Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Mentions of eunuchs in 'The Dance of Genghis Cohn' (1968)

Quotes from Romain Gary's 1968 novel The Dance of Genghis Cohn that allude to eunuchs.

“He was...inoffensive. He had been the victim of a shooting accident in see what I mean?”
”What was he doing in France?”
“Well, he is a German, isn’t he? He was doing his duty.”
“Why should the Baroness have gone off with a eunuch?”
“Because he is harmless.”
“Then one might just as well stay with one’s husband.” (p. 53)

“Who was that gentleman, Florian?”
* * *
“Just another small-timer, my darling. There was no need for you to bother. I’ve told you a million times: they can’t deliver. They don’t have what it takes. Eunuchs, all of them.” (p. 95, pp. 118-119)

“Florian, you’re crying? You!”
“This dog’s life!” wails Florian. “I get fed up with it sometimes.”
“But what is it? What’s the matter now?”
“What’s the matter, what’s the matter? ... There are moments when I would like to...well, when I too would like to be able to...Watching them do it all the’s upsetting, in the end!”
“You would like to? You would like to be able to?”
“Well, nobody’s perfect.”
“Oh, Florian...You mustn’t!”
“I’m not saying I want to be a man. No, not that, thanks awfully. But they end by getting on my nerves...”
“You shouldn’t envy them.”
“All I can say is that it looks damned good. You’ve only got to look at their faces...”
“But they pass so quickly! A man, Florian, as you should know better than anyone, only passes. He retreats almost at once. It’s so ephemeral! They always talk about building for a thousand years, but when they actually get down to the job...A thousand years! They make me laugh.”
“Yes, I know, it’s always that dream of endurance. It’s a well-known symptom. They’re all impotent.” (p. 127)

“You’ve no idea the things men ask me to do, to get themselves in the mood.”
“It’s always like that when genuine inspiration is missing. Tricks. Techniques. Systems. ideologies. They completely lack love. Impotent people always fall back on vice, my peach.” (p. 140)

“It is in vain that, in the second parable, Eleazar ben Zohai speaks of the 'terrestrial Cow fulfilled by the celestial Bull.'" (p. 97)

Romain Gary. The Dance of Genghis Cohn. (1968) New York: Signet Books, 1969.

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