[ilds] [RG 2003 Justine 1.1]

James Gifford gifford at ualberta.ca
Fri Apr 6 12:14:44 PDT 2007


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Date: Thu, 5 Jun 2003 13:54:34 -0400
From: Sumantra Nag
To: Anna Lillios 
Subject: AQ

May I add, (in the context of this excellent examination by Bill Godshalk,
of the repeated - and highly descriptive - references to seasons by Durrell
in the _AQ_), that there are qualities in Durrell's _Alexandria Quartet_
which remind me of the effect of Tagore's songs in Bengali.

First, there is the rhythm in Durrell's prose, and his use of language which
is noticeably rich and suggestive of Elizabethan influences. This reminds me
of the Bengali language which is rich in sound.

Second, seasons have a dominant presence in the songs of Tagore, which, in
structure, are basically poems with very well defined metre, rhyme (and
alliteration). The descriptions are intense.

Third, the large majority of songs are romantic in character, but (as in
poetry) the subject is not named. Harking back to Charles Sligh's
unravelling of the way the names of the women are witheld, leading to an
impressionistic impact which arises through the image of a woman rather than
througha well-defined person, I would say, that this approach links the
woman with the lanscape and the season, in the way that it would in a poem
(the Shakespearean sonnet in particular?).

Fourth of course, is the place - a thousand dust tormented streets, etc. -
which evokes an atmosphere very familiar to one who knows Delhi and Calcutta
in India!

To what extent has Durrell's early childhood in India influenced his
sensibility about place?

These are some connections which occur to me.

Sumantra Nag 

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