)
Dan’s fear of emotion and unreason in women (44)
Dan, after the call from Oxford, is “a man whose foot finds an abyss instead of a pavement” (45)
Anthony’s fear of knowing about Jane’s sexual history makes Jane fear telling him about it (58)
Dan fears Anthony’s disapproval of Nell; Anthony’s fear of Nell colors his attitude toward Jane and Dan as well (59)

Dan is “Never so frightened, before or since” at the chance of Barney Dillon barging in on him with Jane (96)
Dan and Bernard as middle-aged men “running scared . . . in a panic” (129)
Jane and Dan’s shared fear of looking back from middle age (236)
The Cockney twins’ fear of what their father would do if he was abandoned (261)
Bernard’s “Fear of death, the wasted journey . . .” (278)
Dan’s migratory behavior: “the horror of landing that drove the bird endlessly on” (293)
Dan’s “panic of fear” (at age 16) about being targeted by the bully Bill Hannacott (397)
Dan regards his father’s Christianity as “no more than the answer to fear” (504)
For ancient Egypt and the U.S. today, according to Dan, “fear of death” is couched as an “all-pervasive fear of non-freedom” (540)

The Herr Professor’s fear that a thief had sneaked in while he was working in seclusion after dark on the tomb walls in the Kobbet el Hawa cliff (560)

Jane’s fear of her real feelings during her student days at Oxford (566)
Jane fears Dan’s “different values,” his successful life, his having left Oxford many years ago--something she is just now facing up to (577)

Dan and Jane fear a difficult future for the Hooper’s marriage (584)
Dan feels “the terror of the task” of making an artistic world alone and unguided, “mediocrity in his dressing-gown” (590)

Dan begins “to fear Syria, the possibility of the same boring and dusty journeys to nowhere for nothing” (592)
Dan’s silent misgivings: “Doubt of her, doubt of himself, fear of rejection, fear of response” (597)
Dan and Jane’s anxiety during a foul flight to Beirut (612-3)
Jane’s fear that her actions will justify Dan’s leaving her (630)
Jane’s fear of love, and her tendency (in Dan’s estimation) to “streak for the horizon” (653)
Dan’s vertigo and fear in encountering the “formidable sentinel” of the Rembrandt self-portrait so soon after his parting with Jenny (672)

Dan’s father unwittingly terrified him as a boy by insisting that Christ’s eyes followed “wherever you went, whatever you did” (673)


Dan at 15, in Devon: “He is shy and ashamed of his own educated dialect of the tongue” (4)
At Oxford, Dan accidentally blurts out to Jane his judgment about formal engagements, and immediately catches his error (28)

Dan’s “bout of self-pity” at Jenny’s apartment prior to the phone call from Oxford (75)
Parson Martin’s “ill-concealed guilt” about stealing rare shrubs, and being “shamed into an outright lie” over the provenance of one of them (82)

Parson Martin’s conductor-style reading of broadsheets at Sunday school mortifies Dan: “How could he make such a fool of me with his stupid poem-reading?” (85)

Dan’s remorse about how he treated Aunt Millie as a child, and her forgiveness outreaching “all time and space” (89)

Jane’s self-imposed scheme of penance: she makes love to Dan in the full knowledge that she will go on to marry Anthony as a Catholic (96)

Bernard’s guilt, or pretended guilt, about cheating on his wife (128)
Dan’s “usual sequence of guilt and self-justification” over a marital infidelity (146)
Nell blames Dan “for not buying what they cannot afford” (148)
Dan and Anthony both blaming themselves over the past (181)
Anthony’s self-depreciation and self-distaste about how he’s spent his adult years (191)
Dan’s embarrassment at the prospect of spending an evening with Jane, who evidently wishes he hadn’t reappeared in her life (196)

Jane and Anthony’s shared guilt about a marriage and its longstanding failings (215)
Jane’s embarrassed smile at Dan’s offer to come visit Thorncombe (228)
Jane with Roz: a professionally unfulfilled woman’s relation to her daughter’s career success (236)
Dan’s self-blame about Nell’s behavior, and Caro’s guilt about her mother (238)
Bernard’s embarrassment over Caro’s telling Dan about their affair (239)
Dan and Bernard both rebelling against their religious upbringings: “the enduring guilt at levels deeper than logic and reason can ever purge” (274)

Dan’s nausea about the communications industry and his place in it (275)
Dan’s conscience is jabbed by his professional writing duties (295)
Jenny’s remorse about sending her “second contribution” (304)
The remnants of Jane’s Catholicism and “All the sin-and-guilt bit” (308)
Dan’s humiliating treatment by Fenwick in the after-dinner talk about politics, and the blame that Fenwick attaches to Dan for his socialist beliefs (335, 337)

At Tsankawi, Jenny guiltily covers her gathering of shards while a native-American couple passes by (354)
Jane’s remorse about advice she offered Dan many years previously (359)
At age 16, Dan’s intense chagrin about being so unwitting, and so helplessly separated from Nancy Reed’s world: “Stupid! . . . He felt his background again, intolerably” (373)

Dan’s sharp feeling of betrayal at the hands of his father and Mrs. Reed: “The shame, the humiliation!” (401)
The reproach Dan imagines emanating from his mother’s headstone, over the tears he has not shed (438, 441-2)

Dan as a “guilty” godfather to Roz (443)
During a call from Jenny, Dan is unable to ease his conscience about Jane and the trip to Egypt he has offered her (447)

Dan and Jane behaving like “chance embarrassed strangers” as they embark on ten days of travel together (487)

Jane’s unwittingly putting the Egyptian women to shame at the Assad’s dinner-party (501)
Jane’s embarrassment at Dan’s making too much of a gift (513)
Dan and Jane’s playing “Little British” with the American couple on the cruise, hiding their true feelings as if they’re ashamed of them (520)

The Nile passengers’ tacit sense of guilt as they pass native women bathers (527)
Dan’s apology to the American couple over a possible religious offense (536)
A “triple blasphemy” involved in the Edna argument between an Arab showman and an Italian tourist (551)
The Herr Professor’s sons’ blaming him over his failures during the war (556)
The Herr Professor’s former guilt about studying the past so much, and hiding from what he “did not wish to understand” (559)

Jane’s sense at Anthony’s death that she was “relegated to being a burden on other people’s consciences” (576)

Dan and Jane’s embarrassment, “like all intellectuals presented point-blank with simple faith,” at Omar’s facing Mecca and praying (579)

Dan’s growing embarrassment about maintaining caution and neutrality with Jane (587)
Jane’s remorse over implying that Dan’s values are inferior (594)
Dan in middle age: “The compromises of his life seemed to lie on him almost physically, like warts” (598)
Jane’s guilt over her responses to Dan (603, 605-6)
Dan’s stiff-faced depression, “metaphysical humiliation, the world gone black and vulgar” (613)
Guilt about having privilege in the form of culture, education, money (628-9)
Jane’s embarrassment about being confronted by what she told Caro about Dan (630)
Dan “can’t forgive” Jane’s likening love to a prison (631)
Dan’s sense that Jane is retreating to “an eternal unforgivingness, refusal to listen” (632)
Jane’s unspoken confession to Anthony after the Tarquinia night-bathe: her rekindled feelings for Dan, and her thinking that such feelings were sinful (640)

Dan and Jane reduced to what, “in their two sexes, had never forgiven and never understood the other . . . eternally irreconcilable” (648-9)


Jane envies Nell her physical relationship with Dan (60)
Anthony’s enhanced academic prestige sets off twinges of career jealousy for Dan (113)
Petty rivalries among fellow-journalists at Bernard’s office (121-2)
Nell’s rudeness at a party turns out to be a “first declaration of career jealousy” (141)
A sisterly rivalry between Nell and Jane (149)
Nell illogically envying a career she doesn’t actually want (153)
Nell’s envy of Jane and Anthony’s married life (155)
Nell’s “real jealousy” has to do with the age of self putting her in a cage (168)
In his letter to Dan, Anthony disavows any trace of career envy (176)
Mother-daughter envy between Jane and Roz (235-6)
Nell’s attitude toward Caro as another example of mother-daughter envy (237)
The conspicuous lack of jealousy between Miriam and Marjory: “. . . how they could share so without jealousy the grown-up toy they had found in me” (266)

Dan describing Miriam’s eyes: “They taunt, they live, and I envy with all my heart every man who has had them since” (269)

Bernard’s envy of Daniel and his intellectual lot during their Oxford days (272)
A jealous rival’s sideways compliment about a bad prime minister (275)
Dan and Bernard both envy academic life its sabbaticals (281)
Professional jealousy: Dan’s pretended jealousy of Jenny (305), and Anthony’s jealousy of the barrister Fenwick (338)

Jane to Dan: “I do envy you. Being in touch with nature and all that” (414)
Jane, who grew up “traipsing from one embassy to the next,” envies Dan his connection with Thorncombe, and Andrew and Nell their connection with Compton (439)

Jane envies the innocence of the ancient Egyptians (509)
The Nile-excursion passengers envy the simplicities of life along the river’s banks, in the same way that the denizen of an “icier, grimmer planet might look on, and envy, Earth” (527)

In a sympathetic way, Jane expresses her envy of the Herr Professor’s wife (554)
Dan envies a warbler its ability to remain on the Nile (610)


Dan at 15, after the rabbit slaughter: “And his heart turns, some strange premonitory turn, a day when in an empty field he shall weep for this” (8)

The prospect of dying prematurely: “. . . dying, dying before the other wheat was ripe” (10)
The adult Dan mourns the loss of his boyhood self: “Adieu, my boyhood and my dream” (10)
Jane’s comment about “the real and bathetic future that faced them” after graduation from Oxford (95)
Dan recognizes his own symptoms in what Bernard says: ”doubts and disillusions, grasped-for apples turned to wax, dreams become ashes” (108)

Dan detects “a faint wistfulness in Jane” about his success as a professional dramatist (113)
Dan’s experience of the Etruscan tomb-walls: “nothing could be better or lovelier than this, till the end of time. It was sad, but in a noble, haunting, fertile way” (114)

After arriving in Oxford, Dan has a sharp and sudden longing for his girlfriend Jenny back in California (165)
Dan’s breakup with Nell leaves him with a sense of “major loss” about Anthony and Jane (172)
In middle age, Dan and Anthony acknowledge missing each other’s friendship over the years (181)
Jane’s response to Dan’s “defeatism” stems from her conviction that “literary melancholia so often precedes fascism” (198)

