Dreaming of Dead People by Rosalind BelbenRosalind Belben belongs with Christine Brooke-Rose, Kavan, Quin and Figes in the top rank of those experimental post-war writers who explored specifically and explicitly female perspectives which had hitherto been ignored (or dismissed). She writes of isolation, of sexual desire, of the physical sensations of the female orgasm, of conflicted longings and hatred of family and motherhood, of aging and of failure. She also writes beautifully, on the level of the sentence, and the music of her writing is captivating. She is also, unlike the others, still living and still writing, though I think her most recent books have taken a step towards the more traditional.
Our narrator in this novel is a spinster (though only in her 30s – time has extended the cut-off date for this at least!) who has experienced much in her youth, has travelled and fucked and travelled and fucked and now suddenly finds herself a shriveled person, she has sucked herself dry, and she can no longer play those roles her youth and attractiveness permitted her. Her isolation and her age have heightened her sensuality and sexuality to an unbearable point. She masturbates regularly with an electric toothbrush (she is too embarrassed to buy a vibrator and, should someone stumble across her favoured tool, what could be more innocent and more easily explained away than a toothbrush?) and Belben describes in some detail the sensations and processes of this act. Prior to the use of the toothbrush she had been unable to orgasm, indeed for some time was unaware of what the sensation should be – she comments that literature failed her here as the female orgasm is either unspoken of or couched in such flowery romanticised language that it bears no relationship to the action sensations.
Some sections of the book shift to the perspective of Robin Hood (who is rather different to the man of myth and legend), complete with quotations from medieval poetry, which operates both as a metaphor for her Self and as, perhaps, a desperate attempt to both escape the isolation of her solitary consciousness, and provide a fantasy life.
She attempts to situate herself in nature, and with nature, to provide some relief, but death and abandonment follow her here too.
This book should not have fallen out of print, not least because it appears to have been well reviewed in the Guardian, FT and Telegraph, but such is the way of BURIAL. It is a very enjoyable, very interesting read, though not one for those of you who find graphic descriptions of sex and sex organs problematic.
This is my second of hers, and my next will be Is Beauty Good which was raved about by Michael Hamburger and Gabriel Josipovici, among others, which certainly bodes well.
Dreaming of Messages From the Dead
Discussion Forum. Dreams in which dead people appear are sometimes expressive of our attempts to deal with our feelings, guilt or anger in connection with the person who died; or our own feelings about death. When someone close to us dies we go through a period of change from relating to them as an external reality, to meeting and accepting them as alive in our memories and inner life. But dead people can simply be people from our past. Considering that the major part of our learning and experience occur in relationship to other people, such learning and experience can be represented by characters from the past.
Are you dreaming about dead people?
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Death in itself is a very frightening event that no one yearns for. In as much as we all know that one day we shall all die, we do not anticipate for it. Finally when it comes, it takes a long time for one to get over it. Most dreams about dead people appear to you because you still hold on to the memories of the dead person. You may have a lot on mind as to why you had a dream about that one person, and perhaps, this dream is recurrent. There are a number of reasons as to why you see dead people in your dreams.