Re: RARA-AVIS: Grisaille and Willeford

From: Etienne Borgers (
Date: 08 Apr 2001

--- wrote:
> I am very happy to hear Etienne Borgers make this
> comment. A little while
> back, I had occasion to make some spoken comments
> about Charles Willeford,
> and I included a close look at a passage from Burnt
> Orange Heresy that
> included the word "grisaille." The word appears in
> chapter two; I won't
> quote the lead-in or the paragraphs that follow
> (which loop back to that
> word), but here is the description of Berenice
> Hollis's scar: "The coccyx
> scar had changed from an angry red to gray and
> finally to slightly puckered
> grisaille." The word is heavily loaded. It has a
> local artistic context
> (Figueras the narrator is an art critic), but seems
> to have a lot of other
> energy surrounding it. SNIP

Citing Burnt Orange Heresy, and remembering its
"artistic" background and setting, we have to remember that "grisaille" is also a word that qualifies a drawing (even a painting)in monochrome, wherein the selected color is gray (or sometimes dark yellow) and the drawing exclusively made from different shades of this same color.

This certainly adds also to the figurative use of the word in the above text.

E.Borgers Hard-boiled Mysteries

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