For Carol Sampson, whose transformational teaching of metamorphoses metered the writing of this essay.
Western alchemy arose in Hellenistic Egypt — Land of the Black Earth — within a rich mélange of classical philosophy, Eastern rebirth myths, and the dualistic heresies of Gnosticism, Zoroastrianism and Manicheanism.1 Unraveling alchemy’s origins and sources within this intellectual alembic is a difficult process. There are hints of its first stirrings when classical philosophers describe the world’s creation as a metallic transformation or when religious prophets suggest that God was boiling and evaporating the cosmos. Likewise, it is a difficult task to unwind the glittering threads of dreams, magic, legends, alchemy, Gnostic philosophy and children’s fairy tales woven within the novels, short fiction, essays and poetry of Rikki Ducornet. Yet alchemy is there — like a deep oceanic current that tugs and sways at the lucid surface of her writing.
Central to the alchemical quest is the union of opposites, the refinement of the feminine Mercury and the masculine Sulphur into silver and gold. Once cleansed of all base matter, they consummate their romance within the alembic and produce a child — The Philosopher’s Stone — an enigmatic substance that enables the alchemist to perform further transmutations. The fusion of these two archetypes is often represented by the alchemical Androgyne, a single figure divided vertically into two halves, equally male and female, a symbol of their sexual union and of their physical and spiritual perfection.
The Gnostic vision on the other hand is one of battle and conflict, the eternal dueling forces of good and evil, light and darkness. Gnosticism is a religious and mythic system that evolved to explain the apparent absence of God and the presence of Evil in the world. According to Gnostic texts, the physical world was created as a demonic joke by a hybrid monster of darkness who stole bits of animating light from his horrified mother, Pistis Sophia.2 The decay that Time eventually inflicts on all matter is a lethal tide that cannot be stemmed, for life is a cycle of birth and growth that eventually ends in decay and death. As a legacy of classical philosophy and early Christianity, this inevitability of disintegration became fused to women and to the female body, and thus the feminine power of giving life was transformed into an evil archetype of destruction.
These two mythic systems, so different in their approaches to the physical and spiritual realms share an essential feature — the eternal dance of masculine and feminine forces. As Ducornet draws from both Gnostic and alchemical legends, she reveals these “dual forks” of history and dualistic mythology — roots doubled or twinned, like the alchemical Androgyne, the legs of the mandrake or the prongs of the serpent’s tongue — male and female, light and darkness, good and evil are inextricably linked.
While acknowledging the close alignment of these two symbolic systems in her work, this essay will attempt to unearth her alchemical imagery, focusing on her novels and her drawings. Alchemical references are seeded throughout Ducornet’s novels, particularly the first four, which form a tetralogy of the four ancient elements: The Stain (earth),3 Entering Fire (fire),4 The Fountains of Neptune (water)5 and The Jade Cabinet (air).6 Her fifth novel Phosphor in Dreamland (light),7 can be compared to the alchemical quintessence.8 These novels are not related to each other internally. There are few overlaps of time or space; characters are not shared from story to story.9 Some parallels between characters are intentional, however, as with The Exorcist, Septimus, Toujours-Là, Tubbs and Fogginius, who are all mutations of the same crazed maliciousness. The alchemical references in these novels reverberate among many recurring themes. Ducornet grapples with crucial questions of human experience — the pervasiveness of evil in the world, the weight of history on the present, the dilemma of how to capture time and retain memory, the impossibility of describing the beauty and diversity of the world, and the challenge of understanding and conveying the complexity of a single individual. Perhaps most important is discovering the way that a single individual comes to know and assert the self within. Among her characters many are murderous, some are simply fools and only a few achieve Gnosis — a knowledge of the world’s mysteries and of themselves.
Ducornet’s background reveals a rich fusion of her own cultural heritage and world travels, having lived in New York, Cuba, Egypt, Chile, Algeria, Canada, France and now Colorado.10 Even as a child, the magic of language and the power of visual imagery made a strong impression on her. Opening an alphabet book, she was stung by a “B,” one that represented a bumble bee buzzing over a blossom. Her later studies into the Kabala increased her understanding of the symbolic weight of the word — the dueling and dualistic forces of active and passive letters and the words they create though coupling.11 The literature and visual imagery of the surrealists made an early and lasting impression and appreciation grew as she read their works and those of their literary favorites — Lewis Carroll, Jarry, and Sade. She discovered the art of Tanguy and Arp and with great delight she discovered art and poetry linked, in Max Ernst’s and Paul Eluard’s Les Malheurs des immortels, with its juxtaposition of collages and poetry created collaboratively in 1922. Over the years her love of fiction and poetry broadened to encompass the best in world literature — Kafka, Borges, Calvino, Nabokov, García-Márquez, and many contemporary metafictionalists.
Liberational and revolutionary politics have always been a central tenet of surrealism. Through her own political activism she met members of the American Surrealist group Arsenal, founded in Chicago by Franklin and Penelope Rosemont, at the first large anti-Vietnam war demonstration in New York in 1967. She also made connections to several surrealist groups in France. Her first collection of poetry and short fiction, From the Star Chamber (1974) was provoked by a chilling account of the torture of a pregnant leftist agitator just after the coup d’état in Greece. These and other stories were later republished in The Butcher’s Tales (1980).12 Her commitment to revolutionary protest continues, particularly against the tortuous injustices of repressive regimes and the destruction of innocent cultures driven in the name of economic progress.13 She has also published several volumes of poetry, of which she says “Poetry taught me to distill, to get to the heart of things quickly.”14 In the early years she worked primarily as a visual artist, exhibiting her drawings and illustrations internationally since the early 1960s.15 As her literary career has taken precedence, she still maintains a balance between art and writing, returning to her studio as often as possible.
The Transformation of Images
Like the surrealists Ducornet knows that Paris offers rewards to those who wander her streets in search of magic.16 On one such adventure after moving to France in 1972, she discovered a small red book summarizing the magical lore of the mandrake (Atropa Mandragora) by Gustave Le Rouge.17 Mandrakes appear in her novels, mostly in connection with the casting of magical spells. Even in the most mundane illustration, the mandrake’s uncanny resemblance to a human being is striking. It is a strange plant indeed, bordering on some sort of pre-human existence, as Adam himself was composed of the earth’s mud. Broad leaves spring directly from the roots which bifurcate into leg-like forms. Mentioned in classical times as an ingredient in sleep-inducing potions, medicines and aphrodisiac philters, mandrakes played an important role during the Middle Ages in magical operations. The illustration from Le Rouge shows the plant’s broad leaves with small whitish flowers and fruit, shaped like miniature apples or large peppercorns. Magnified versions of the berry’s contour and a cross-section float below on either side of the plant.
