conklin
Posted: 28 March 2007 12:09 PM   [ Ignore ]
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3525
Joined  2007-01-29

I’m rereading Lawrence Durrell’s Justine after many decades, and with the resources of the internet finding answers to many questions that stumped me before.  But even the internet (not to mention the OED) fails me on this line from the “Consequential data” appendix at the end (the bottom of p. 250 in my Dutton paperback):

I had already seen him long before in Paradise—the soft conklin-coloured yams like the haunches of newly-cooked babies: the night falling with its deep-breathing blue slur over Tobago, softer than parrot-plumage.

Anybody have any idea what “conklin” might mean?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 28 March 2007 05:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  115
Joined  2007-02-24

It might refer to the Conklin Pen. They were very colorful.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 28 March 2007 08:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  283
Joined  2007-02-23

Good thinking, and better than anything I can come up with. Is Durrell known to take this sort of liberties with capitalization BTW?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 29 March 2007 06:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3525
Joined  2007-01-29

Aha—very colorful indeed, and I’ll bet you’ve hit it on the nose!  As for the capitalization, I suspect Durrell felt (assuming he was referencing the pens) that upper case would look too much like product placement; since he was using them simply for their colorfulness, he was in a sense turning them into a common noun.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 29 March 2007 07:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  311
Joined  2007-02-17

(^_^) Having no personal experience with cooking infants or inky tubers, I am still mystified.  Perhaps it makes sense in context? (^_^)

Profile
 
 
Posted: 29 March 2007 02:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Rank
Total Posts:  6
Joined  2007-03-29

I think Harold C. Conklin a more likely candidate. “In his field research Hanunoo color Categories, Conklin revealed that people in different cultures recognize colors differently because of their unique linguistic classification systems.” He seems to have published this (and more on similar topics) sometime in the mid-1950’s (’55 according to one source, ‘56 according to another. Anyhow, a year of two before the publication of “Justine"). 

I’ll need to play around in the meta-sand-pit-thingy awhile before I can manage a link, but I’m sure lh is more than up to tracking this down in JSTOR. And congratulations, Dave, on the lovely new site.

[ Edited: 29 March 2007 04:00 PM by dma. ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 29 March 2007 03:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Rank
Total Posts:  6
Joined  2007-03-29

Ignore.

[ Edited: 29 March 2007 04:19 PM by dma. ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 29 March 2007 04:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3525
Joined  2007-01-29

Hmm… It’s certainly a possible alternate explanation, but how likely is it that Durrell would have happened on Conklin’s study of Hanunoo color categories?  Conklin Pen got an endorsement from Mark Twain in 1902 and was exporting pens to Europe and South America in the ‘20s; presumably the name would have been familiar to both Alexandrians of the late ‘30s and Durrell’s readers in the late ‘50s.  Would he really have been able to use “conklin” as a reference to a very recent scientific study and expect to be understood?  I’d want to see some evidence that it was a common reference by then.  (By the way, I don’t have JSTOR access yet, not having gotten around to applying for a Boston library card.)

Profile
 
 
Posted: 29 March 2007 04:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
Rank
Total Posts:  6
Joined  2007-03-29

Durrell was an erudite cove but I have to admit, it seems less likely to me than it did an hour or two ago. I’m hooked by your query and have emailed the Lawrence Durrell Society.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 30 March 2007 04:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3525
Joined  2007-01-29

What a good idea!  I should ask them about “Ginks” ("The Ginks were abroad with their long oiled plaits and tinselled clothes; the faces of black angels; the men-women of the suburbs”—Balthazar p. 55).

Profile
 
 
Posted: 30 March 2007 07:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  236
Joined  2007-02-23

Probably too late or unrealted but something sounded familiar so I did a quick check to refresh my memory; the Hanunoo were into yams.  http://class.csueastbay.edu/anthropologymuseum/virtmus/Philippines/Peoples/Hanunoo.htm

Profile
 
 
Posted: 30 March 2007 10:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  115
Joined  2007-02-24

Droogie, are you speculating that Lawrence Durrell knew about the Hanunoo before he wrote “Junstine”?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 03 April 2007 07:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3525
Joined  2007-01-29

Not that anyone cares, but since I asked about Ginks, for the benefit of posterity I’ll point out that I just found the answer to my question completely by accident, looking up something else in Lane’s Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians:

There is, in Cairo, another class of male dancers, young men and boys, whose performances, dress, and general appearance are almost exactly similar to those of the Khäwals; but who are distinguished by a different appellation, which is “Gink;” a term that is Turkish, and has a vulgar signification which aptly expresses their character.  They are generally Jews, Armenians, Greeks, and Turks.

Unfortunately, it’s not in my smallish Turkish dictionary, so I don’t know what the “vulgar signification” might be…

Profile
 
 
Posted: 03 April 2007 08:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1373
Joined  2007-01-29

Nevertheless, the “Cairo scene became inundated with khawals, dancing boys called gink, or çengi and koçek in Turkish”(70) after the edict was issued. The depiction of male dancers is usually mentioned in passing in Western travel accounts. One explanation for thisomission is that the hetero Western mind considers these boys asparticipants in an art that is exclusively female. Karayanni states that“constructing modern Oriental dance as a female fertility ritual silencesthe widespread custom of male dancers in the East” (70). In addition, khawals and dancing boys are seen as a socialembarrassment not only because they transgress into the female domain but also because they can engage in homosexual acts (78).

Link
Profile
 
 
Posted: 03 April 2007 09:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3525
Joined  2007-01-29

Eliza!  You are wonderful!  (Not that I’m telling you anything you don’t already know.) That review is fascinating, and the book it reviews is available at GoogleBooks, which allows me to search on “gink” and find further information.  On p. 80, for instance:

Lane’s closing remark on “the vulgar signification” of Gink, a remark that indicates a certain discomfort, seems to allude to these dancers’ explicit availability for sexual hire… Obviously, the Janissaries’ enthusiasm over the dancing boys was not as openly shared, if felt at all, by either Lane or the majority of travellers to the Middle East.

Many thanks!

Profile