“Lie Down in Darkness”, William Styron


“Marry a Jew or a Chinaman or a Swede, it’s all fine if you’re prompted by any motive, including money, save that of guilt.” (Milton Loftis on p. 74 of William Styron’s “Lie Down in Darkness”.)

I entirely agree. May none of you ever marry a Swede from motives of guilt.


1. When William Styron has Peyton Loftis say of her relationship to her father Milton “I think we have a Freudian attachment”, is Styron a.) telegraphing his punch, b.) belaboring the obvious, or c.) going postmodern and meta ahead of the rest?

2. When Styron keeps talking about Peyton’s hips, isn’t the interest he’s taking in his fictional character’s ass as unhealthy, in its way, as Milton Loftis’s Oedipal fixation on his daughter — pretty much regardless of how lovely Peyton’s fictional ass really was?

3. They seem to be finally making a movie out of the book. In her prime, wouldn’t Brooke Shields have made a great Peyton Loftis?

4. Helen Peyton Loftis thought that her daughter Peyton Loftis was irredeemably evil by nature, whereas William Styron thinks that it was Helen who was irredeemably evil. Might not the entire Peyton line have been an evil spawn cursed by God, so that both were right?

Published in: on January 21, 2011 at 9:11 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I refuse to leave a comment without reading the book first.

  2. At least avoid marrying Swedes for motives of guilt.

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