Such illustrations, gleaned from natural history books and encyclopedias, often serve as inspiration for Ducornet’s drawings. The metamorphosis of Le Rouge’s wood engraving is evident in her lithograph, Mandragore Magique, 1983, particularly with the smaller mandrake on the right. The plant’s tiny flowers have been transformed into small vaginal ellipses, while the mandrake’s legs are demurely tucked together. On the left, the maturing plant has metamorphosed into a voluptuous female, with the globed breasts of an Indian goddess and an hourglass waist cinched by a leafy corset. Both mandrakes are female, one adolescent the other mature; their gracefully swaying roots lending a sense of flight, or at least mobility. Neither has a head — leaves suffice, but their veins assume a human animation, pulsing with life’s blood. Small organic forms cluster below, carefully tied packets of roots, spidery leaves or perhaps serpents, along with vaginal seed pods, and two obedient sperm straightened and stilled for our inspection. Unlike the marginalia in most botanical illustrations, their relationship to the larger plants is unclear, but they augment the magical presence of the two sister mandrakes and emphasize the Venusean sexuality of the image.
Her images are often organized as if they were encyclopedic plates, systematically positioned and yet illustrating objects of the most inexplicable and delightfully imaginative forms, as in her Sacred Toys of Tlön.18 Her process is largely automatic, starting with a line or a small detail and then letting the intuitive process guide her hand. The top row here began with some automatic variations on a feather. The vaginal unfolding of three large forms in the middle suggests exotic flowers, seed pods, crustacean embryos, or mineral deposits containing the fossils of butterflies. Below is a dancing geological strata that erupts into pods and seeds, compressing and extending in a ritual of fermentation and cell reproduction. The usual taxonomic order imposed on nature dissolves here to form a dynamic and migrating correspondence between the animal, vegetable and mineral worlds. In essays and recent novels, she examines the marvels and monsters of historic Kunstkammern, such as Peter the Great’s cabinet of wonders in St. Petersburg.19 Her travels have taken her to many natural history museums and botanical and zoological gardens throughout the world, although she has expressed her mixed feelings about such collections as they often have abetted the destruction of nature while attempting to preserve it.20
The artistic process and its relationship to her writing are linked. She describes the point at which a drawing begins:
…I feel a very real affinity with the Zen artists who meditate upon nature and later paint from memory and imagination. I like to start with an image and slowly shift its place in time and space: put it to the light, under a glass, cut into it, stroke it, it gets hard, it gets hot, it weeps, it grows scales, and claws, it bleeds, it ejaculates, it gives birth, it takes root… And so it happens with words.21
Her writing begins with a similar intuitive process.
…What triggers words remains mysterious. So much of writing is intuition. And rhythm. I get drawn there. Often I have the impression that I am boating without oars on some swift, uncharted image-river. It flows. I’m a medium. Later I rewrite. Enormously. Like the human body, a work of literature may simply be a molded river. There are rapids in that river, whirlpools and snakes.22
She understands that automatic writing requires enormous discipline and rigor, as André Breton described.23 The editing process is equally demanding and essential. She begins her stories armed with dictionaries from many languages, notes from her journals, fragments of conversations, and memories of dreams. These words are then harnessed and crafted into the final product.
Alchemy of the Word
Ducornet’s knowledge of alchemy stems from reading the same French authors, Fucanelli and Canseliet, that inspired the surrealists.24 Fulcanelli, the mysterious adept of the 1920s, wrote two books on alchemical symbolism and architecture that inspired the surrealists’ walking tours of the alchemical sites of Paris.25 His disciple, Eugène Canseliet, spoke highly of André Breton’s understanding of alchemical symbolism. She was also influenced by Carl Jung’s interpretation of alchemy symbolism as a model for human psychological development. Using texts and images from alchemical manuscripts, Jung compared alchemical operations to psychological individuation. Primal matter (or the individual’s chaotic psychological quagmire) is purified through a series of distillations and sublimations that parallel the psychoanalytic engagement in excavation and discovery.
She has stated “dreams precipitate my fiction.”26 In the dream that inspired her short story, “The Volatilized Ceiling of Baron Munodi,” she was a small boy during the late Renaissance.27 His father led him into a palace where artisans were dusting with gold the geometric pieces of a beautiful painted ceiling. Alchemical symbols filled these images of Eden, including snakes, green lions, a scarlet siren, the sun, the moon and a human eye within a blue oval the color of a puffin’s egg. S/he also saw an albino ape, whose heart had been pierced by an arrow, falling from a tropical tree while grasping for the bloody ropes that spurted from his wound. As the gold dust from a sower’s bag filled her eyes, she awakened to find the sunlight streaming into the room. Later in 1994, when Ducornet and Nancy Joyce Peters visited Federigo II Gonzaga’s Palazzo del Te in Mantua, they were amazed to find the alchemical ceiling of her dream, painted by Giulio Romano. Equally surprising to Ducornet was the discovery that the portrait of Gonzaga mirrored exactly the face of her own father.28
In the short story, the narrator is Baron Munodi’s descendent. He is fascinated by the appearance of black and white colors in nature, as in the patterns of piebald crows. These two colors symbolize two major alchemical stages of Nigredo, and Albedo, which represent the putrefaction (blackness) and purification (whiteness) of primal matter. The night after a young albino boy Gustavo’s first glimpse of the miraculous ceiling, his father is murdered and the arsonist monks of the Inquisition incinerate the ceiling and its artists. The narrator deciphers the ape’s death as a symbol of the loss of Eden. The lost alchemical mysteries may have held the only key to its regeneration.
