i have had to find it out for myself

“I am a different person with everyone I know. I would never have met the Jolivet I am with Jonquille had she not created him. This is strange. I have had to find it out for myself. No one has ever explained so clear and obvious a truth about people and identity to me.

Jonquille’s Jolivet was a surprise to me. Michel’s Jolivet a delight. I like Michel’s Jolivet as much as Jonquille’s Jolivet. I like Victor’s Jolivet, a splendid person I could not otherwise have been, Maman’s Jolivet, an uncertain but confident son, and Papa’s affectionate Jolivet.

Marc Aurel’s Jolivet is an imaginary and improbable character I have never met, called into intermittent being by Marc Aurel. In Trombone’s presence I do not exist. With Tullio I have the feeling that I represent somebody Tullio mistakenly thinks is there by happy error.

Liking, then, is not only of the person liked, but of the unique and otherwise absent person the other develops in us, releases in us, creates of us. A friend is an engendering. We love those who make us lovable. A friend is the friend a friend finds and brings out in another.”

(Guy Davenport, from “On Some Lines of Virgil”, pp. 187–188 in Eclogues.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.