[ilds] [RG 2003 Justine 2]

James Gifford odos.fanourios at gmail.com
Fri Apr 6 13:00:41 PDT 2007


------ Forwarded Message
From: Bruce Redwine
Date: Sun, 22 Jun 2003 00:47:06 -0400
To: <DURRELL at NEWS.CC.UCF.EDU>
Subject: [ILDS] ILDS:  Discussion Group--AQ2.  Redwine.



Re plane trees.   I don't want to bog down this discussion on some imagery
in the incipit, but only wish to make the small point that Durrell, whether
intentionally or not, has the ability to evoke a world and then to take it
away, make it disappear, or show its unsubstantial basis in memory and
language.   I thank Isabelle Keller for her vivid explanation of "plane
tree," which I have not had the pleasure of seeing in the flesh, as it were.
She's surely right in making sense of it and showing its wider implications.
My only problem
with that, however, is the desolate scene Darley has set for himself.   He
sits
on his windy, "bare promontory" and surveys his landscape and past.
Perhaps
there are plane trees "unpacking" in the distance, but in the "flash" of "my
mind's eye," I see those empty plains commonly associated with barren
Mediterranean islands.   Perhaps LD intends both, and that contributes to
the
shimmering quality of his prose and poetry.   In Caesar's Vast Ghost his
opening
description of Provence has that dual quality of light and shadow:   "the
icy
contrast of sunblaze and darkness under the ruffling planes" (p. 1).

Re the use of biographical material.   I thank Sumantra Nag for the "prose
poem" excerpt from the Durrell-Miller correspondence, which should be given
great weight, using Isabelle's criterion, since it occurs during the writing
of
AQ.  Now, somewhere in those letters I recall Durrell saying, "I loathed
Egypt."
  I wonder if he knew or meant what he was saying.  The Quartet would seem
to
belie that statement.   But writers, as Isabelle points out, say many things
depending on a host of circumstances.   D. H. Lawrence comes to mind -- and
he
was one of Durrell's patron saints -- the famous dictum:   "Never trust the
artist.   Trust the tale."

Bruce Redwine



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