All of her novels and much of her short fiction29 contain alchemical imagery, including the Great Work’s planetary rulers: suns, moons and planets, referenced often by their related metals: quicksilver (Mercury), lead (Saturn), tin (Jupiter), copper (Venus) iron (Mars), silver (Moon), and gold (Sun). There are references to alchemy’s masculine and feminine polarities — sulphur and mercury, the sun and the moon — and to the many variations of their sexual fusion within the alembic vessel. The colors of alchemy’s major stages often appear — a black armoire, white milk and red stones (Nigredo, Albedo and Rubedo, (redness), the stage of passion, sexuality and fusion. Like the glass alembic, there are glass spheres, glass photographic plates and broken glass. Reptiles of all sorts, and the color green, symbolize primal matter and they appear as turtles, frogs, serpents, lizards and iguanas. The Cosmic Egg, or the Philosopher’s Egg, is the vessel in which the work of creation begins. Eggs are everywhere: dragonflies laying eggs in a dish of water, Cosima cooking a six egg flan, or the imagined eggs of a million birds. One character, Cûcla from Entering Fire (33), draws on her thigh the alchemical Ouroboros, a snake or dragon biting its tail to symbolize eternity and the cyclic nature of the work. There are also many stones because the initiate must learn that the “Stone of the Philosopher” (primal matter) and the “Philosopher’s Stone” (the goal of the work) are one. The process begins with primal matter and lead, the dense chaotic metal of Saturn: “‘We are creatures of lead,’ Fogginius repeated more often than necessary, ‘and drunk on it.‘”30 In these narratives, characters often undertake a journey to understand the mysteries of creation and to find the lost path back to Paradise. She has stated, “Gold and Enlightenment are a simultaneous phenomenon; the philosopher’s stone and the Grail are one.”31 Only a few achieve enlightenment in a process of evolution that begins with the earth. So, perhaps it was appropriate that when Ducornet began her first novel, she was working as a studio potter to support her writing, and it was with the Earth, the Adamic clay, that the series began.
The Stain was sparked by two chance encounters and a dream. Ducornet was living in a rural town in the Loire Valley where little had changed since the nineteenth century. Its rustic charm evaporated as she discovered the dry heat of its prejudices and superstitions. Talking to an aging peasant woman she heard how in the “old days” birthmarks on children were always considered signs of evil, retributions for the sins of their parents. Then, as she bicycled home through the endless vineyards, a former sea that produced fossils at each turn of the spade, an enormous luminescent hare darted out in front of her and froze in its tracks. For a long time they observed each other, both mesmerized by the encounter. That night she had a dream of a birthmark shaped like a leaping hare and the central symbol of the novel was born.
Its first chapter is a riveting account of Charlotte’s arrival in the bloody violence of childbirth in which her mother dies. Charlotte has a furry birthmark on her face shaped like a leaping hare and she will bear this “stain,” a mark of her mother’s sexuality, for the rest of her life. Charlotte’s brutal, drunken father immediately abandons her and she is left in the care of his sister Edma and her husband Emile. Aunt Edma is a rigid religious fanatic who dishes out fear and punishment throughout Charlotte’s childhood. Emile is infinitely kinder and her first savior. He is a gardener and carries much of the novel’s earthly theme through his loving care for his vegetables and his vigilant stalking of their enemies — bugs, slugs and snails. Like frogs and reptiles in alchemical illustrations, they symbolize the primal matter that must be destroyed.
The Exorcist is a dark force in the village, often expounding on the dualistic nature of the world. He imagines himself positioned directly between God and the Devil, but he clearly belongs more to the realm of evil. He uses a camera to capture the world, focusing on the earth and its putrefactions — excreta, clay, sediment, chicken shit and stains. He realizes that Time is his enemy because it keeps the world in flux, foiling his attempts at control.
Charlotte absorbs enough of her Aunt Edma’s fear to be convinced of her own evil and frailty. She wastes away, living on water and rice gruel, imagining that this bodily “purification” will bring her salvation. She even eats broken glass, losing her voice in the process, a desperate act that convinces Edma, the Exorcist and the Mother Superior from a nearby convent that she is destined for sainthood.32 Stating the alchemical analogy in Christian terms, Mother Superior is convinced that Charlotte is “a rare clay body destined for Purification in the fiery kiln of Beatitude” (68). Emile in his gentle way saves her physical body by feeding her a leek soup, whose fibers bind up the shattered glass. Strangely perhaps, considering her complicity in Charlotte’s oppression, Mother Superior gives Charlotte a sugar Easter egg with a small cellophane window that provokes her recovery. Like the alchemist who must carefully observe the processes within the vessel, Charlotte looks inside this philosophic egg and has her first epiphany (70). Realizing the simultaneity of all things she decides that, “like the infant phoenix” (71) she must live in order to devote herself to the pursuit of salvation.
Charlotte enters the convent followed by the Exorcist as the cross-dressing Sister Rosa Mystica. He and Mother Superior become lovers as they plot for control over Charlotte’s body and soul. The portrayals of these characters are stinging and hilariously anti-clerical. As the plot begins to boil, an alchemical reaction occurs. Soon after Charlotte begins to menstruate, a storm hits the valley kicking up “a wind without rival” (176). The watery inundation causes the destruction of the convent and much of the surrounding countryside. Throughout her trials, Charlotte eventually comes to understand that she is surrounded by evil and must make her escape. It is not surprising that the catalyst for this second epiphany is a beautiful golden hare which she sees out of a train window. “Fear drained from her heart and in a surge of blind excitement she scrambled to her feet… ‘to catch one last glimpse of molten gold — a lightning flash that charged the air with radiance and urgency” (195). Underlying the many threads of this novel is the search for self-knowledge and with her heroic leap from the train, Charlotte begins that journey.
She is found by a kindly guardian, Père Archange Poupine, whose own spiritual metamorphosis began with an encounter with a “sulphurous” wolf. Under his tutelage, Charlotte learns his love of herbs and woodland creatures. She looks at nature and begins to draw. Color arrives in the form of sixteen cakes of pigment “wrapped in silver paper” (208). Together they write poetry — simple rhymes, but poetry nonetheless. His formula on how to make the color black is clearly alchemical, “First I take some earth, then some air and then some water and: hé, hé! fire, plenty of fire” (210).
The recurring theme of earth within the novel symbolizes the primal matter that must be discovered for the Great Work, and for Charlotte’s process of transformation, to begin. The vessel is her physical body, tortured and nourished in turn by the adults and by the elemental forces around her. The many alchemical references to eggs, shattered glass and molten metals are forged to a Gnostic battle between the twinned forces of good and evil as Charlotte’s quest for self-knowledge takes root. About halfway through the writing of The Stain, Ducornet realized how many earthly and terrestrial symbols it contained.33 Because she was very interested in Gnostic philosophy at the time, she decided that the next novel must be about fire. Re-reading Gaston Bachelard convinced her that the themes of water and air would follow in a project that kept her occupied for over ten years.