Jane breaking down and sobbing in her daughter Roz’s arms (230)
Dan’s realization of “the loneliness of each, the bedrock of the human condition” (244)
Jenny’s claim about Dan: “He has a mistress. Her name is Loss” (249)
Jenny writes about missing Dan “Every hour of every day. And night” (252)
Miriam and Marjory’s mother is “bereft” after Daniel weans them away from her (267)
Miriam and Marjory become for Dan “a lasting lesson on the limitations of my class, my education, and my kind” (268)

Dan’s malaise at Caro’s flat: “No one loves me, no one cares” (279)
Anthony’s disappointment about his children’s following Jane out of the church (308)
Dan’s “feeling of transience, unrecapturabilities, abysses” at Tsankawi (351)
Dan’s sense at Tsankawi of “the lost civilization of me” (354)
For Jenny, a descent of sadness during her last visit to Tsankawi with Dan (355)
At age 16, Dan’s sense of “atrocious letdown” to hear of Nancy Reed’s interest in Bill Hannacott: “Imminent zenith to realized nadir, all in two seconds” (373)

Dan’s incredulity about having to imagine “Thorncombe without the Reeds!” (404)
In Cairo after the Assad’s party, Dan catches a glimpse of loneliness in Jane (503)
During the Temple of Karnak visit, Dan has a rich, poetic sense of the dead around him (509-10)
Dan happens to spot Marcia Hooper secretly watching Jane--“a strange look, wistful, almost canine in its lack of envy” (538)

Marcia’s response to her infertility, and Dan’s judgment about Mitch’s “sad little faith in technology” as the panacea (540)

Jane’s sadness in hearing about the fellaheen way of life (545)
The Herr Professor’s sense of loss about his wife, and the tears he shed about what became of his fellow-Germans during WWII (554-6)

Jane’s tears at Kom Ombo: “Its all being over. And thinking of Anthony. How he would have liked it here” (564)

Dan’s silence: “That’s how men cry” (568)
Jane’s feeling that she’s wasted her life, or things she could have given it (596)
Dan says he will miss his “perfect traveling companion” (597)
Dan and Jane’s covert sense of Labib and “the sad innocence of backward countries” (618)
The things about home that Jenny has missed while living overseas (662)
About Jenny’s departure, Dan feels “bereft beyond his calculation of it” (671)
The Rembrandt self-portrait: “the plebeian simplicity of such sadness . . . the deepest inner loneliness” (672)


Dan at 15: “But who cares, teeth deep in white cartwheel, bread and sweet ham, all life to follow . . . The boy lies on his back . . . slightly drunk, bathed in the green pond of Devon voices, his Devon and England” (4)

“My God, I believe they’re actually enjoying it”: Dan on Andrew and his crony Mark’s response to the Woman in the Reeds (25)

Dan on his time at Oxford: “It’s been the most marvelous three years of my life” (27)
Jane, on why she threw an unopened bottle of champagne in the river: “It just felt right” (30; see also 47-8, 51, 73, 201, 231, 437, 441, 575, 596, 604-5)

Jenny falling in love with Dan (or with the idea of him) (33)
A component of wickedness in Jenny’s interest in Dan: “Daddy-o wants me” (43)
Dan, on his desire for Nell and Jane: “It’s mad. But I think I’m in love with both of you” (61)
Dan is “dazzled by the gilt chimeras” of his film career: “that happiness was always having work, being in demand, belonging nowhere, the jet life, the long transatlantic phone call about nothing” (73)

Dan as “A small boy rushing in to breakfast: The Osmanthus is out! The clematis armandii! The trichodendron! (82)

Dan’s shock and joy at reading Samuel Butler (87)
Dan, after his sexual encounter with Jane: “. . . all kinds of buried feelings of inferiority toward Anthony lay mysteriously but profoundly alleviated” (98)

Dan’s unaccountable, even religious sense of happiness during the Tarquinia night-bathe, and his seeing Anthony as the brother he loved (116)

The “miracle” of Dan’s “first major success” as a playwright, and his “state of smug euphoria” about it (147)
Dan’s secret happiness at arriving in Oxford after many years’ absence: “the strange reversals of time, of personal histories . . . moments that you are glad, for once, to have survived to” (160)

The sadistic enjoyment that Dan assumes Anthony felt while writing the letter that officially ended their friendship: “He’ll have loved composing every word of that little commination” (177)

Dan’s sense of affection and rapport on meeting Anthony after their long estrangement (180)
Dan and Anthony’s reciprocal pleasure in puns and word-play (193)
The pleasure that Jane reports Anthony as having had in the chance to play “Jesus Christ” to the woman taken in adultery (i.e., herself) (215)

Dan’s cherishing a noble legend about the Oxford quartet’s joint past (216)
Dan’s “saturated, diverse” feelings as he drifts toward sleep on the night of Anthony’s death, and the God-like self-satisfaction of his unconscious (220-2)

Dan’s belated reconnection with his extended family: “this loose, warm web of clan” as a “modest secular equivalent of that nightbathe at Tarquinia so many years before” (235)

Caro’s feeling with Bernard of “realizing that someone does seem to need you” (for “non-family reasons”) (240)

Dan and Abe’s underlying affection and respect for each other, despite their outward “meanness” (248)
Jenny on Dan’s secret patriotism (251)
Dan’s recognizing Miriam and Marjory’s “delicious lack of self-consciousness” (257)
Miriam and Marjory’s close sisterly affection despite their nagging (265)
Dan’s seven or eight weeks with Miriam and Marjory: “a blend of reciprocal curiosity, affection and physical pleasure that was totally free of love” (266)

The enjoyment Dan feels at the beginning stages of a play or script, of being “the first man ever to set foot on a desert island, a new planet” (289)

Fenwick’s skilled and entertaining contributions to the Compton dinner-party (329-32)
Dan’s sense that Tsankawi validates the rest of existence, serving as a “sustained high note, unconquerable” (346)

Dan’s enjoyment of the “Englishness” of the weather (357)
Dan returning to Thorncombe after a period away: “the pleasures of an intense small world after a great diffuse one” (367)

Dan’s physical joys with Nancy Reed: “Victory! . . . the loudest cocklecockadoo of all his life” (382, et al)
Dan with Nancy, “stunned, ravished, rent with joy” (384)
Dan’s pleasure in walking and knowing (428, 433-4)
Dan’s forebodings of a rich and happy year ahead (428)
Dan’s pleasure in inclement weather, with the element of hazard involved, and the promise of “rich, green-tunneled summers” (434)

Dan’s abiding connection with Thorncombe: “in a way this attachment to a climate, a landscape, was the only decent marriage he had ever made” (434-5)

Andrew’s love for Compton (439)
Dan’s sense of curiosity, spiritual and artistic awakening, fertility (441)
Dan’s pleasure in the seasons, awakening (449)
The pleasure of experiencing playwright Ahmed Sabry’s storytelling and jokes (498-500)
Dan’s feeling about Jane as they are drive by taxi away from the Assad’s party: the “affective equivalent in the mind of erection at the loins” (503)

Dan and Jane watching a magnificent sunset together in Dan’s cabin overlooking the Nile (517)
Dan’s pleasure in quietly sharing his room with Jane while she’s occupied writing postcards, almost as if she’s forgotten he was there (533)

Dan’s falling under the spell of the Hungarian critic Georg Lukács—his being “impressed” by his writings, feeling “both his world-view and his own being as a writer enlarged and redefined,” despite not always liking the taste of its medicine (534)

Dan’s pleasure in bird-watching (542, et al)
Dan’s novel project “beginning to brew, to grow rich” (550)
Dan’s feeling, on the Nile cruise with Jane, of “daily closeness, mind, intuition, shared age and experience, the restoration of the old empathy” (565)

Jane’s sense of Dan from their student days, recalled in middle age: “That lovely innocent young man I knew at Oxford” (566)

Jane and Dan’s delight at visiting Kitchener’s Island (572-5, 593)
The last stars, the first green light, the untrammeled birdsong in the morning (610)
Dan’s appreciation of Jane’s company during the journey to Palmyra (627)
Dan’s feeling that he is at last “undergoing a flight towards something” (630)
The “strange simplicity” and “delicious shock” of intimate physical contact with another person (639)
Dan’s secret enjoyment in prolonging his love of loss a few hours more (656)


Dan at age 15, engaged in exhausting physical labor during Thorncombe harvest season: “But he likes the pain—a harvest pain, a part of the ritual; like the stiff muscles the next morning, like sleep that night, so drowning, deep and swift to come” (3)

“Ambrosia, death, sweet raspberry jam” (9)
Dan at age 47, reverting to “an unkilled adolescent in him,” in a moment combining nausea, excitement, and smugness (11)

“Late-night maundering” (15)
Jane’s surprise and horror about discovering a corpse in the reeds: “. . . her head flashes round, her mouth open, incredulous, horror-struck” (22)

As Jenny sees it, Dan’s call from Oxford leaves him like “a small boy who is frightened and excited and trying to hide both by being “mature” (35)

Jenny’s being wildly bored and lonely prior to asking Dan out (39)
Jenny, on having sex with a new man: “. . . all those funny, streaky, wobbly thoughts when you know it’s this, a new thing, a new man, where is this room, who am I, who cares, why” (42)

“Dan, I’m sorry. We’re both in a rather overwrought state” (46)
“He felt paralyzed . . . ravished by the strangeness” (62)
What it's like for Daniel to grow up with a father who tends to classify all feelings—anger, conviction, tearfulness, sullenness, excitement, boredom—as “demonstration” (79-80)

Dan’s fury at, and embarrassment about, his father: “I seethe . . . carrying misery and a large black umbrella through a perfect afternoon” (92-3)

In the early 1950s: “Over that winter something died in Jane” (112)
Dan’s shock at Caro’s confession, and his sense of foolishness at not having put the clues together (126)
Dan’s description of “that emotion-charged map of childhood and adolescence we carry around with us in later life” (136)

A look from Nell that is “both frightened and venomous—or obsessed,” and which gives Dan the feeling “that he no longer knew or understood her at all” (154)

