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05/04/05 - Eleanor's Building

We've finally been going over our notes from our New York City trip and figuring out what is worth posting. Things are slow here in Port Angeles, or rather we've been so focused on various boring projects that we have fallen behind. So, here is something from nearly a month ago;
She by H. Rider Haggard
We were walking down 56th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues when we noticed an unusual sign on one of the buildings:

    Eleanor's Building - She who must be obeyed

We have no idea of who Eleanor is, though we assume that building was indeed hers. As for "she who must be obeyed", we have to thank H. Rider Haggard who wrote the book She which is surprisingly not a gay camp classic. After all, the story involves a closeted male couple, one member of whom is tempted by a family inheritance which takes him to a mysterious lost land in Africa. Here, he and his male partner are tempted by, of all things, women. Ayesha, the queen of this society is seeking immortality, which requires the presence of a male partner, suggesting that this is a metaphor for the familiar immortality obtained by having children. If you've read Victorian fiction in which the heroine must fight for her virtue, you will find this all familiar, save for Haggard's sex reversal. In the end, virtue triumphs.

We don't think that any of the characters in She was named Eleanor, and we are probably reading a bit much into a mere sign.

Keywords: eleanor's building, new york city, port angeles, victoria, kale