Fire for the alchemist causes calcination, reducing substances within the athanor furnace to ashes. Fire is also the heat that fuses elements, a process often represented in alchemical illustrations as sexual intercourse between the sun and the moon, symbols of the masculine sulphur and the feminine mercury. The second novel, Entering Fire, is a story of both love and hate, inspired also by a visit to a greenhouse outside Paris where orchids were being cloned.34 The fiery theme in this novel is portrayed as both regenerative and destructive, alternating between the forces of good and evil. It chronicles the loves of a father, Lamprias de Bergerac, for women, nature and the forest, and the hatred of his son, Septimus, a bigot possessed by anti-Semitism and other Eurocentric prejudices. Lamprias is an amateur botanist and a descendant of the famous Cyrano of Rostand’s play. Ducornet admired the play and was delighted to find during her research that the original Cyrano was also an alchemist. She narrates the story almost exclusively through her male characters, as the male voice has fascinated her since the days of her father’s storytelling.35
Lamprias meets Virginie, Septimus’ mother, at a lavish tea, charmed by the way her lips encircle a creamcake. The marriage sours during the honeymoon, and worsens when Lamprias rescues Dust, a Chinese concubine with bound feet, and brings her to the family home. Both women have sons, Septimus and True Man, a hybrid but also, to the warped Septimus’s dismay, a perfect specimen of masculinity. Somewhat like the alchemical salamander, a symbol of fire, and his namesake, Chên-Yen, True Man can “enter water without getting wet and fire without getting burned” (34). The fire of Septimus’s hatred is fanned by his bigoted mother, sparking him to burn the books of his father’s library. They cremate the despised Dust after she dies of influenza and then throw her ashes into the Loire. Later when Septimus grows up to embrace Facism, he takes great delight in the Gestapo’s concentration camp ovens, especially when directing the arrest and annihilation of two of his father’s former lovers.
But fire here also represents love and human passion. Lamprias believes that “The Eternal Feminine throbs at the heart of Mystery” (21). The cities of South America that he visits and the Amazon forest where he collects his orchids are overheated by the tropical sun. The Indians dream, colored with caesalpinia dye the color of red coals (24). The talented prostitute Evangelista, “a volcanic fusion of Ivory Coast and Xvante” (26), takes her first steps as a child over hot coals. The land is an igneous fusion rich in mineral deposits including copper, iron and lead sulphide. Lamprias draws the analogy “As in an alchemical drawing, the sun radiates from within a crown of clouds” (29).36
On his second trip to the Amazon the meets his life’s passion, Cûcla, an innocent and seductive child. Lamprias catches glimpses of her in the forest and then one day he “caught the smell of her fire, and saw — illuminated by the living embers, a roasted iguana held smoking before her lips — Cûcla. Breathing on the meat to cool it, she made sparks” (59). Cûcla is a bit of an alchemist and a philosopher herself. Newly discovered iguanas often hung from the ceilings of seventeenth century European alchemical laboratories to symbolize the mythic dragon. She has a bain-marie (48), the vessel designed by the first woman alchemist who gave it her name — Maria the Jew. Cûcla reveals to Lamprias the truth: “that the straight path leads to a door of lead; it is the tortuous path that leads to the garden. And this: only foolish men worship a god who banishes his children from Paradise. It is the fertile serpent who has the green thumb” (33). Their love ignites in the forest, but returning to her village, the yano, they find a hell on earth. Senhor Rosada, a murderous rubber tycoon, has brutally murdered all of its inhabitants — men, women and children. In respect, they set fire to their remains and reduce the village to ashes, never to speak of the terror again so that the Indians’ souls can rest.
Central to this novel are the alchemical writings and experiments of Savinien de Cyrano de Bergerac (43-45). Leaving home, Lamprias take the alchemical manuscript written by his ancestor and hidden in a black armoire, as “the alchemists believed that black contains all colours.” He shares it with a chemist, Angelo Mariani, inventor of a miraculous wine and elixir, a coca-flavored eau de vivre. The text contains a quote from the Emerald Tablet (Table Smaragdine), the oldest and most succinct summary of alchemical lore: “separate earth and fire, the subtle and the dense, gentle and with great care.” In his quest to create the homunculus and to pierce the mysteries of creation, Cyrano, or “Sire-in-O” the adept in the circle, experiments with the cells of the radish, frog, lion and even his own sperm. “He died before he found the answer, but he knew that the answer was there” (84-85).
Lamprias marvels over another truism in the book, CESTE PIERRE EST VEGETALE (43), and is amazed to discover that the alchemical work can be conducted in the plant realm. He and the chemist decipher Cyrano’s cryptic language, typical of so many alchemical texts, that or refers not only to gold but to (or)chids as well. Here Ducornet incorporates the same kind of linguistic analysis of alchemical texts often used by Fulcanelli. The two friends realize that the alchemy works at the cellular level and this inspires Lamprias to inaugurate his life-long experimentation with orchid cloning.
Cûcla is the ultimate cause of Septimus’ demise. She burns a pile of poison ivy whose smoke fatally inflames his throat and lungs. He sees his death in a dream, another Gnostic and alchemical vision, hurled as a stone of black basalt, as light as a feather.
I see… the Cosmos like a tapestry of Light and Darkness, the heads of angels to the ninth degree, …all have wings of fire… I see a bottle of black glass. Within, P’pa and his whore embracing white as snow… clouds are gathering, a cyclone approaching, spitting nails and window glass… (151)
Although finally dead like so many of the murderers of Hilter’s Gestapo, Septimus warns his father in a letter from the grave, that he, like all unspeakable evils, will show up again when least expected.
The Fountains of Neptune
The Fountains of Neptune, the third novel in the series, is devoted to water, the element of deep emotions.37 And, because water reflects, the novel is also about reflection and memory. Nini is an orphan adopted by a kindly couple. They live in a seaport village held in fluid suspension, as yet untouched by the horrors of the twentieth century. Central to the story is Nini’s search to know the story of his dead mother, Odille. Like the black swan in Swan Lake, she is beautiful, sexually-charged and dangerous. Nini, like Charlotte in The Stain, understands that his mother’s sexuality was the cause of her downfall. Odille’s story is set in relief against the mythic tales of the Ogress, La Vouivre, and Revelation’s Whore of Babylon, all archetypes of feminine evil, as described in the Gnostic text, The Virtual Abyss (168-170).38 Repressing the dark memories of his infancy, Nini falls into a deep lake diving after his own and his mother’s reflection, an act that also plunges him into a coma for over fifty years. Eventually through a particularly imaginative version of psychoanalysis developed by his analyst, Doctor Venus Kaiserstiege, “the world’s only Freudian hydropothist” (121), he recovers his submerged memories. She calls him her Fröschlein (13), little frog, a reptilian symbol of primal matter.