The depression Dan undergoes in the aftermath of Andrea’s suicide (157)
Dan’s alternating between not caring and regret about the world he had cut himself off from (172)
Dan leaves Wytham feeling “deeply humiliated,” hating Jane, and yet still inexplicably wishing he had married her (174)

Anthony’s anger and pity toward Dan about his autobiographical play (176)
Dan’s absurdly double sense of estrangement from Jane (178)
Anthony’s emotional crisis in facing up to his terminal illness (182-3)
Anthony’s gratitude about a marriage despite its faults, and about being the beneficiary of what Dan and Jane sacrificed (190)

Dan’s mixture of feelings after his talk with Anthony at the hospital (196-7)
Jane’s rueful smile about getting to call Dan’s bluff (203)
Dan senses in Jane “an insecurity, almost a gauche anxiety when faced with someone from another world,” yet this coexists with her seeming to despise Dan’s world for artistic as well as political reasons (204)

The French au pair Gisèle’s amazement at seeing Jane’s English sangfroid in the face of her husband’s suicide (209)

Dan’s relief at hearing Andrew’s “ordinary reactions of shock and solicitude” about Anthony’s suicide (211)
Jane’s “ancient despair” about a longstanding bad pattern in her marriage (214)
Jane’s shrug has the effect of “killing too much delight” (218)
A Scottish priest’s distress during a social call after Anthony’s death (226)
Jane’s strain over the aftermath of Anthony’s suicide (227)
Around Jane, Roz pretends to enjoy her career less than she does (235-6)
Dan and Carol’s underlying father-daughter affection is revealed after an argument (239-41)
Dan’s strange sympathy for a nocturnal tramp, his envying the man, his being powerless to help him, and then having to smile to himself--as an “inefficient god” might do so while watching his own universe repair itself (243-5)

Jenny on Dan: “that’s truly what he is: a professional melancholiac, and enjoying every minute of it” (249)
Jenny and Mildred’s affectionate fencing (251)
Miriam’s initial blend of naïvety and suspicion (255)
The “usual happy blend of sadism and masochism” in Bernard’s marriage (272)
A columnist who has “clowned too much” over the years to have his moments of furious indignation taken very seriously (275)

Dan’s feeling “a pervasive cancer at the heart of one’s world,” but preferring it to surgical intervention (277)
Dan’s inability to forgive Barney over Caro, coupled with his suddenly feeling too old to hate him (278)
Dan’s sense of “metaphysical cuckolding” by his daughter Caro (283)
A letter from Jenny that “stopped a morning” for Dan, in the way that some reviews had done (304)
In the Mallory household, there’s “a zone of unspoken distance between male and female intelligences” (308), and an “unbearable” isolation for Anthony as the family’s only Catholic believer (309)

Paul’s brooding misery and sulkiness, and the awkwardness it creates for those around him (313-4, 316, et al)
Caro’s confusion amid the forced “universal love” at Compton (318)
Jane’s reserve and independence of feeling (319-20)
Nell’s conflicted feelings about Caro’s affair with Bernard (320-2)
Andrew’s conflicts as an estate-owner (326-8)
Fenwick’s “flash of malicious delight, hidden under a pretended ruefulness,” at Dan’s error (335)
Paul’s mixture of “aggressive defiance, professional authority, and doubt” regarding Dan’s interest in his ancient field-systems project (339)

Dan’s sympathy for Nell’s exasperation with Jane (341)
Petulance, spoilt-child resentment, and affection in Nell’s response to Jane (341)
A “kind of chiding forgiveness” of Nell toward Jane (342)
Jane’s embarrassment about Dan’s witnessing her interactions with Nell, combined with her hatred of any sympathy he shows toward it (342)

Dan’s deep and abiding admiration for Tsankawi and its ineffable beauty, combined with his disappointment about Abe, Mildred, and Jenny’s reactions to the region (343-55)

In Tsankawi, “the most pure and open of places,” Dan feels “like a man in prison” (353)
Jenny’s crying out of spite and hatred towards Dan (356)
An artificial “philadelphian” mood at the end of the Compton weekend (357)
Paul’s inability to discover another key between “being a sulk and being a bore” (358)
Dan’s irritation at Ben and Phoebe’s “continual presence and gratitude,” and their simple frame of values (366)

Ben’s grudging praise for his plants and flowers belies his deeper sense of purpose in tending them (366)
At age 16, Dan’s enjoyment and embarrassment about milking cows (374)
Dan’s bitter envy of Bill Hannacott, combined with physical humiliation at Bill’s hands, and his fury with the world (376-7)

Dan’s joy and guilt: “And the lovely guilt, the need to lie, he took singing home” (384)
Dan’s combination of shock, hope, and trepidation as he waits for Nancy (386)
Dan’s sexual anxiety and his sense of “impending sin” (386)
The misery Dan feels while waiting for Nancy, his fear of Nancy’s anger, and his growing frustration (393)
Dan and Nancy’s “fever of remorse and reawakened passion” (395)
The mixture of feelings in Dan’s response to his father’s suddenly ending his connection with Nancy Reed: “un-Christian hatred and impotent despair,” shame, humiliation, rage, agony, melancholy, and sullenness; his eventual pity for his father, and admiration for how he handled of the situation (401-2)

Dan’s meeting “many years later” with the adult Nancy: he found it “vaguely amusing” at the time, but it distresses him when he writes it down (406)

Dan likens his life to the lanes around Thorncombe: “going the long way nowhere between high hedges”; he has enjoyed the hedges, he says, but now he wants to “look over them” and get his bearings (416)

In the “Orchard of the Blessed,” Dan’s sense of happiness in an age without comedy (428)
Dan despises camp, except when he feels affection for it (446)
Dan’s mingled concern/guilt/protectiveness/fondness/loss about Jenny (447)
The component of sadness in Dan’s happiness, and his need for complexity, “endless forked roads” (450)
In Jenny’s semi-fictional account of a sexual encounter with her American co-star Steve, she writes that “my body was glad about the sex and my mind was glad about the humiliation” (463)

Dan’s sense of erotic desire while reading Jenny’s third contribution, combined with his sense of loss and dissociation (476)

Caro’s “tacit reproach” toward Dan about his prying questions; her sense of loss in relation to her peers; her feeling happy despite all the “doom and disaster” she hears at work; and her sense that this proves she’s “not very bright” (480-1)

In Cairo, Dan’s sense of rapport with Jimmy Assad’s political cynicism (489)
Conflicts of politeness between Dan and Jane as traveling companions (493)
Dan’s feeling that he is condemned, by genetic endowment and hazard of birth and career, to enjoying the evening with Ahmed Sabry (500)

A stupid woman’s smile of joy (in Sabry’s story), and the angry despair that it touches in Dan (501)
At the wall-carving of Isis and Osiris, Dan’s memory of visiting the place 20 years previously with Andrea (508)
Intimations of mortality, bringing Dan a patina of contentment: “one was dying, perhaps, but one knew more, felt more, saw more” (510)

Dan’s sense of letdown, after the enchantment of the evening, that the night and stars are now “depressing” and “monotonous” (524)

The Barge-borne Queen’s reproach toward his younger companion, and the companion’s sullenness (525)
Dan and Jane’s “heightened sense of personal past and present” during the Nile trip (526)
From Georg Lukács’ writings: angst and whether it is the determining reaction in the human condition (533-4)

Marcia and Mitchell’s boring enthusiasm about their trip to Lebanon and Syria (541)
Dan’s seeing all art as mere tomb-making, “elaborate and futile insurance against the unknown,” yet his feeling “a sense of freedom” about this (550-1)

Dan, Jane, and the Herr Professor’s distance from the cabaret night on the cruise (552-3)
The Herr Professor’s pride and regret about his sons (554), and his conflicted feelings about himself and his country over WWII (554-7)

In the Herr Professor’s “ghost story without a ghost,” his strange experience of “a broken link in time,” and his access to what he calls “the river between” (560-1)

Dan’s heightened sense of “metaphysical pressure” on the cruise, “balanced between outward enjoyment and inward anxiety . . . both calmed and unsettled” (562-3)

At Kom Ombo, Jane cries from sadness and from being “glad to be alive . . . After what seems rather a long time” (565, 575)

Dan and Jane and “this ludicrous emotional no-man’s land they had decreed between them” (567)
Dan’s sense of out-of-body disorientation at the Kobbet el Hawa cliff, of being “an idea in someone else’s mind, not his own” . . . and then “damning death and introspection” (570-2)

Dan’s “disturbing feeling of not being his own master” (579)
A “spurious” bonhomie among passengers at the end of the Nile excursion; expressions of international friendship “like infinitely post-dated checks” (584)

Dan is amused and touched by the Hooper’s excitement about his taking their suggestion about visiting Palmyra, and dislikes conceding that their opinion is valuable (584)

Dan mistrusts his “deep and growing affection” for Jane (586)
Dan’s “attack of the traditional twentieth-century nausea: the otherness of the other” (589)
Dan’s sense of having a deep feeling for art, but “no creative talent for it” (590)
Dan’s shift from resentment into self-reproach over Jane’s “sensitivity to the unsaid” (594)
Dan’s quandary over how to live the present age, to “feel deprived or feel guilty,” in “a world where the future gets more horrible to contemplate every day” (596)

The shift inside Dan during the Goldberg Variations; his feeling “the true difference between Eros and Agape” (600)

Jane’s outward role-playing covers what’s “still boiling away underneath”: “Self-hatred. Guilt. Anger. Things without name” (603)

Suicidal impulses in Jane after Peter left, and her resisting them so as not to provide “some kind of victory for Anthony” (604-5)

Dan’s desire to “long-suffer” Jane (606)
Dan’s strange conflict of feelings after his talk with Jane, like a math equation—rejection, consolation, absurdity, desire . . . and the metaphysical smile that follows, “potential being making peace with actual being” (608-9)

Dan’s “condemned man’s distress” about Jane combined with his sadness at waking up on the last morning of holidays (610)

Jane’s remorse about her contributions to the conversation on the terrace: “All I hate in my sex” (611)
In Beirut, Dan stands beside Jane at a window of couture dresses and wants to say, “I need you beyond all my verbal capacity of defining need”; instead, he plays pocket calculator, and hates Jane profoundly for this interest in gewgaws (614)

