Some comments on posts from Rick and Marcia:
In a message dated 2/9/03 7:52:09 PM EST, [log in to unmask] writes:
> I'm lost here Steve. It looks as if you are saying
> that Marie said "And down we went." but **NOT**
> "I'm not Russian. I'm from Lithuania. Pure German."
> You are imagining a conversation here--who
> do you imagine DID speak the "Bin gar ..."
> line? Certainly not Verdenal!
> Rick Parker
I think the 'Lithuanian' line was spoken by a Lithuanian, which Marie is
not. I envision it spoken by an unnamed Lithuanian companion of Marie, whom
the narrator and his own companion (whom I envision to be a 'transformed'
version of Eliot and Verdenal) meet in the Hofgarten.
In a message dated 2/9/03 8:15:05 PM EST, [log in to unmask] writes:
> Is there someone who knows the logic of coming
> from Lithuania (not and never a part of Germany)
> and being a true German? I don't get it.
Marcia, you ask the $64,000 question, and I think it's central to
understanding the Hofgarten passage. Historically, Lithuania was repeatedly
conquered, first by Russia and then by Germany. Lithuania did not gain
independence until after WW1. And, in any event, I don't think a Lithuanian
national would consider themselves to be a true German or a true Russian.
So, quite apart from the history of WW1, the poetic question, as always,
is: WHY is that line there? I'll readily admit I'm not sure and I'd welcome a
list discussion. Here are some observations, for what they are worth:
The line is a line of protestation: "I'm **NOT THIS**, I'm THAT!". It
sounds to me like a flustered protestation that contains a readily
identifiable error, as in, "I'm not from Boston University! I'm from Yale --
a pure Californian!" (Yale University, for those who don't know, is in
Connecticut, not California).
My humble speculation arises out of what I imagine to be the context of
the Hofgarten conversation: Marie and her companion are sitting in the
Hofgarten, and two young guys show up (the narrator and his partner). Could
it be that the two guys have to field endless questions about the nature of
their relationship? Is the "I'm not Russian! I'm pure German!" meant to echo
a too-often repeated protestation of "We're not gay; we're just friends. Pure
Anyway, whatever you think (and I'll bet lots of cash that you don't agree
with me), you are quite correct to try to make sense of this deliberately
mysterious line. I think it holds a big clue.
-- Steve --