Nini’s search his mother’s memory and his coma are attempts to re-enter her womb and become the alchemical homunculus. A tiny human fetus hidden in a jar behind the local bar mirrors his desire to become the baby in the vessel, like many other psychoanalytic displacements and replacements in these pages. The alchemical process suggested here is that of Albedo, purification through an inundation of water that clears all the blackness in the vessel. Violence in the past is healed through memory, knowledge, love, and the complete acceptance of his therapist. Nini, once awakened, attempts to “circle the square” (205), an alchemical mystery in which spiritual truth mirrors physical reality.
Of all of Ducornet’s novels, this one most resembles the beautiful composite faces painted by Giuseppe Arcimboldo for the Emperor Rudolph II. Within his alchemical series of the four elements Arcimboldo painted an allegorical portrait of Water using many varieties of fish, studded with pearls and coral which he positioned to form facial features. In the novel, the watery theme is carried by the seaside location and within the healing gardens of the asylum where “water [is] tamed in basins, bathtubs, wells” (12). Wet weather persists throughout the story, permeating the air with pounding rain, fog, slush, drizzle, snow, and creating a “port and sky and sea all smeared together like a jam of oysters, pearl-grey and viscous” (28). Fish and aquatic animals can be found on almost every page, including lobsters, smelts, eels, blue crabs, starfish, dorado, sawfish, walrus, conches, dogfish, catfish, tuna, herring, painted turtles, and flying fish. They slither and dart through the many mariners’ legends told throughout the novel. They are cooked into sumptuous and mouth-watering dishes.
Toujours-Là (always there) is a crusty old barnacle, murderer of a cherished monkey (like the ape in the Baron Munodi’s ceiling), himself a survivor of an abused childhood and often inebriated. He tells many tales, including one of men “who drank toddies of liquid mercury, and who spat lead bullets” (80). He is also an initiator and he holds the secrets of the world — its truth and lies, its good and “evil beyond telling” (100). Eventually it is revealed that the infant Nini saw it all. In the boat he heard his mother’s violent argument her lover; he saw his strangled father’s face submerge beneath the sea. He remembers being pulled from his mother’s arms, watched as Odille and her lover were bludgeoned to death by the townsfolk intent on swift retribution. Later that night, his adoptive mother Rose pried open his fists to find clumps of his mothers black hair. Black and white, the colors of Odille’ hair and body, symbolize again the stages of Nigredo and Albedo. Toujours-Là explains how Odille could love his father’s murderer by returning to the primary tenets of Gnostic dualism, for love and death are closely linked — “Arm in arm, light and darkness dance upon the water” (101).
The Jade Cabinet
Air is the element of the fourth novel, The Jade Cabinet, which tells the story of an imaginative Victorian child, Etheria, through the words of her younger sister, Memory. Both girls are educated by their father, Angus Sphery, an entomologist, in the nurturing surroundings of his vast library and natural history collections. His passion is a search for the language of Adam, that primal tongue “so powerful as to conjure the world of things” (10). To maintain Etheria’s angelic speech, he forbids any human language during her infancy and so she remains silent throughout the novel. The theme of air is carried by many references to insects, because so many have wings. Etheria herself is truly ethereal, “a creature of air and light” (41), “light-footed, gay, mercurial — an Ariel!” (65).
The girls also enjoy the frequent company of Charles Dodgson, the Oxford mathematician who wrote Alice’s Adventures Underground under the pseudonym of Lewis Carroll. Dodgson is a photographer, like many characters in Ducornet’s novels. In recent years he has been vilified for taking nude photographs of pre-adolescent girls. The scandal erupted first during his lifetime, causing a cooling of his relationship with Mrs. Liddell, the “real” Alice’s mother, and a suppression of the images by his heirs after his death. But in her extensive research, Ducornet found nothing to indicate that he ever harmed the girls, and in fact all of them, including Alice, remembered him fondly and spoke only of happy memories of his company. Rather than condemning him as a pedophile, Ducornet portrays him as a friend of these young girls and perhaps a bit of a young girl himself, as he often signed his name Louisa Carolina.39 Dodgson contributes much of the delight of the girls’ childhood, making them paper birds that float over steamy tea kettles and telling them magical stories.
The villain is Radulph Tubbs, a rich and unprincipled industrialist whose factories belch poisoned smoke throughout England. Tubbs pollutes and spoils everything he touches. Soon after meeting Etheria as a child, his desire to possess her is spawned. They eventually marry after Tubbs convinces her father to exchange her for a single piece of precious jade. One of Tubbs’ many money-making schemes is to pulverize acres of mummified ibises, the sacred bird of Thoth, the Egyptian god of magic and poetry, into powdered fertilizer. Tubbs destroys nature, first when he smashes the girls’ mother’s pet stick insect and later when he flattens Etheria’s only solace in her new existence — a damp, mossy, insect-infested garden completed with grotto — in order to create a cement parterre. True to her promise, Etheria leaves Tubbs for this act of desecration. Her spirit escapes containment. Etheria “dreamed of making herself lighter. She dreamed of air, of vanishing in thin air; she dreamed of evaporating. She dreamed of levitating, of growing wings, of transforming herself into a cobweb, an angel, a volatile gas” (74). She learns magic tricks from Feather, the butler, who serves as her Ariadne, producing a “gilded rope” (61), her golden thread to lead her out of the labyrinth and away from the minotaur Tubbs. She becomes such a proficient magician that one day she achieves her dream and literally disappears, remaining like the air, invisible.
