Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Aspects of Love

In David Garnett’s novelette Aspects of Love (1955), later musicalised by Andrew Lloyd Webber, a young man called Alexis, who has just been expelled from his public school for what he calls ‘the usual reason’, has an affair with a woman called Rose, who subsequently drops him in favour of his debonair uncle, Sir George Dillingham.  Generational slippage recurs much later, when Alexis falls for George and Rose’s fourteen-year-old daughter, Jenny.  To avoid the pitfall of actually making love with a girl so young, Alexis contrives to head south with a previous mistress of his uncle’s, Giulietta.  However, both Giulietta and Jenny herself know that in four or five years’ time the girl, by then maturing into womanhood, is quite likely to want to track him down, and he is unlikely to be able any longer to resist her.  Alexis, as a type, seems intended to demonstrate a certain characteristic of the ex-public school ex-homosexual.  He is a boy-man with a romantic approach to love that is driven by sexual attraction; he has to be manipulated, or controlled, by others if he is not to ruin the lives of those who surround him.

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