Dan’s continue malaise in Beirut: sullen, tired, excluded, unconsoled; his longing to retreat to Thorncombe to “lick wounds”; his exposure to “the guilt of the futility, the horror of existence passed so, like caged animals” (614-6)

Dan’s sardonic happiness during the ride to Palmyra: the passing scenes may be dismal, but at least they match his sour mood (619)

Dan and Jane’s surreal and increasingly bleak journey to Palmyra, and the time-warp strangeness of the Hotel Palmyra (617-626)

Retreating to the car’s warm interior after the bitterly cold and inhospitable atmosphere outside (622)
Dan’s feeling of being “a man driving through nothingness” (628)
Dan’s surprise at feeling tender even toward Jane’s obstinate habit of contradicting him (628)
Abuse of one’s gifts, and the weight of past mistakes and wrong choices (629, 631)
Despair over cross-purposes (630)
Jane’s sense that accepting Dan’s offer would be to betray him, as much as accepting another man’s offer would be to betray him (633)

Dan’s tenderness toward, and irritation at, Jane both deepen at the same time (634)
The stalemate with Jane violates Dan’s deepest sense of destiny and right dramatic development (634)
Perversity and sadness in Jane’s face, “a kind of ultimate being cornered” (635)
The pariah dog following Dan and Jane during their evening walk at Palmyra, “a soul caught between anger and despair” (637)

The men at the hotel grin as if amused to see the foreigners thwarted (637)
A complex interlacing of memories and feelings connected with Dan and Jane’s sexual re-encounter at Palmyra (638-43)

Jane’s continuing fears and scruples, contrasted with Dan’s sense that “something far more profound than hazard” willed their coming together (642)

Palmyra’s desolate immensity and appalling lifelessness (645-50)
Dan being “petrified in sullenness,” Jane “behaving like an inverted Phaedra” (649-50)
Amid the Palmyra ruins, the puppies’ whimpering expresses “an unhappiness from the beginning of existence” (650)

The puppies’ mother has an air of being “both cowed and vicious” (650)
Jane’s tears at Palmyra, her characteristic depth of feeling, her assuming that Dan “must hate” her, her being a self-described “ghastly neurotic female” (651-2)

Dan enjoys prolonging his love of loss a few hours more (656)
Dan and Jenny’s fraught meeting in north London: cross-purposes, awkwardness, bitterness, hurt, with moments of playful mockery and amused curiosity (658-71)

Dan’s misery in knowing that he cannot comfort Jenny “in the only way that might have worked” (666)
Dan and Jenny’s intimate connection is now subject to the comedown of “only reify” (666)
Dan, having sucked the poison of Jenny’s mood at the pub, is left poisoned by it himself (671)
The Rembrandt self-portrait and the feelings it elicits in Dan (671-3)

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Re: The emotional equivalent of "whole sight"

Postby drkellyindc on Mon Mar 16, 2009 7:54 pm

The entries listed above give a sense of the vitality and range of Daniel Martin’s emotional life. Listed out separately, though, the various entries give only the barest hint of how interlinked the novel’s emotional currents are. This excerpt from Peter Wolfe’s review of the novel gives one example of what’s left out:

A literary man’s delight, Daniel Martin features ironies and paradoxes, prefigurings and expanding symbols: One day, Dan has sex with a movie actress in her Curzon Street flat in London; ten years later he’s writing a scene for a movie that centers on the Victorian statesman, Lord Curzon. Yet some three hundred pages fall between these instances.

In addition to “whispered” links like this, countless other connections in the novel are more overt: someone will refer to a comment or action made earlier in the story—sometimes years earlier—and before the novel ends, it will re-emerge as a new insight or motive or cast a new light on what transpired before. Jane’s initial fondness for Rabelais is one example of this; another is what she says to Caro about Dan’s leaving his past behind. Seeing the links between early, middle, and late references to elements like this is one of the abiding pleasures of reading (and re-reading) the novel.

Making such connections, one might reflect on how Proust-like Fowles’s novel is. My June 11, 2008 posting on the “Time for a reassessment” thread explores the Proustian qualities of Daniel Martin. As a follow-up to that, I’m including material here from nine scholars who describe Daniel Martin in Proustian terms. I’ve arranged them chronologically:

  • from David H. Walker, “Subversion of Narrative in the Work of André Gide and John Fowles” (1980):
    . . . the architecture of the book is almost Proustian in its fusion of geographic locations by virtue of the experience of “steeped resonances” (DM, 371) and motifs such as the birds linking the various avatars of ‘la bonne vaux’ (DM, 303-10). The effect of all these features is very similar to that of the intricate patterning discernible in Les Faux-Monnayeurs [André Gide’s The Counterfeiters (1925)]. Both novels are like Daniel’s room at Oxford—lined with mirrors (DM, 61). And the multiplication of complementary perspectives achieves precisely that wholeness of vision which is the authors’ aim. (207)

  • from Robert Alter, “Daniel Martin and the Mimetic Task” (1984):
    Writing . . . after Joyce and Proust, after the Nouveau Roman, and now after structuralism, Fowles has been impelled to make his novels not only illustrative in their mimetic acts but also formally investigative, fashioned as self-conscious artifices that inquire, sometimes with discursive explicitness, into the nature of fiction and the kinds of access it may give us to extraliterary experience. At his best, he can be the most instructive of English novelists . . .

    Daniel Martin’s fumbling search for a Jane perdue is in fact a signal instance of what I have called Fowles’s role as an exemplary novelist. For the primary object of representation and hence of knowledge in the novel as a genre is not scene or event or some image of the historical moment but character, and what Dan’s quest for Jane gives us is a patiently realized demonstration of the process of knowing character.
    (from Alter’s reprinted essay in Critical Essays on John Fowles, 150, 157)

  • from Simon Loveday, The Romances of John Fowles (1985):
    Loveday examines how the verb tenses Fowles uses in the opening chapter of Daniel Martin, “The Harvest,” are comparable to those Proust uses in A la recherche du temps perdu. Loveday asserts that Fowles, like Proust, “is seeking in his style as well as his theme to blur the boundaries between what is unique and what is recurrent.” (106)

  • from Ellen Pifer, Critical Essays on John Fowles, introduction (1986):
    Fowles abandoned, in Daniel Martin, the “orgastic rhythms” of romance narrative for the more contemplative digressions of Proustian consciousness . . . Fowles’s fifth novel represents the elaborate recollections and ruminations of a mind in search not only of lost time but also of moral redemption. . . . By eschewing a “linear and progressive” narration for the densely woven texture of recollection, Fowles implies that he, too, has confronted and been reconciled to his “peculiarly structured” English imagination. (11, 13)

  • from Peter J. Casagrande, Hardy’s Influence on the Modern Novel (1987):
    Pierston’s return to an aging Marcia [in Thomas Hardy’s The Well-Beloved] marks the end of his pursuit of the well-beloved and the end of his art. Daniel’s return to Jane and the prospect of domestic harmony [in Daniel Martin] marks the beginning of his. In this humanistic faith, Fowles is more like Proust than like Hardy, and more like Proust than like his favoured Alain-Fournier. (169-70)

  • from Jacqueline Costello, “When Worlds Collide: Freedom, Freud, and Jung in John Fowles’s Daniel Martin” (1990):
    Like Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past, Gide’s The Counterfeiters, Nabokov’s Pale Fire, or Borges’s Labyrinths, John Fowles’s Daniel Martin presents a protagonist who is also its author and implied reader, thus reminding us of the fictions that order our worlds by overtly linking fiction and life through the novel itself. Fowles analyzes the ways in which fiction can restrict or expand our ideas, our relationships, and our beings as he explores the extent to which one can write and revise one’s life. (31)

  • from Gray Kochhar-Lindgren, “Rewriting Narcissus: Art and the Self in Daniel Martin” (1993):
    But even before the mother’s death is related, an epigraph taken from George Seferis’s poem “Man” announces memory as the theme of the chapter: “What can a flame remember? If it remembers a little less than is necessary, it goes out; if it remembers a little more than is necessary, it goes out. If only it could teach us, while it burns, to remember correctly.” Martin is setting out on a voyage of remembrance--Proust echoes close by—and undertaking his own anamnesis that will, he hopes, unearth the ghosts of the unconscious in order to, at last, bury them properly. (103)

  • from Raymond J. Wilson III, “The Secret Place of Literary Creativity in John Fowles’s Daniel Martin: A Phenomenological Perspective” (1997):
    “As Freud, Bachelard, and Proust all suggest,” says Edward Casey, “to refind place—a place we have always already been losing—we may need to return, if not in actual fact then in memory or imagination, to the very earliest places we have known.” Daniel Martin does both. Yet, even such a return “may not prevail against episodes of place-panic that hold us in their grip more than we may care to admit” (Casey, x). (185)

  • from James Acheson, John Fowles (1998):
    While Dan’s plan to write a novel about his innermost experiences is reminiscent of Marcel’s at the end of A la recherche du temps perdu, he allies himself not with Proust, but with . . . Robin Hood. (71)

- - -
These passages help give substance to the link between Proust’s A la recherche and Fowles’s Daniel Martin. In various ways these authors all use Proust as a map onto Daniel Martin. But what about using Daniel Martin as a map onto Proust? As I said in my June 11, 2008 posting, I think Daniel Martin improves on Proust’s model by bringing the French author’s evocative richness and echo-chamber effects back into a framework that includes robust concern about larger social and political developments, national identity, and the fate of civilization. To me, Proust’s enormous novel is like a Sunday-morning-in-bed reverie; what it stints on are the kinds of clear-sighted objectivity, determination, and outwardness needed at other points during the week.

Proust and Fowles were both mostly sequestered while they wrote these great works, but by then, Fowles had much more to draw on than Proust did in terms of travel and mixing with other nationalities and people outside his class and ethnic background. Proust also had the burden of being the first to go down his specific path for literature; writing 70 or so years later, Fowles was able to take the best traits of Proustian consciousness forward, and leave the rest behind.