Memory reconstructs the events of her sister’s tragic marriage using the tattered remains of her sister’s journal and Tubbs’ own memoirs which record his oppression of his wife, his sexual violence and his eventual remorse. As in The Fountains of Neptune, the story begins in the present and then folds back upon itself to recall the past, like the alchemical serpent, Ouroboros, biting his tail to symbolize cyclic renewal. The element air oversees transformations in the vessel, as gases rise and fall, often represented by birds in alchemical engravings. The rhythm of the story focuses partly on evolution of relationships, recalling a central axiom of alchemy, “solve et coagula,” to dissolve and coagulate. Tubb’s blustery hot air evaporates Etheria’s spirit. The larger he becomes the more her presence shrinks. His retribution arrives in the form an anorexic, air-eating, albino circus freak, the Hungerkünstler, named in tribute to Kafka’s short story. She grows to enormous proportions driven by greed and jealousy over her husband’s continued devotion to his former wife. Tubbs shrinks in turn, as if the equilibrium between the partners mirrors alchemical processes in which one substance increases as another decreases within sequential operations, as solids turn to gases and, conversely, the volatile becomes fixed.
Etheria escapes and preserves her freedom, although glimpses and sightings occur from time to time. She might even be the magician, trickster, and escape artist Zephyra, who in the midst of juggling glass spheres is murdered by the Hungerkünstler at the end of the novel. Clearly Etheria’s skills of evasion have served her again, for the body, when examined by Memory, has been replaced by an unknown man. For Tubbs, the narrative has been an alchemical process of self-discovery. Although he never finds Etheria, through his love for her he achieves a glimpse of transcendence.
Phosphor In Dreamland
Following the tetralogy, Ducornet’s fifth novel, Phosphor in Dreamland, is concerned with light, the quintessence.40 Its main character Phosphor arrives as a luminescent infant, so intrigued by the sun that his first word is why? (11). Born with a club-foot and crossed-eyed, Phosphor was abandoned on the doorstep of a melancholy scholar Fogginius — a quack healer and purveyor of ridiculous cures, who infuriates everyone within earshot with the most incessant and meaningless conversation. Fogginius is also an ornithologist and taxidermist. His hovel is stacked with the skins of dead animals. They live on the beautiful oval island of Birdland, a microcosm that Fogginius is futilely trying to quantify, although by the late sixteenth century, it is a paradise already lost.41
Many of the island’s animals are extinct, possibly even the mysterious Lôplôp, a magical bird with a haunting voice, which has not been seen in decades. This bird is a tribute to Max Ernst and his Loplop, a large anthropomorphic bird painted by the artist to represent his alter ego. Birdland’s Lôplôp had been hunted to near extinction by the island’s aboriginal inhabitants. They too were brutally murdered by a Spanish conquistador whose grandson, Señor Fango Fantasma, is the island’s current overlord. The novel is narrated by a scholar who is reconstructing the island’s history through clues found in its Museum of Natural History. Again the present and the past mirror each other. The narrator falls in love with Polly, a mysterious curator of natural history. Her illustrations (Ducornet’s, in fact) are reproduced, providing a glimpse of the island and its aboriginal treasures, including a black obsidian nature goddess named Amu-ma-mu.
Like so many tyrannical stepparents in these novels, Fogginius punishes the boy often, but when he locks Phosphor in a dark trunk, the inquisitive child discovers light coming through the key hole. Looking through with one eye he is able to focus his vision. This phenomena delights him and it precipitates his re-invention the camera obscura, his invention of the camera and the beginning of his life-long fascination with photography. In a further attempt to correct his doubled vision, Phosphor perfects another machine, the ocularscope, the world’s first stereoscopic camera, with which he takes three-dimensional photographs. He develops his trade in an alchemical laboratory filled with glasses vessels, retorts and a pressure cooker made of two conquistadors’ metal helmets soldered together (30-31). As opposed to the zoological massacres caused by Fogginius’s collecting, Phosphors’s photographs capture Birdland without killing anything. In his greed to control the entire island, Señor Fantasma employs Phosphor to record and thus capture its wonders. They set out on a journey to fix the volatile Birdland and its present inhabitants on silverized plates of glass.
Phosphor’s experiments mark again the recurring theme of photography in these novels as an alchemical tool and as the preserver of memory. In The Stain, the Exorcist wants to photograph all the world’s earth and its putrefaction. In The Fountains of Neptune, Nini’s father, like Eugène Atget, captures the last fleeting signs of his watery world and his photograph of Odille is Nini’s only tangible link to his mother’s memory. Also in that novel, like the foolish alchemical “Puffer,” Bottlenose dies futilely in a quest for gold and treasure that ends at the feet of a camera’s tripod. Charles Dodgson photographs the airy freedom of young girls dressed as winged angels. Phosphor’s three-dimensional photographs celebrate erotic sexual love. If the world is to be fixed and brought to light, then the evolution of this process is an alchemical one, “an attempt to seize and fix a universe in constant flux” (43), and it develops throughout all the elements from the quantifying of base matter to the alchemical fusion of lovers.
The novel’s female characters, Extravaganza and Cosima, rise above their fathers’ repression and learn to assert themselves. In contrast, the base, leaden characters die unenlightened. The criminal Yahoo Clay, a creature of the earth and “damned with rage” (27), never rises above unrefined primal matter. He becomes sick after drinking an elixir, because purifying alchemical processes don’t work unless the recipient is ready for transformation. He tortures insects and bludgeons to death the last remaining Lôplôp. Fogginius collapses as a pile of ashes, having been held together only by his incessant conversation.
Because of his love for Extravaganza, Phosphor begins to poetry. His first attempts are rather pedantic rhymes, but as his love grows, his poetry improves. Phosphor’s mature poems are sensually-charged descriptions of his desire and their love making. “Guided by love, informed by desire, the vision incandesces and the poems catch fire” (140). He finds himself through his love for her, like the alchemical couple who embrace in the vessel. If alchemy is an attempt to recreate the world and to discover in the microcosm the secrets of macrocosmic creation, then capturing the world through photography, poetry or the writing of a novel is an alchemical task, for “love offers the only intimation of eternity” (51).
The Fan-Maker’s Inquisition
The suppression of eroticism, the destruction of nature, and the brutal erasure of native cultures are themes to which Ducornet returns in her most recent novel, The Fan Maker’s Inquisition.42 In the midst of the Reign of Terror of the French Revolution, Gabrielle, a beautiful young fan maker, is being interrogated by the Comité de Surveillance. Her crime is continuing to make objects of beauty — exquisite fans with pierced ivory panaches, silk taffeta faces and painted erotic scenes, revealed and concealed with a snap of the wrist. An incriminating manuscript has also been discovered that links Gabrielle to the Marquis de Sade, now incarcerated and stripped of all his former luxuries.
