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“It’s, I’m, uh … it’s an erotic epic poem.”
December 5, 2012 4:05 PM   Subscribe

Who Was the Real Woman Behind “Nine and a Half Weeks”?

Reading “Ghost Waltz” and “Nine and a Half Weeks” side by side, Day’s vulnerabilities come shimmering into view. Both books examine the consequences of relationships marked by withholding—be it her lover’s effortless domineering humiliation or her parents’ shutting the door on discussing Herr Seiler’s deep-seated Nazi ties. The absence and emotional deprivation that young Ingeborg detects and learns to live with permeated her adult life, and must have been tied up with her brief but toxic relationship, in which submissive infatuation was mistaken for something more.

A 1981 review of Ghost Waltz.

About the movie version of Nine and a Half Weeks.
posted by chavenet (11 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Couldn't finish reading it, the author comes across as creepy. If someone wants to be anonymous, let them be anonymous. There's no need to go pouring through old records to sort out their life story, especially when they chose to be anonymous to keep the story from their child.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:38 PM on December 5, 2012


And what of Day/McNeill's daughter, Ursula Day? If 9 1/2 Weeks happened about the time of Ingeborg's work at Ms. magazine, her daughter was living with her. She'd be in her 40s or early 50s now.
posted by Dreidl at 4:46 PM on December 5, 2012


Is Clark Kent Superman or is Superman Clark Kent?
posted by Ad hominem at 4:57 PM on December 5, 2012


After i clicked and read the first paragraph, I sheepishly realized this movie did not star Hugh Grant and Julianne Moore and I've never seen it after all.
posted by discopolo at 5:28 PM on December 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


The author's heirs or executors don't want her to be anonymous--Nine and a Half Weeks is being republished under Ingeborg Day's name.

I read both books and agree with Weinman that The Ghost Waltz is by far the more troubling.
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:40 PM on December 5, 2012


The revelation invites us to speculate as to whether Day’s breakdown spurred her to dig into her father’s history, and whether that unconscious knowledge primed her for the sadomasochism

nonono RRRRGH TABLEFLIP RAGEQUIT
posted by clavicle at 5:47 PM on December 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


No fair posting articles on out of print books. I honestly want to see how disturbing Ghost Waltz is. I am expecting some sort of Sylvia Plath style relationship with her Nazi dad.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:57 PM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm assuming that part of the impetus for writing this article (and for republishing 9 1/2 Weeks) comes from the continued runaway bestseller status of that repurposed bit of Twilight slashfic, and contrasting it with the previous BDSM bestseller. As it happens, I read the book quite some time ago, and it is very different from the movie, which always seemed to me to be a somewhat upscale version of typical Skinemax stuff.

The thing about the book that always stuck in my mind wasn't the sex; it was the part that's mentioned in the article as "(Her sense of fashion also informs one of “Nine and a Half Weeks” ’s moments of levity, when McNeill rifles through her lover’s closet, evaluating and cataloging in detail his choice of suits, ties, and socks.)" In fact, it's a very good analysis of someone's consuming need for control manifested in having exactly the amount and type of clothing that he needs for work and such leisure activities that he performs in public. The scene reminded me of the one in The Fly (by David Cronenberg, no stranger to the perverse) in which we find out what an odd duck Seth Brundle is even before his transformation when his soon-to-be-girlfriend opens his closet and finds a dozen or so sets of the same outfit because he doesn't want to think about what he has to wear.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:28 PM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


It was Nancy Pelosi.

*shudder
posted by stormpooper at 6:41 AM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


someone's consuming need for control manifested in having exactly the amount and type of clothing that he needs for work

Her name is unusual enough that when I first read about this years ago, I remembered it from an earlier book: Cheap Chic. Her clothing philosophy, as a woman working in Manhattan, was to only wear all-white. Or all-black. No color, no prints. She noted that her restrictive wardrobe antagonized some of her co-workers.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 8:20 AM on December 6, 2012


I thought the whole duality/in opposition aspect was rather arbitrary. There were, of course, many many reasons to be private about your identity when publishing erotica, especially autobiographical erotica. Fewer nowadays, but I don't think it was really something that can be ascribed to psychodrama or even an artistic choice in the era under question.
posted by dhartung at 12:38 PM on December 6, 2012


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