Last edited by drkellyindc on Wed Jan 26, 2011 7:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The emotional equivalent of "whole sight"

Postby drkellyindc on Mon Mar 30, 2009 7:41 pm

The life of the emotions in Daniel Martin extends not just to humans but to other animals, to buildings, and to the natural world. Here are some examples:

    At the end of the opening chapter: “Down, half masked by leaves. Point of view of the hidden bird.” (10)

    Of Dan’s property at Thorncombe: “It distressed me when I returned after long infidelities, and seemed to show those mute reproachful eyes that forsaken gardens and buildings acquire.” (73)

    Dan describes the plants at Tsankawi as having “a kind of numen”; Jenny says, “It’s almost a smile . . . look, we’ve lasted longer than you moldy old human beings.” (345)

    A statue of author Thomas Hardy is described as “mournful and traffic-disapproving as ever.” (362)

    Of the trees on the property at Thorncombe, Dan asserts that “they belong to themselves.” (434)

    At least two canines are described in human terms: “a black-and-liver dog with a cowed, much-beaten look, always crouched, neurotic, hyper-alert and Argus-eyed, never a yard from his master’s heels.” (7)

    The dog that threatens Dan and Jane’s evening walk at Palmyra is described as “a soul caught between anger and despair.” (637)

Conversely, one human in the novel is described in canine terms. Dan spots Marcia Hooper secretly watching Jane, and witnesses “a strange look, wistful, almost canine in its lack of envy” (538).

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Re: The emotional equivalent of "whole sight"

Postby drkellyindc on Fri Apr 17, 2009 10:19 am

Lateral vs. vertical scope

My "varieties of emotion" list above supports a lateral understanding of the novel's emotional life, and needs a counterbalancing vertical approach.

To anyone unacquainted with Daniel Martin, my list may look like a sprawling miscellany, with none of the entries having more weight or value than another. Looking at the list apart from the novel's context, it may appear as if Dan’s feelings about his sexual encounter with “the British Open” (144-6), for instance, exist on a par with his feelings about the Rembrandt self-portrait in the final scene (672-3). If this were true, Daniel Martin would fall prey to the same “flatland” effect that philosopher Ken Wilber decries as one of the main failings of postmodernism. In this flatland, everything is brought to the same level, and there's no decisive way of establishing priorities.

Daniel Martin is not in fact emotionally arbitrary; to the contrary, it's dedicated to the reverse proposition--“choosing and learning to feel” (672). The narrator sets up a close link between human evolution and complexity of feeling:
He still clung to his inmost grain of conviction--that freedom, especially the freedom to know oneself, was the driving-force of human evolution; whatever else the sacrifice, it must not be of complexity of feeling, and its expression, since that was where, in social terms, the fundamental magic (or chink in the door) of mutation inside the nucleic-acid helix took place. (562)

To get a better sense of Daniel Martin’s vertical arrangement of emotion, it helps to view the novel through the framework provided by theoretical psychiatrist David R. Hawkins in Power vs. Force. Hawkins’s kinesiological research provides a system of quantifying the levels of human consciousness. His schema begins at the low fields of consciousness and moves upward. From bottom to top, his list of psychological energy states is as follows: “shame,” “guilt,” “apathy,” “grief,” “fear,” “desire,” “anger,” “pride,” “courage,” “neutrality,” “willingness,” “acceptance,” “reason,” “love,” “joy,” “peace,” and “enlightenment.”

Using this framework, one may reconstruct Daniel’s chronological development in the novel:

    from his shame- and guilt-based Church of England upbringing in remote Devon county,

    to the grief lingering after his summer romance with Nancy Reed,

    through his lessons in desire, anger, and pride as an Oxford student, a young playwright, in his marriage to Nell, and in his strained connection with his daughter Caro,

    to his hard-won midlife lessons in willingness, acceptance, and love in his dealings with Jane,

    to the enlightenment phase suggested at the end of chapters such as “Beyond the Door,” “Webs,” “Flights,” and “Future Past.”

This sequence is not linear (nor is it linear in life); still, one can trace Dan’s gradual development in the overall sweep of the book, and also in key transitions. Transitional moments are found in “In the Orchard of the Blessed,” where Dan moves from unconscious guilt about his privilege and enjoyment, to conscious and angry resistance against the dominant artistic and intellectual climate in which he feels imprisoned; and also in “Hollow Men,” where Dan moves from anger to acceptance in his stance toward his former Oxford classmate Bernard.

Daniel Martin also expresses emotional nuances and poetry beyond the scope of this strict schema. Dan has moments of “wisdom beyond his years” in adolescence (“and his heart turns, some strange premonitory turn” [8]), and also has moments of childish regression in middle age (“an unkilled adolescent in him” [11]; “Dan felt a million miles from civilized adulthood” [646]).

Corresponding to the levels of individual consciousness, for Hawkins, are the social levels marked by groups of people at similar energy states, from the "primitive" level through what he calls "enlightenment." The following list suggests how Hawkins’s articulated social levels find expression in Daniel Martin:

    - primitive: in the novel’s Egypt section, the Nile’s fellaheen tribes

    - nomadic: Bedouins and other tribespeople encountered on the road to Palmyra

    - semi-skilled labor: Daniel in “The Harvest” and “Phillida”; Ben and Phoebe as the keepers of Dan's house and garden

    - skilled labor: Bill, Mr. Luscombe, the Reed family and others in “The Harvest” and “Phillida”; Caro as Bernard’s secretary; Roz as a BBC research assistant

    - business structure: Bernard Dillon and the mass-communications industry

    - upper management: film producer David Malevich; Daniel likening his film-work to that of an industrial executive “maintaining the standard of a staple product”

    - intellect: Daniel and his friends at Oxford; Anthony as an Oxford don and intellectual Catholic; discussions between Daniel and Jane

    - endeavors marked by altruism (Anthony’s act of self-sacrifice), love (Daniel’s learning the distinction between Eros and Agape in his dealings with Jane), creativity (Daniel’s assertion “I create, I am: all the rest is dream, though concrete and executed”), and spirituality (the god-like consciousness at the end of “Beyond the Door” and “Webs”).

As with the psychological states, the social levels depicted in Daniel Martin resist being too neatly categorized according to a schema. Implicit in Hawkins's schema is the notion that each level of consciousness looks up to or envies the levels above it; but in the following examples, Daniel is seen envying a number of people who are technically his social inferiors:

    - Dealing with Caro, Dan expresses envy for an American Jewish or working-class father who is not constrained by “the dreadful English middle-class trap of never showing or saying what you really feel” (131);

    - Looking outside Caro's London flat one evening, Dan expresses envy for a tramp he happens to see, due to the man's apparent freedom from the “conventional middle-class behaviors” in which he feels trapped (244-5);

    - At age 16, Dan bitterly envies Bill Hannacott, his rival for Nancy Reed’s affections, due to the older boy's “ease, his knowingness, his being of the Reed’s same earth” (376);

    - Despite their poverty and disease, Dan expresses envy for the fellaheen tribes along the Nile, due to their “simplicities of life in this green and liquid, eternally fertile and blue-skied world.” (527)

Later in the narrative, Dan also expresses envy for the birds he sees along the Nile, who “endured through simplicity,” and represented a “sanctuary from the neuroses, the over-sensitivities, the time-wastings, the illusions and dilemmas of his own hyper-sophisticated species” (542). On his last day in Egypt, Dan envies one warbler in particular, for its seeming contentment and its ability to remain on the Nile (610).

For me, one of the great pleasures of re-reading the novel is noting the beautiful order and lifelike vitality of its emotional life. I continue making new discoveries in the relation between Daniel Martin's lateral register of comprehensiveness and its vertical register of depth. Fowles waits until the next-to-last chapter to spell out the link between Daniel and the lateral mode, and Jane and the vertical mode (649). Truly, one is incomplete without the other.

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Re: The emotional equivalent of "whole sight"

Postby drkellyindc on Mon Jan 31, 2011 9:50 am

Does anything in Daniel Martin shock you?

  • One can be physically shocked: I know two people who reached the rabbit slaughter scene in the opening chapter and were too revolted to continue reading.
  • One can be morally shocked: I know an elderly male reader who stopped reading the novel because he was offended that Dan sleeps around so much.
  • One can be aesthetically or intellectually shocked: given the severe derailing I experienced between the first chapter (“The Harvest”) and the second chapter (“Games”), when I first read the novel at age 23, I was initially ready to call it quits.

In Uses of Literature (2008), Rita Felski examines this frequently overlooked category of reading experience: shock, involving “a reaction to what is startling, painful, even horrifying” (105). Felski describes her initial reaction to mid-twentieth century works such as Peter Weiss’s Marat/Sade, Samuel Beckett’s Endgame, Bertolt Brecht’s The Measures Taken, and Jean-Paul Sartre’s Nausea, which she read as an undergraduate:
Encountering such texts felt like a slap in the face; an exhilarating assault equal parts intellectual and visceral. Here, indisputably, was the literature of extremity, of what [Michel] Foucault and others call “the limit experience,” a bracing blend of solipsism, paranoia, brutality, and despair, where the standard supports and consolations of everyday life are ruthlessly ripped away. (106-7)

Does art today still have this capacity? Do contemporary audiences have the capacity to register shock as earlier generations did? Felski speaks of the “sheer outrage or astonishment” of those encountering the “alien daubs of Picasso or the aphasic stutterings of [Gertrude] Stein” for the first time a century ago, and asks whether this response is less available today than it was to earlier generations (108). Felski considers whether the avant-garde tradition these artists represented lost its edge by becoming fashionable and institutionally accepted. Still, she argues that art retains a power to shock, and that sometimes ancient works can get past our defenses better than modern ones.

I assembled the list below to see what forms of shock Daniel Martin contains. Looking at it, I see that it’s more invested in everyday forms of shock than with extreme forms. It has more to do with “the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to” (a phrase from Hamlet’s soliloquy) than with avant-garde shock. Compared with the mid-century German and French figures on Felski’s undergraduate reading list--Weiss, Beckett, Brecht, and Sartre—the Englishman Fowles may appear tame. However, Fowles belongs to the artistic generation after these writers; for me, part of the intellectual shock of reading him comes in how he challenges their existential worldview (see, for example, The Magus, chapter 1; The French Lieutenant’s Woman, chapter 41; and Daniel Martin, “In the Orchard of the Blessed”).