He and Gabrielle met in happier days when her fans were renowned throughout Paris for their inventiveness and seductive power. Their friendship survives his arrest and she brings him paper, pens and chocolate, drink of the Mayan kings, to ease his despondency and to nourish his soul and body. Prison is a term for the alchemical vessel and imprisonment recurs as a theme throughout the novel. To keep his mind vital, they decide to write together the story of archbishop Landa, the Spanish conquistador who slaughtered the aboriginal inhabitants of the Yucatán and systematically destroyed their language, art and culture. As a child, Sade had been abused by his Jesuit teacher (37), and his imagination was enflamed by their engravings of tortures on the inhabitants of the New World.43 Both worlds are caught in the vice grip of violence. Still, flashes of artistic and natural beauty sparkle though the rivers of blood.
This tale is combustible, like one of Gabrille’s fans treated with “a volatile poison like sulphur” that ignites with a tear (32). Throughout, the stage of Nigredo is evoked along with its putrefaction — “a stench of sulphur” (65), human bones, burning books, putrefying “bodies black with flies” (79) and a fish so decayed that it eventually collapses. Languishing in his cell, Sade questions the purpose of so much human suffering:
SOLVITE CORPOREA ET coagulate spiritum
IF, AS SOME think, Nature needs to coagulate, corrupt, and dissolve in order to renew Herself, than shall I, having rotted away, be born again? Will I, after so much suffering, and with the help of a sound digestion and the philosophical fire, become perfect? Or simply more corrupt? You see: Suffering makes the spirit mean. It impoverishes the heart (119-120).
The operations suggested here are those of separation and dissolution. Sade is consumed by fear of turning opaque, into mud. “I am in a chronic state of eclipse. If I could, I would choose to be… water-clear! Chemically pure: lucent, refractive, prismatic” (120). He wonders if his own dark visions have infected the world and caused the endless bloodletting at the guillotine that he observes through his prison window (16). Still, he can muster a sardonic gloss on one of the most famous axioms of Hermes Trismegistus: “‘WHAT IS BELOW is like what is above, and what is above is like what is below,’ Except tighter” (178).
There is little hope in this bleak world. Sexual coupling is fleeting, captured only in memory, quick as the flashing erotic scenes on a collapsing fan. Gabrielle’s lover, Olympe de Gouges, is a self-educated playwright. She is also in prison, arrested for the crime of loving a woman, for asserting women’s rights and for supporting the abolishment of slavery. Even in the Yucatán, the Maya mapmaker Kukum is imprisoned and separated from his wife, a primeval Adam and Eve barred from Paradise. Despite these separations, the male and female characters work together, like the alchemical couple in the Mutus Liber, to create (and to hide and preserve in the Yucatán) a precious book. This collaboration between the sexes is reinforced by the novel’s structure. Like a two-sided fan, correspondences and reversals of themes unfold in the book between the sixteenth century Yucatán and late eighteenth century France.
It takes courage to court the Marquis de Sade, but then he and Ducornet are old friends, for she read Justine at the age of sixteen. The surrealist’s admiration for Sade is well known and several women surrealists illustrated and wrote about his works, including Toyen, Nora Mitrani and Annie LeBrun.44 Admitting that Sade “walks a fine line between comedy and terror” (25), Gabrielle is alienated by the violence of his novels (68-72). But finding him in prison, so bereft of all his possessions, so angry at the injustice of his arrest, so committed to preserving the freedom of his imagination and the right to dream, she decides to collaborate on the Landa saga. She realizes that when the human spirit is in chains, “a book can be a shelter,” “a book can be all that one has lost” (70). Sadly then as now, the violence of the real world is infinitely worse than anything described in literature. The horrendous tortures of the Indians by the Spanish culminate in the Tophet that took place in 1562 (195-205), while the murderous guillotining of French citizens continues unabated. Comparing these actual atrocities, Sade’s literary “crimes” begin to pale. After all, as he claims, he never killed a soul (49).
As always, there are other themes within the text, particularly the power of women, both mythic and political, and their education. Once again, Ducornet returns to the Gnostic vision of the feminine abyss. Precepts of this dualistic philosophy have persisted in western theology, augmented in the 3rd century by the teachings of Mani, the prophet who shares his name with the eviscerated Yucatán village. In the novel, clerics fear that the creation of the visible universe resulted from the love of Satan and his angels for the daughters of men, thus tainting the physical world forever with evil. In the political realm, Gabrielle, Olympe and 10,000 other women of the French Revolution protest at Versailles only to discover the male leaders of the Revolution are also intent on limiting their freedoms and persecuting the most vocal advocates of women’s rights, women’s education and sexual freedom.
To bring the tail of this essay back to its mouth, it should be reiterated that alchemy is inextricably bound to other philosophical currents. So too are the alchemical images in Ducornet’s novels closely interconnected to other recurring themes — the eternal battle of the forces of good and evil, the global destruction of nature, the fear of the archetypal feminine and bodily pleasure, the oppressive weight of history, and the revolutionary fight for freedom of the imagination and artistic expression. The images in these novels flow together like the molten surface of an anamorphic portrait that comes into focus only on its perpendicular reflective device. This is strong writing, filled with evocations of gut-wrenching terror and sensory delight. In closing it seems this essay has only begun to touch the surface of Ducornet’s writing and the truths she unearths and distills, as she attempts the impossible — to fix images from the edge of the abyss and to capture the constant flux of a volatile world. Like the optical mirror of an anamorphic painting, or the glass surface of the alembic vessel, her novels focus our gaze and allow us to see a reflection of the microcosmic world within.
