[ilds] [RG 2003 Justine 1.1]

James Gifford gifford at ualberta.ca
Fri Apr 6 12:28:37 PDT 2007

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Date: Tue, 10 Jun 2003 14:34:05 +0200
From: Isabelle Keller
To: Anna Lillios 
Subject: Re: [ILDS] Linear, Global, Intertextual, Hypertextual readings

Thank you Bill for these useful explanations. Yes, I agree with you that the
text cannot force anyone to do anything. But perhaps the narrative
distinction between author and implied author would be handy here. When your
students say that "the text forces them to do something" arent' they in fact
trying to cope with their own projection of the implied author's
expectations which they have built up throughout their reading? In the same
way as we might say that Durrell expected us to decode Cavafy/ Shakespeare
and the rest? Also, I feel that the depth into which we go is highly
dependent on how far we wabt to be engaged in our reading. And I am not sure
that intertextual allusions are obvious from the very start for everybody. I
mean we are talking from the priviledged point of view for academics but
Durrell certainly did not write for us in particular! I made a funny
experiment in France, supplying French friends of mine who can't speak
English with translations of the Quartet. And they are not literary friends
either; I discovered then that people could actually fall in love with the
book for totally different reasons than "cultural / intertextual ones"; they
didn't miss the flavour of Durrell's English prose, or the literary
references; they were just enthralled by the mesmerizing atmosphere, the
mysterious women, the rythm of the fiction. I know this is not the kind of
questions we ask ourselves in academic circles but I think that just as
Durrell must have enjoyed the company of those who decode behind the texts
he would also like the idea of appealing to non-literary minded people. Or
is it my own phantsamagoric projection of the implied author?

And one last word about the use of "flora" where we migh expect "fauna": I
thought this only emphasised the passive, vegetative quality of the people;
also, it ties in with the mysterious mirage-like city which appears in
Balthazar, Part I section VII (Faber, one vol, B 314-5): "..it can become
like a mauve jungle...minarets like stalks of giant fennel"

Best regards

isabelle keller

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