Fowles is wise to numerous forms of false shock. (I can just imagine what he’d make of the military phrase “shock and awe.”) Noticing Jane on the night after she’s widowed, Dan has to resist Hollywood-cliché forms of shock (“Her ravaged face shows the horror of the previous night”) (225). “Headline shock” is also suspect, since, as Dan tells Caro, “Newspapers live on doom and disaster. Good for circulation” (481). But there’s a deeper reason for Fowles to explore everyday shock over the kinds that make sensational headlines. Note Dan’s reaction to the Reeds’ leaving Thorncombe: “it seemed a worse denial of natural order than all the far greater upheavals going on in the outer world” (404). The upheavals that make national and international headlines, he suggests, don’t serve as the ultimate guide to how individuals register and feel change.

The list below describes what shocks characters in the novel, not necessarily what shocks readers of the novel. So, what does shock readers of the novel? (Your replies are welcome!) No two readers will have the same experience. One example from my own reading of the book:
    Dan the narrator says almost parenthetically at one point that Dan and Jane’s making love at Oxford could be termed good “as great yet immoral art can be good” (95). This phrase stood out for me because I didn’t understand how art could be “great yet immoral.” “Shock” may be too strong a word to describe my response; it’s more like a puzzle piece that doesn’t fully fit, and that I return to every so often.

Also missing from this list is the category “shock of recognition”—the laser-sharp observations offered by the novel’s narrators. For instance, see Dan’s withering description of a “typical British film production” (142); his extended critique of the mass-media industry (277-8); his summary judgment against Oxford (157-8); and Jenny’s cauterizing opinions about the U.S. (249-50). Frankly, Dan’s description of a film critic’s “pathological egocentricity” (102) resurfaces for me whenever I consider going back into film criticism, which I did part-time in my twenties and thirties. I know there are film critics who rise above mere egotism, but I have to confess there was a lot more of my ego invested in the film review work I did than I could own up to at the time. My response to Fowles here is “ouch” and “thank you.”

There’s some overlap between the list below and the ones above, which is to be expected, since any feeling can be mingled with shock. The list is long, though it’s incomplete, and I’m sure that another person’s list would look different.

Warning: this list has many spoilers.



First chapter: in “a few world-cleaving seconds” a WWII German Heinkel fighter plane passes close overhead, “screaming in an agony of vicious fear”; 15-year-old harvest helper Dan, slightly drunk from apple cider, looks up from near an ash tree in Old Batch field, and suddenly “knows he is about to die” (5)

Rabbits exposed in the wheat-harvest are pursued and slaughtered for food (6-8). The reaper Lewis is driving slices off a rabbit’s hind legs; lifting the injured rabbit, Dan sees “the red stumps . . . balls of excrement fall from the anal fur. Convulsive jerking, another scream.” In a chopping motion, Dan tries twice unsuccessfully to end the rabbit’s misery; his third try is successful, and then he throws it on a pile of about 20 other corpses. The tears he sheds about this incident come later in his life (8).

The extreme transition from the first chapter to the second chapter (10-1) (see my August 10, 2009, posting on the “Getting Started” thread)

The call Dan receives from Oxford (17-8, 44-7)

While punting one day in an Oxford river, Jane and Dan discover a female corpse among the reeds (22-6)

On hearing that Anthony wants to see him, Dan feels “like a man whose foot finds an abyss instead of a pavement” (45)

Dan, faced with the decision whether to return to Oxford to see Anthony again, is likened to a surfer “suddenly caught on the crest, and hurled forward” (47)

In the aftermath of their discovery of the woman in the reeds, Dan is startled by Jane’s admissions and level of candor (59)

Abe is upset by Dan’s claim that British anti-Semitism springs from sheer envy: he snarls, “You poor sons of bitches . . . deprived of the gas-ovens . . .” (68)

Dan describes his generation as “on the rack, forced into one of the longest and most abrupt cultural stretches in the history of mankind” (89)

Meteorological shock: at age 11, Dan carries “misery and a large black umbrella through a perfect afternoon” (93)

Dan and Jane’s pre-coital conversation at Oxford is “awful,” in the sense of being dreadful, terrifying, appalling (94)

Barney nearly discovers Dan and Jane together in Dan’s room; Dan says he was “Never so frightened, before or since” (96)

Dan learns that his daughter Caro is working for his previous Oxford classmate, Barney, and then that they’re having an affair (103, 126)

The “hidden cancer” in Dan and Nell’s marriage, and its “hopeless downward progression” (149)

Nell’s alarm at hearing about Dan’s apparent infidelity with Andrea (153)

Andrea, subject to her husband’s “terrifying egomania” (177), is finally overwhelmed, and takes her life (156-7); her suicide depresses Dan for weeks (157)

The desire to shock: with his personal-revenge play “The Victors,” Dan is “like some tyro urban guerrilla with his first bomb” (175)

A few months after the fact, Jane tells Anthony that she and Dan went to bed in their last year at Oxford (184, 215); Anthony takes it badly (214), and can never forget it (241). Nearly a quarter-century later, Anthony startles Dan by telling him that Jane revealed their secret and that he’s known about it all along (184)

Dan’s sense of unreality after leaving Anthony’s hospital room--his “greatest shock” being the idea that Jane may have been more affected than Dan by their tryst at Oxford (196)

Dan slowly realizes how “snubbingly elsewhere” Jane is, and has to deal with her barbed questions and tacit hostility during their Italian dinner (197-203)

Jane shocks Dan in her responses (in their student days and in 1974), and in their timing; she targets a bombshell for maximum effect during their Italian dinner: “I’m also thinking of joining the Communist Party”; Dan momentarily reveals a “fatuously surprised face” (200)

The French au pair Gisele’s extreme concern about what’s happened at the hospital, and her incomprehension about Dan and Jane’s relatively cold-blooded response (205, 209, 211)

The shock of Anthony’s death by suicide, as the news is first received and travels to members of the family (208, 210, 211, 223); see also 226-7 and 242

Dan is startled at Jane’s lack of shock about Anthony’s suicide—she seems more offended than shocked by it (208, 210)

Jane is startled by her daughter Roz’s blasé attitude toward her affair with Peter (230)

Dan flinches to hear Roz refer to herself as his “forgotten goddaughter” (236)

Jenny’s initial shock at Dan’s decision to fly to Oxford (248)

In a native-American joke Dan tells: the shock of a Long Island girl at seeing her horse painted bright orange (252)

Marjory is “vaguely shocked” to see that Dan isn’t “running a home for waifs and strays” (260); her reaction at seeing a dog’s poor performance at the races (262)

Dan’s reaction at Miriam and Marjory’s sudden departure (268)

Miriam and Marjory’s reaction to hearing that Dan hasn’t been to the dog-races (269)

Caro’s feeling that Dan doesn’t understand how she misses him; and her shock at hearing from Jane about Dan’s tendency to cut himself off from his past (i.e., implying that she will also be left behind) (283)

The “horror of landing” that drives Dan onward (293)

Dan’s reaction at receiving Jenny’s first contribution: it stops a morning for him, and leaves him “slightly stunned” that she could be so honest (304-5)

Anthony’s unspoken response to his family’s departure from Catholicism, and to his becoming isolated in the household (309)

The impact to Jane of Peter breaking up with her, his having “formed a new attachment” in the U.S. (313, 409-10)

The extended family’s need to deal with the brooding teenage son Paul (313, et al)

Gradual historical shock for Lord Andrew Randall and his burden of “land, house, tradition, family” (328)

Miles Fenwick’s gift for being “a shade sharper, more contradictory, more outrageous than normal convention permits” (330)

Conversational shocks during Fenwick’s conversation: his black-millennial beliefs and likening Britain’s future to the fate of the Titanic (332-6)

Dan’s sense of absurdity after the talk with Fenwick (336-7)

Nell baits her sister Jane by self-mockingly calling herself “square and quite delicious to provoke” (340)

Jenny’s stymied and grief-stricken response to Tsankawi (355-6)

Anthony’s hatred/fear of what cannot be precisely defined and classified, such as a hybridizing species of orchid (361)

Dan’s first love Nancy Reed, at age 16: “Phillida flouts me” (368, 407)

Dan’s “brutal,” “atrocious letdown” at Nancy’s indicating that she’s not interested in him but in Bill Hannacott instead (373)

Nancy’s double reversal, from seeming offense at Dan to letting him kiss her (382)

Dan’s shock of erotic joy with Nancy, “the loudest cocklecockadoo of all his life” (382)

Dan “in a panic of fear” as stones are thrown at him (397); his terror of fighting Bill H. face to face (397); his imagining Bill inflicting a fatal gunshot wound, and his dying prematurely (397)

News from home that deeply shocks Dan: “Thorncombe was up for sale.” He is incredulous: “Thorncombe without the Reeds! I couldn’t imagine it, in some way it seemed a worse denial of natural order than all the far greater upheavals going on in the outer world” (403-4)

Nancy is “hideously embarrassed” to meet Dan again in 1969 (405); Dan himself is also distressed by this meeting (406)

As an arts graduate, Jane confesses that she is “left helpless in front of economists and people like that” (413)

Jane seems mortified by Dan’s Egypt trip idea (422-5, 442)

In Dan’s trepidation about his planned novel, he likens himself to a tobogganer on a steeper slope than he realized (427)

To Dan’s relief, Jane’s daughter Roz is not shocked by Dan’s Egypt trip plan—in fact is insensed that Jane resists it (442), and suggests she’ll make it happen “at gunpoint if necessary” (443)

Jenny is shocked that, having written her 3rd contribution, she went ahead and sent it to Dan (444-6)

Jenny shocked by Dan’s news about a planned Egypt trip with his ex-sister-in-law (453-5)

Jenny’s third contribution, with its foray into Southern California sexual permissiveness (457-72)

Jenny’s appalled discovery that Dan lied to her about Steve Anderson’s being the filmmakers’ second choice for a leading male (461)

Jenny shocks Steve by removing her clothes and posing à la Goya’s “The Maja Nude” (462)

Jenny, in bed with Steve, is startled and embarrassed by Kate’s entrance (464), and at being “caught” (466)

Jenny’s response to the prospect of having sex with both Steve and Kate (468-9); then “trying to feel shocked” (470); her feelings about Kate’s advances (470-1)

By the time Jenny’s 3rd contribution reaches Dan, they’ve talked about it enough that it’s “not altogether a shock” (473)

Shock tactics to intensify a performance: the possibly apocryphal story of filmmaker Carl Dreyer’s locking actress Maria Falconetti in an actual dungeon prior to having her portray the martyred Joan of Arc (474)