- Jack Lindsay, The Origins of Alchemy in Graeco-Roman Egypt (New York: Barnes & Noble, 1970), 1-67. The origins of alchemy in India and China and the relationship between those practices and western traditions continue to be topics of debate.↩
- Rikki Ducornet, “Alphabets and Emperors, Reflections on Kafka and Borges,” in The Monstrous and the Marvelous, (San Francisco: City Lights, 1999): 43-51.↩
- Rikki Ducornet, The Stain (London: Chatto & Windus, 1984; New York Grove, 1984; rev. ed., Normal, IL: Dalkey Archive Press, 1995).↩
- Rikki Ducornet, Entering Fire (London: Chatto & Windus, 1986; San Francisco: City Lights, 1986).↩
- Rikki Ducornet, The Fountains of Neptune (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1989; Elmwood Park, IL: Dalkey Archive Press, 1992).↩
- Rikki Ducornet, The Jade Cabinet (Normal, IL: Dalkey Archive Press, 1993).↩
- Rikki Ducornet, Phosphor in Dreamland (Normal, IL: Dalkey Archive Press, 1995).↩
- This essay has been enriched by conversations with Ducornet and the author on June 8 and July 27, 2000.↩
- One exception is Aristide Marquis, mentioned first in Entering Fire, where he dies in 1943 (156). In The Fountains of Neptune, he dies at Verdun (128). Ducornet liked the name and repeated it without intending to create a discrepancy.↩
- Geoff Hancock, “An Interview with Rikki,” The Canadian Fiction Magazine, 44 (1982): 13-32; Sinda Gregory, “Finding a Language; Introducing Rikki Ducornet,” and Sinda Gregory and Larry McCaffery, “At the Heart of Things Darkness and Wild Beauty: An Interview with Rikki Ducornet,” The Review of Contemporary Fiction 18 (Fall 1998): 110-125; 126-144. This issue is devoted to Ducornet and contains additional essays on her work as cited below.↩
- Rikki Ducornet, “Waking to Eden,” in The Monstrous and the Marvelous, 1-5.↩
- Gregory and McCaffery, 127; J.H. Matthews, “Rikki Ducornets Non-Nonsense Almost-Fairy Tales,” Symposium, 42 (Winter 1989): 312-327. Stories from From the Star Chamber (Fredericton, New Brunswick: Fiddlehead Poetry Books, 1974) and The Butcher’s Tales (Toronto: Aya Press, 1980) have been republished in a full collection entitled The Complete Butcher’s Tales (Normal, IL: Dalkey Archive Press, 1994). She has also published several volumes of poetry, the most recent is The Cult of Seizure (Erin, Ontario, The Porcupines Quill, 1989).↩
- Ducornet, “Returning from Chiapas: A Revery in Many Voices,” in The Monstrous and the Marvelous, 33-41.↩
- Ducornet, cited in Hancock, 24.↩
- Exhibitions include: Czechoslovakia, 1966; Museum of Fine Arts in West Berlin, 1969 and 1972; Museum of Lille, 1973; Museum of Ixelles in Belgium, 1974; International Surrealist Exhibition, Chicago, 1977; the National Museum of Castro Coimbra, Portugal; the National Museum of Fine Art in Mexico, 1979; Centre Culturel Française (Sweden), 1982; and Centre Culturel Mexicain (Paris), 1984.↩
- Ducornet, “Mapping Paris,” in The Monstrous and the Marvelous, 65-68.↩
- La Mandragore Magique (Paris: H. Daragon, 1912), 1-33.↩
- This lithograph was created around the same time that Ducornet illustrated Jorge Luis Borges, Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius (Scarborough, Ontario: The Porcupines Quill, 1983), although it was not part of the original series of drawings.↩
- Ducornet, “The Impossible Genus,” in The Monstrous and the Marvelous, 27-31.↩
- Ducornet, “Waking to Eden,” 3.↩
- Ducornet, cited in Hancock, 20.↩
- Ducornet, cited in Hancock, 17.↩
- Ducornet, cited Hancock, 20.↩
- Ducornet, conversations with the author and Hancock, 25-26.↩
- M. E. Warlick, The Occultation of Surrealism in Max Ernst and Alchemy (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2001), 61-104.↩
- Ducornet, cited in Hancock, 23.↩
- Ducornet, A Dream in The Monstrous and the Marvelous, 111-112. The story was originally published in 1991, and reprinted in The Complete Butchers Tales, 3-10.↩
- Ducornet, A Dream, 112.↩
- See also Ducornet, The Word Desire, (New York: Henry Holt, 1997), and Warren Motte, “Desiring Words,” in The Review of Contemporary Fiction 18 (Fall 1998): 223-228.↩
- Ducornet, Phosphor, 47.↩
- Ducornet, cited by Hancock, 25.↩
- Concerning language and linguistic themes in her work see Gregory, “Finding a Language,” 111-113; and Allen Guttmann, “Rikki Ducornet’s Tetrology of Elements: An Appreciation,” in The Review of Contemporary Fiction 18 (Fall 1998): 184-195.↩
- Gregory and McCaffery, 132.↩
- Her research into the cloning process included conversations with orchidologists Vacherot, Lecoufle and Pierre Fradin.↩
- Gregory and McCaffery, 133.↩
- This description recalls engravings in the Mutus Liber, a splendid late seventeenth century alchemical text illustrating without words a male and a female alchemist sharing in the work equally.↩
- See also Richard Martin, “The Tantalizing Prize: Telling the Telling of The Fountains of Neptune,” in The Review of Contemporary Fiction 18 (Fall 1998): 196-204.↩
- Gnostic themes throughout her work are worthy of a separate essay. The Review of Contemporary Fiction 18 (Fall 1998) includes Ducornet’s essay on this fearsome feminine archetype in literature. See “The Death Cunt of Deep Dell,” 146-152 and related “Excerpts from Five Novels,” 156-178. Also on gender see Giovanna Covi, “Gender Derision, Gender Corrosion, and Sexual Differences in Rikki Ducornet’s Materialist Eden,” in the same volume, 205-216.↩
- Ducornet, “Optical Pleasure,” in The Monstrous and the Marvelous, 53-60.↩
- Although created outside the tetralogy, this novel continues their alchemical themes, Ducornet, conversations with the author. See also Lynne Diamond-Nigh, “Phosphor in Dreamland,” in The Review of Contemporary Fiction 18 (Fall 1998): 217-222.↩
- Scattered throughout are references to Alicia Ombos’ A Swift and a Phosphorous Eye, a scholarly (but fictional) study of Jonathan Swift’s voyages of discovery. Ducornet’s analysis of Swift, particularly his terror of the archetypal feminine, is expanded in her “Optical Terror,” in The Monstrous and the Marvelous, 7-25.↩
- Rikki Ducornet, The Fan-Makers Inquisition (New York: Henry Holt and Co., 1999).↩
- Here, and elsewhere, Ducornet has been influenced by Alice Millers theories concerning the effects of a brutal and repressive childhood on the development of the adult personality, Gregory and McCaffery, 136-137.↩
- Penelope Rosemont, Surrealist Women (Austin, University of Texas Press, 1999), xxxix-xl, 226-9, 306.↩
Copyright © 2001 by M. E. Warlick.