It's the new black.

Of tulips and tennis-players

Nantucket Historical Association

On the first page of Gaudy Night, Harriet Vane entertains the possibility of revisiting an old friendship, which soon becomes the revisiting of Oxford, first in mind and then in body. Oxford kindles a revisiting of the nature of Harriet’s work as a whodunit producer and her long-ignored desire to create something closer to art. Intermingled with her reflections on art and the artist-as-woman is the revisiting of her relationship with Lord Peter Wimsey, once thought to be in the lingering notes of a final coda, only to discover that the prospect of marriage with him to be “another thing entirely.”

Gaudy, as Hannah Townsend elucidated in The Gaudy Manifestomeans “reunion.” Gaudy Night is a meditation on the act of reunion, the act of revisiting. Harriet discovers along with the reader that revisiting a book, a place, or a person is a creative rather than repetitive act.

As we revisit the Gaudy blog after a somewhat unexpected two-month hiatus, as both Hannah and I revisit our alma mater this fall, as I revisit the possibilities of post-graduate life once pondered in my first year of college, I am challenged by Sayers’s call to revisit, to reunite.

It demands some unwilling humility, to admit that the first time I looked, I was not looking properly. It demands that I spend time returning to books and drawing boards, to write inspired by the old and the tattered re-read and re-understood.

But it is in revisiting and reunion that we find what we were looking for the first time.

So here we are; let’s look again. – Gabrielle

Harriet Vane sat at her writing-table and stared out into Mecklenburg Square. The late tulips made a brave show in the Square garden, and a quartet of early tennis-players were energetically calling the score of a rather erratic and unpracticed game. But Harriet saw neither tulips nor tennis-players. A letter lay open on the blotting-pad before her, but it s image had faded from her mind to make way for another picture. She saw a stone quadrangle, built by a modern architect in a style neither new nor old, but stretching out reconciling hands to past and present…


One comment on “Of tulips and tennis-players

  1. the8tregirl
    November 13, 2012

    The moment I saw the name of this blog I wondered who was the Dorothy L Sayers fan.

    I have used my own blog as a re-visiting place quite frequently. In fact, today’s post re-visits a huge moment of my long-ago childhood. I have always been a re-visitor, someone who enjoys reflecting on what has happened more than I anticipate what is yet to come. As I grow well into my middle years, it seems natural to allow that inclination to grow. Not, however, that I ever want to stop anticipation altogether.

    Looking forward is how to we continue to grow – or so I think. Certainly if, as a society, we cannot look ahead, plan forward, consider the long term, we as a group will stagnate and fail. That holds true for us as individuals too.

    Enjoy your contemplation of the past but don’t forget to celebrate what’s yet to come!

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This entry was posted on October 3, 2012 by and tagged , , , , , , , , .

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