Dan’s foreboding prior to the Egypt trip—imagining a plane-crash, the prospect of never seeing Thorncombe again (476-7)

Nell’s “initial shock” at hearing of Dan and Jane’s Egypt trip, being “a little breathless,” as well as “amazed” that Jane remembers she has reactions (477-8)

Nell’s take on Jane’s foray to Egypt: “I suspect the culture shock may do her good” (478)

Caro’s mock-surprise about her dad’s plans to take her aunt Jane to Egypt, and Dan’s mocking response: “I find some of you young people very behind the times” (478-9)

Dan is startled to learn that Barney’s wife found out about her husband’s affair with Caro (479)

Shock as infotainment: newspapers’ relying on “doom and disaster” for circulation (481)

On the flight to Cairo, Dan harbors doubts about the trip ahead (486)

On landing in Cairo, Dan and Jane face the “immediate plunge into the non-European world,” with the airport like “a country at war . . . an upset hive” (487-8)

Jane’s “People-shock” on reading about the Nile’s impoverished fellaheen populace (496-7)

Satirical playwright Ahmed Sabry and what he dares to say publicly, with his cabaret-cum-music hall act (494), and at the soiree (498-500)

Jane’s bracing introduction to the Nile’s “medical horrors” and bilharzia (496)

Dan’s “slight resentment” that Jane seems more at ease with strangers at the soiree than she does with him (501)

Approaching the Temple of Karnak, Dan wonders how Jane will respond to the “first full frontal assault of ancient megalomania” (507-8)

A local man thrusts a mummified foot at Dan and Jane: “a hideous shape, like something in a [Francis] Bacon painting” (510)

Jane is alarmed to hear about deception in the Egyptian antiquities trade (512-3)

Jane is “faintly shocked” as Dan confronts her about her Oxford-based “Socratic method” conversation habits (531)

Reading the Hungarian theorist Georg Lukács discomfits the “arrived bourgeois” in Dan (534)

On the Abydos day-tour, the travelers are distressed by the poverty of the villages and their inhabitants (535); Dan senses an “obscure bewilderment” in Jane, though he hopes it is “less a shock at the helpless immensity of the Third World problem than a realization of the parochial irrelevance of so much politics at home” (536)

At Dan’s comparing the ancient Ramses the Second to the modern Lord Kitchener, the Herr Professor responds, “Such cynicism, Mr. Martin. This is most shocking” (548)

The fracas erupting during an impromptu roadside “scorpion show” involves, for Dan, a “triple blasphemy” (551)

For the cabaret night, the “Barge-borne Queen”’s boyfriend, made up as Tutankhamun, looks “alarmingly hermaphroditic” (552)

The Herr Professor’s gradual awareness of Germany’s descent into fascism, and then his tears—for himself and his race—at seeing news of the Jewish genocide (555)

The Herr Professor’s “ghost story without a ghost”: his “curious sense of a living presence not his own” (559-60)

A heightened pressure in Dan (562); an “internal anxiety about the future” (563); a feeling of being split “between a known past and an unknown future” (579)

As the Nile trip nears its end, Dan feels grief over “the return of reality” (568)

The town of Aswan, with its “ugly adjuncts of twentieth-century technology and war,” comes “as a shock, brutally interrupting the increasingly barren solitude” (569)

Dan’s sense of metaphysical dislocation while visiting the Kobbet el Hawa cliff (570-2)

Jane is “aghast” at an Egyptian girl’s sudden gift of a bead necklace (574-5)

Jane reveals what upset her so much the night of Anthony’s suicide (576)

Dan and Jane’s embarrassment at Islamic boatman Omar’s kneeling to pray in the felucca (579)

Jane’s alarm over Dan’s preparations to extend their trip by going to Syria (581)

Dan’s aesthetic shock at visiting Aswan’s New Cataract Hotel (585)

Dan’s artistic “terror of the task: that making of a world, alone, unguided, now mocked, like some distant mountain peak, mediocrity in his dressing-gown” (590)

Dan and Jane’s distress during their talk on the terrace at the Old Cataract Hotel (601-8)

Dan is set back by Jane’s initial reaction to his suggestion that they explore a relationship: he feels like a gambler “faced with the realities of probability”; or a swimmer who underestimates how cold the water will be; still, he is heartened by noting that Jane “had not been shocked, not walked away, not laughed” (602-3)

Jane recalls her plummeting feelings, and her impulse to take her life, after Peter left for Harvard (604-5)

Dan’s pressing deeper matters on Jane appears to “freeze” her (607)

Dan’s wry awareness of “the great step in the dark . . . from terra firma to banana-skin” (609)

Dan and Jane’s “foul flight to Beirut,” with passengers vomiting, and fears about mortality (612-3)

Dan’s sense of “metaphysical humiliation” as his hopes of Jane fade (613-4); his taking what seems like a trip to nowhere, for “an exorbitant fare”; unable to take refuge in an organization, as his father had, he is fully exposed to “the horror of existence passed so, like caged animals” (615)

Dan’s departing look at two “available” young women at an American-style bar in Beirut: “a contemptuous cold gray stab of the eyes,” before he retreats to his “carpeted, luxurious and inhuman cell” of a hotel room (616)

Increasingly surreal sights on the road to Palmyra (617-24), such as the Krak des Chevaliers (619); a man by the roadside holding out a dead teal (621); and the atmosphere of the town of Homs, “like the edge of a limbo nearest to a hell” (621-2)

The macabre strangeness of Palmyra’s Hotel Zenobia (624-6)

Jane and Dan’s rising distress during their talk before dinner at the hotel (630-3); Jane is visibly set back by Dan’s suggesting that, in their student days at Oxford, she “murdered something in all three of us” (631)

Jane’s obstinacy and refusal offends Dan personally, as well as his “archetypal sense . . . of right dramatic development” (634)

The reek of paraffin in Jane’s room at Palmyra (636)

A dog’s menacing bark cuts short Jane and Dan’s after-dinner walk outside the hotel (637)

Dan’s “delicious shock” at his first carnal connection with Jane since their student days; dropping out of the intellectual and public into the physical and private (639)

Dan’s shock at waking up alone at Palmyra—Jane’s disappearing during the night feels to him “unforgivable, inhumane” (644-5); he’s outraged by her casualness, and feels a terrible foreboding about whether he’s dealing with “something pathological, conditioned beyond remedy” (646)

Dan’s first glimpse of Palmyra in daylight (645)

Dan’s feeling that destiny is having a revenge on him (650)

The feral puppies and Jane’s response to them (650-2)

Dan lets go of his previous mood as if it were “sand” (651)

Jane’s inability to face the “simple optimism” that the puppies’ mother will return (653)

Dan is “infinitely puzzled” by Jane’s gesture as she kneels privately in the sand (654)

The bizarreness of finding an underground sulfur bath at Palmyra (655-6)

Jenny’s bitterness at losing Dan, and his sucking up “the poison of her mood in the pub” during their strained final conversation (658-71)

The metafictional, Mantissa-like shock of Jenny’s slipping momentarily into the role of “a figment in someone’s imagination”—i.e., of being a character in Dan’s novel rather than a live human being (668)

Dan’s encounter with the late Rembrandt self-portrait, which tells a truth at odds with its 18th-century drawing-room setting (672)

Dan’s sense of vertigo, in front of the Rembrandt painting, as considers the distances he has to return (672)

Dan’s father unwittingly terrified him in his youth by insisting that Christ’s eyes followed him wherever he went (673)

Jane laughs at Dan’s notion that he’s “found a last sentence for the novel he was never going to write” (673)

The reader’s surprise at finding an “ill-concealed ghost” in the final sentence, and the suggestion that this entity has somehow transposed the novel’s first and last sentences (673).

- - - - -

As a follow-up to the examples I listed at the top of this posting, of people being shocked by Daniel Martin’s rabbit slaughter in the opening chapter, and by Dan’s sexual infidelities—
I’ve also heard the reverse of these valuations: that the novel’s opening chapter, for instance, is “Fowles’ greatest excursion in prose” (Thomas M. Wilson); and that Daniel’s gradual recovery from his noncommittal stance toward women is one of the most moving aspects of the novel. Also, as I explain elsewhere, my response to the “derailing” I experienced between chapters one and two has changed a lot over the years.

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Re: The emotional equivalent of "whole sight"

Postby drkellyindc on Mon Jun 20, 2011 4:15 am


I wonder what Fowles would have made of the word “bromance.”

Daniel Martin helps us imagine male bonding taken seriously, beyond the trappings of comic Hollywood buddy pictures such as “I Love You, Man” and “Superbad.”

- - -
Here’s a shorthand version of Dan’s account of the “bromance” between him and Anthony in their early twenties at Oxford:

Dan still felt a baffled privilege, to have got on so well with Anthony—baffled because he still couldn’t really understand what the brilliant Wykehamist saw in him. He knew much better what he had himself taken from the relationship—the contact with a much more fastidious and incisive intellect, with a psyche far more certain of both external and internal values, far less easily corrupted by new ideas and the ephemeral. (55-6)

But there was that one great flaw: he could never quite shake off a deep, though carefully hidden, conviction that it was a friendship between unequals. (56)

On Dan’s profound connection to nature, which he relegates to a “secret” about his past, carefully guarded even from close friends:
Anthony and I originally moved from cursory acquaintance—being of the same year at the same college and with a shared staircase to our rooms—to friendship precisely because of this ‘secret.’ . . . I had in my teens fallen prey a little to the orchid mystique. I disclaimed anything more with Anthony, and thereby disclaimed the whole buried continent that nature had been for me in my adolescence. (69)

I had always thought Anthony priggishly above the rest of us, a typical Greats scholar . . . (70)

On Dan and Anthony’s mutual interest in orchids:
He wanted to know more; where I had botanized, how serious I was. I was flattered, I suppose—this apparently fastidious and already reputedly brilliant young professor in embryo had time for me. He once said, years later, when I’d been ribbing him about a newspaper report of some flagrantly fake stigmatization in Italy, “I’m surprised you don’t believe in miracles, Dan. How else did we meet?” (70)

He took me out to Watlington one day very soon afterward; and that led to other days, and other knowledges of each other. But we first surmounted the barriers between us across orchids. (70)

