Monday, 20 July 2015

To write one's name by Sarah Waters

In Millbank prison, "they were all wild for paper, paper and ink. When they bring you to the gaol... they make you put your name upon the page of a great black book" and this is the last time you hold a pen and write your name with it.
But to want a sheet of paper, only to write one's name upon it, so that one might feel oneself conjured through it into life and substance -It seemed a very little thing to want.I took the note-book from my pocket, opened it to a blank page and placed it flat upon the table; and then I offered her my pen. She gazed at it. and then at me; she held it in her hand, and clumsily unscrewed it - the weight and shape of it, I suppose, were unfamiliar. Then she held it, trembling, above the page, until a glistening bead of ink welled at its nib; and then she wrote: Selina. And then she wrote her name in full - Selina Ann Dawes. And then the christian name alone again: Selina.

Sarah Waters, Affinity, first published 1999.

Margaret Prior falls in love with convicted psychic Selina and does whatever possible to facilitate her escape including forging the signature of her brother to acquire the necessary funds for their elopement. She eventually finds out that she has been used in a plot to help Selina reunite with Margaret's maid.

Margaret forging her brother's signature

Margaret writing her journal.

Screenshots from the film Affinity, 2008; dir Tim Fywell.

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