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The Oppenheimer Alternative
Jean Tatlock: Une Martyre?
My own little contribution to J. Robet Oppenheimer scholarship is this observation in The Oppenheimer Alternative about the uncanny resemblance of Oppie's girlfriend Jean Tatlock to Tony-George Roux's illustration for the poem "Une Martyre" from the 1917 edition of Oppie's favorite book, Les Fleurs du mal by the French poet Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867):
She tilted her head again, and the light from the porcelain table lamp hit her just so, and he suddenly realized where he'd seen that face before. Oppie's favorite book was Baudelaire's poetry collection Les Fleurs du mal. The shape of Jean's face and the curve and length of her nose were identical to that of the woman in the etching accompanying Baudelaire's heartbreaking "Une Martyre" in the glorious 1917 edition. He frowned, ousting the thought. That etching was gruesome: the woman's head had been severed, a beauty cut down in the flower of youth as her older lover traveled the world.
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