Saturday, 16 April 2011

The Talented Baby Hermes

In Edith's Diary and in The Talented Mr. Ripley, author Patricia Highsmith refers to the Hermes Baby. In the first book, Edith is in her wayward son's room and regards the machine on his desk, it had a dent on the top and was all covered in dust; she contemplates how expensive it was for them to have bought it for him and now feels its neglect.  In TTMR, Tom Ripley types out a forged will by Dickie Greenleaf Jr. But the reference is again to a Hermes Baby, this one is in so need of repair that it's type could be easily traced back to its source, so Tom takes the machine & its case and went out into the streets of Rome & dropped it into the canal. She writes: "He was glad to be rid of the typewriter, though he had not been willing to part with it until now." (pg.204, Norton)  This makes me wonder if she wasn't really expressing her own feeling about her schreibmaschine?

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