This website is an interactive academic
tool for CEA-UNH course:
Gay Paris:
Culture, Society, & Urban Sexual Identity

CEA GlobalCampus | Spring 2009
UNH Course Code: GEN230
Credits: 3 | Location: Paris, France

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

NIghtwood: Chapter 6 | Where the Tree Falls

Chapter Summary

We see the reintroduction of Baron Felix and his son, Guido, in this chapter. Felix is concerned about his son, who is described as, "Mentally deficient, and emotionally excessive, an addict to death; at ten, barely as tall as a child of six, wearing spectacles, stumbling when he tried to run, with cold hands and anxious face, he followed his father, trembling with an excitement that was a precocious ecstasy." (p. 96)

Guido is interested in entering the church and this disturbs Felix. He writes a long letter to the Pope comparing religious and cultural styles between Italy and France. As expected, he recieves no answer. He decides to return to Austria, hoping that Guido's religious career can transpire there. Before leaving Paris, Felix seeks out the doctor and finds him at Cafe de la Mairie du VIe. They go to dine in the Bois together.

They discuss Robin (Guido's mother). Felix says, "I find that I never did have a really clear idea of her at any time. I had an image of her, but that is not the same thing. An image is a stop the mind makes between uncertainties." (p. 100)

He asks the doctor why Robin married him and then tells the doctor that Jenny Petherbridge had come to see him. While there, Jenny spoke of the little girl, Sylvia, who had been at her home with Robin. Jenny tells of how this little girl had fallen in love with Robin and in the end, Robin treated the child with abandon - a story which distresses young Guido. Felix confesses his fears about his son to the doctor and they end the discussion with Robin.

The chapter ends in Vienna, where Guido and Felix are met by Frau Mann. The odd triangle sits in a cafe and the Baron cannot escape his own obsessions with the higher classes and ranks.

What is the symbolism behind Jenny Petherbridge's desire to purchase one of the portraits of Baron Felix's grandparents?

litanies (p. 97): prayers consisting of a number of petitions

chasubles (p. 97):

the Credo (p. 97): statement of religious belief

Kabyle (p. 99): an ethnic group in Algeria

Grand Marnier (p. 100): is a liqueur created in 1880 by Alexandre Marnier-Lapostolle

Sections to think about:

"There was in her [Robin] every movement a slight drag, as if the past were a web about her, as there is a web of time about a very old building. There is a sensible weight in the air around a thirteenth-century edifice that is unlike the light air about a new structure; the new building seems to repulse it, the old to gather it." (p. 107)

Felix asks the doctor what Robin writes when she writes to him from America. "She says, Remember me. Probably because she has difficulty in remembering herself." (p. 109)

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