Another even more important realization came much later: that he was a kind of father-substitute, though we were almost exactly the same age. The idea would have outraged me at the time, and killed the friendship, as I believed I had consciously “killed” the spirit of my father and his antiquated world. I do not know if Anthony realized this. He was certainly sufficiently astute to have done so, though he had no time for Freud. I am trying to say that he was good for me in the sense that he resurrected, if only very tenuously and intermittently, a self—or an unresolved dilemma—I had foolishly tried to dismiss; and nefarious in the sense that our relationship was set in a minefield. (71)

In our orchid-hunting I never really rose above the role of shikari—I found the game, he shot it. . . I wanted to find the flowers, he wanted to establish some new subspecies. (71)

Dan’s introducing Anthony and Jane originates in Dan’s insecure wish to impress Anthony:
One day at the Kemp, wanting to show off to Anthony, I introduced him to her. She was groaning about Descartes, some essay she had to write; Anthony began to explain. I had to go to a tutorial and I left them, secretly amused that two such unlikely people should have found anything in common. (72)

Anthony and Jane’s connection after this introduction becomes more serious, and they eventually become formally engaged before graduating. Then, on the day that Jane and Dan discover a dead woman in the reeds, they admit their feelings for each other, and act upon them. Having been seduced by Jane, and made love to her, Dan reflects:
. . . It had happened, that was the essential; and all kinds of buried feelings of inferiority toward Anthony lay mysteriously but profoundly alleviated. (98)

After Anthony marries Jane, and Dan marries Nell, the four of them spend an idyllic holiday in Italy, which culminates in a visit to the coast at Tarquinia. They go for a night-bathe in the phosphorescent sea, and Dan has this epiphany:
The profound difference between Anthony and myself—and our types of mankind—is that I did for a few moments there feel unaccountably happy; yet I could see that for him, the supposedly religious man, this was no more than a faintly embarrassing midnight jape. Or I can put it like this: he saw me as the brother-in-law he liked, I saw him as the brother I loved. (116)

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Re: The emotional equivalent of "whole sight"

Postby drkellyindc on Sat Jul 16, 2011 11:16 am


As a follow-up to the last post—some further thoughts about bromance.

1. Andrew and Mark.

Dan and Anthony’s friendship isn’t the only Oxford-based bromance in the novel. As Jane and Dan are punting the Cherwell River just before discovering a woman’s body among the reeds, they pass two other students, Andrew Randall and his older friend Mark, who have also been punting together. Andrew and Mark are sprawled in opposite ends of their moored punt, sharing a bottle of champagne as they read for finals (21-2). In this description of how Andrew and Mark are connected, a whole network of Andrew’s other “bromances” opens up:

The student called Mark, who is several years older than the other two, tanned, a moustache, clear gray eyes, known only to Daniel as some obscure crony of Andrew Randall, who has obscure cronies everywhere, stands and steps ashore. (24)

Fowles mostly leaves to our imagination what these two see in each other. Their friendship may initially seem unlikely: Andrew is dandyish and outrageous, behaving like an upper-crust “languid fool” (233), whereas Mark is brusque and peremptory, a hardened WWII serviceman who “landed at Anzio”—that is, helped establish a beachhead during the Allied invasion of Italy in January 1944, and fought in the ensuing Battle of Anzio (24).

One unfortunate trait shared by Andrew and Mark is condescension toward Dan; Dan senses in both of them “a contempt for him . . . the bohemian, the effete middle-class aesthete” (25). However, more than this connects them: Andrew and Mark stay in contact after Oxford, and their friendship lasts for decades. In the late 1950s Mark sells his farm in Hampshire county, and takes up farming in New Zealand; he recurrently attempts to get Andrew to join him there (327).

Andrew and Mark inherit this type of friendship from their fathers’ generation, which was chronicled by novelist Evelyn Waugh (1903-1966). (See Fowles’s nod to Waugh on p. 233, and the Wikipedia entry on Waugh. Waugh’s celebrated novel Brideshead Revisited deals overtly with same-sex attraction among Oxford men, and could serve as a bromance origin story.) This privileged male bonding, and the next-generation nostalgia for it, carry a strong patrician downside. However, more positively, it also involves a structure of feeling, and it seems to me that this aspect survives to the present day, despite changes in gender and class codes.

More material on bromance elements among Andrew’s social class appears in the famous ball for Andrew’s 21st birthday (123-4).

A minor bromance in the novel emerges when Dan and Andrew come back into each other’s orbit, as Dan’s ex-wife Nell announces her plans to marry Andrew. Dan and Andrew improvise a way of connecting despite their differences in politics and class (125-6, 211, 232-3, 316-8, 326-8).


2. What Dan and Anthony need from each other.

A more emotionally complete picture of the Dan/Anthony bromance emerges in the decades after Dan’s studenthood. When Dan visits Anthony in the hospital, the two of them are at last able to admit what they lost over the many years they were estranged (“I’ve missed you in far more places than that, Anthony,” 181). The situation is more poignant for Anthony, since he faces terminal cancer, and the suggestion is that “over the years he had acquired no replacements” for his friendship with Dan (191). Whereas Dan eventually outgrows the need for Anthony as his “father substitute” (71), there’s a strong hint that Anthony never outgrows his need for a connection with Dan—even if it is sustained in Dan’s absence, and in the knowledge of Jane’s infidelity with Dan while she was engaged to Anthony.

About the infidelity, Anthony reveals that he felt not hatred but rather envy toward Dan—Anthony saw him as “a corrective . . . to the would-be pure in spirit” (185). In their student days, Jane had reassured Dan that Anthony was genuinely fond of him, and not merely tolerating him out of politeness, as he did with Nell. Jane says to Dan, “No, you pass. You’re a child of nature. His proof he’s not a prig” (59). I interpret Anthony as silently cherishing his friendship with Dan through the years after graduation for the same reason: given his profession as an Oxford don, some part of him needs continued proof that he’s not a prig. Anthony’s habit of holding on to the past contributes to his remaining emotionally childlike (182, 188-9, 214).


3. Barney Dillon’s outsider status.

Another aspect of Oxford chumminess and bromance emerges in Barney Dillon’s view about having been excluded from it. Most readers find little sympathy for Barney, the Oxford gossip columnist who becomes a “jaundiced TV idol” (321) and has an affair with Dan’s daughter Caro. However, Barney reveals a more vulnerable side as he confesses to Dan what he felt back at Oxford: “I got so pissed off with intellectual women at Oxford. I used to envy you. Your lot. Never quite making it with you” (272). Not only was he excluded by Dan’s “clever” circle of friends, but he lets his resentment about this inform his subsequent relationships (272-3). That is, just as Dan rebelled against his father’s way of life and is “conditioned . . . by antithesis” (79), so is Barney conditioned by his rebellion against the pattern he saw at Oxford. His solution turns out to be no more successful than Dan or Jane’s. Paralleling Jane and Anthony’s stalemated north Oxford marriage, Barney has a stalemated Muswell Hill marriage with Margaret (272-3).


4. Belonging and exile intertwined.

In the chapter “The Sacred Combe” (a.k.a. la bonne vaux or “the valley of abundance”), all these “bromance” aspects come together in Dan’s reflection about his literary forebears. He says he and his forebears all share a concern for “the confraternity, the secret society, who have known, and known exile from, la bonne vaux” (294). Having been on the inside and outside of various charmed circles myself, I’m grateful to Fowles for articulating this theme.

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Re: The emotional equivalent of "whole sight"

Postby drkellyindc on Sun Aug 28, 2011 3:49 pm


In the chapter “Beauty and Ritual” in A Blessed Rage for Order (1991), the scholar Alexander Argyros writes,
Human beings tend to live in the subjunctive and conditional moods, carving out hypothetical regions of the world in which to situate the most treasured components of their Being. (285)

Fowles’s use of such subjunctive and conditional moods accounts for a great deal of Daniel Martin’s emotional content. Recurrently the narrative takes an inward turn as Dan works out his response to people and events around him. (To a lesser degree, this happens with the novel’s other narrator, Jenny, as well.) Examples of the subjunctive and conditional are found throughout the novel, yet with particular emphasis in the second half. Some prominent examples:

  • Narrative accounts by both Dan and Jenny in the chapter “Tsankawi” (343-356)

  • Dan’s late-night walk in his Thorncombe orchard, in the chapter “In the Orchard of the Blessed” (427-432)

  • Dan’s psychological reflections in the chapter “Rain” (433-56)

  • In the chapter “Pyramids and Prisons,” Dan’s reflections while he and Jane take a taxi from the Assad’s party in Cairo, on the first evening of their Egypt trip (503)

  • In the chapter “Flights,” Dan’s internal response to his close conversation with Jane on the Old Cataract Hotel terrace, after sundown on the day of their last Kitchener’s Island visit (599-609)

Here’s a full-paragraph example of this subjunctive and conditional technique. In the chapter “Barbarians,” as Dan and Jane return to the boat from an excursion to Luxor, Egypt, Dan gradually comes to an insight about his behavior with Jane:

Dan was very slowly realizing something: that he was looking or seeking for her old self as if it were a reality she was deliberately hiding from him; which was not only, of course, to dismiss the much greater reality of all that had happened since, but betrayed a retardation in himself, a quasi-Freudian searching for the eternally lost, his vanished mother. There too, as with his father, he was much more deeply conditioned than he could easily admit. Something in him must always look for that, even in much younger women—one could invert the whole process and say he was looking for the Jenny in Jane still. All his close relationships with women, even his completely asexual ones (like that with Phoebe, which he had long recognized carried a very minor, comic, yet perceptible mother-son charge), were variations on the model; and broke down precisely because they could not support what his unconscious demanded of them. It was fundamentally absurd, a repetition compulsion, and his disappointments and vague resentments with Jane sprang very largely from it. He made a mental resolve: I must start treating this woman as she is. (514)

As I see it, Daniel Martin’s emotional contents lie much more in passages like this than in the outward drama of decisions made and concrete steps taken. Fowles underscores this by having Dan come to the most important decision of his life, and then indicating he won’t reveal what it is (431-32). Fowles also gives much more emphasis to Jane’s inward-directed concerns than to the outward decisions she arrives at (see 409-14, 564-65, and 593-94). Like Argyros, Fowles realizes that human subjunctive and conditional “in-between” moods account for a great deal more of our lives than the official outward evidence of our plans and decisions do.

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