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1 I have chosen to place this study of William Trevor’s volume, A Bit on the Side, under Siri Hustvedt’s auspices, although I couldn’t trace any writing of hers concerning William Trevor directly. Yet, much of her thinking deeply resonates with my reading of Trevor. Furthermore, in a study of oblique perspectives, that a writer of Norwegian origins, living in Brooklyn, who repeatedly describes herself as “an outsider, an unaffiliated intellectual roamer” should be our guide in an exploration of an Irish artist living in Devon, who has been publishing his short stories in the New Yorker for 36 years (Trevor’s story “Torridge” was the first to be published in The New Yorker on 12 Sept. 1977) did not seem altogether inappropriate. Most references, unless otherwise specified, are to her latest volume of essays, Living, Thinking, Looking. Page numbers are given parenthetically.
2 All quotations are from the 2005 Penguin edition and page numbers are given parenthetically in the text.
3 Dr. Cary D. Kornfeld, from the Computer Systems Institute (ETH Zurich), explains that Sir Charles Wheatstone, whose original drawing is reproduced at the beginning of this part, “invented the Stereoscope in 1833 and then spent the next five years exploring this device and its unique effect before announcing his discovery to the world in his publication, Contributions to the Physiology of Vision—Part the first: On some remarkable, and hitherto unobserved, Phenomena of Binocular Vision (1838). He explained that doubleness of vision, caused by retinal disparity, actually produces the depth sensation that we now call stereopsis.”
4 To go back to the etymological meaning of stereoscopy—from the Greek stereo meaning solid and scopy, sight.
5 See the interview with John Tusa, where the connection between the art of carving and the art of writing explicitly concerns the perception of the third dimension.
6 See Mortensen. A very detailed and stimulating reflection on inconsistent images is to be found on the website of the Department of Philosophy of the University of Adelaide. The picture of the Penrose triangle comes from this site.
7 Hans Holbein the Younger. Jean de Dinteville and Georges de Selve (‘The Ambassadors’). 1533. Oil on oak. 207 / 209,5cm. National Gallery, London.
8 For further development on Trevor’s musical art, see Majola-Leblond. One could also note that one story in this volume is entitled “The Dancing-Master’s Music.”
9 The suspension of evaluation remains relative here, because there are hints of cowardice and hypocrisy in the man’s position, not wanting his lover “to be his bit on the side,” but not ready for all that to divorce his wife, although he does seem to love his mistress truly.
10 Seminar at Columbia University on June 13, 2006, referred to in Hustvedt, Living, Thinking, Looking 321.
11 In a letter to George and Thomas Keats, John Keats writes: “that is when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.”
Claire Majola-Leblond, “Writing Aslant: Putting Chisel to Paper—William Trevor’s A Bit on the Side”, Journal of the Short Story in English, 63, Autumn 2014, 241-256.
Claire Majola-Leblond, “Writing Aslant: Putting Chisel to Paper—William Trevor’s A Bit on the Side”, Journal of the Short Story in English [Online], 63 | Autumn 2014, Online since 01 December 2016, connection on 01 August 2021. URL: http://journals.openedition.org/jsse/1536