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Package is in a very bad inconsistent state (texlive)

As several others have reported, the texlive system (which may have
been installed from experimental in my case) has gotten into a bad
state in which I can neither remove, install, nor reinstall it.

The other reports focused on dvipdfmx.  With some help from the
texlive maintainers, I was able to purge that package.  For others
that seems to have been enough, but I'm still stuck.

These problems prevent aptitude from working even for unrelated

When I try to remove texlive with aptitude I get
dpkg: error processing preview-latex-style (--remove):
 Package is in a very bad inconsistent state - you should
 reinstall it before attempting a removal.
(Reading database ... terminate called after throwing an instance of 'std::logic_error'
  what():  basic_string::_S_construct NULL not valid

(This apparent aptitude crash is also mentioned in previous mails, and
may explain some of how things got in such bad shape).  I've also
tried dpkg removal, but it too refused to act.

Attempted reinstalls produce the message that I must purge first
(details at bottom).

Does anyone have suggestions?  At the moment I'm trying to purge
texlive from the system, in hopes that a new install will then clear
things up (though apparently that wasn't the case for one poster).

One suggestion in earlier threads was to use forcing options with the
package tools, but I'm reluctant to do so because I don't understand
the implications well.

Additional info:

Bug 384945 has my report of this problem; a log attached at the end
gives the details of attempted repairs.

# dpkg -l preview-latex-style
| Status=Not/Installed/Config-files/Unpacked/Failed-config/Half-installed
|/ Err?=(none)/Hold/Reinst-required/X=both-problems (Status,Err: uppercase=bad)
||/ Name           Version        Description
pHR preview-latex- 11.83-2        LaTeX style files for editor embedded previe

#aptitude -q reinstall preview-latex-style
results in the proposed installation of many packages (which I
accepted), and then
Unpacking texlive-doc-base (from .../texlive-doc-base_2005-2_all.deb) ...
Upgrade from experimental versions are not supported!
Please purge all texlive packages before installation.
dpkg: error processing /var/cache/apt/archives/texlive-doc-base_2005-2_all.deb (--unpack):
 subprocess pre-installation script returned error exit status 1
(similar messages for other packages).

So purge says I must reinstall, and reinstall says I must purge.

The same reinstall also said
The following packages are BROKEN:
  texlive-context texlive-doc-en texlive-fonts-recommended 
  texlive-generic-recommended texlive-metapost texlive-pdfetex 
  texlive-pstricks tipa 

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