[ilds] Durrell and The Good Soldier

Pamela Francis albigensian at hotmail.com
Thu Apr 26 07:17:41 PDT 2007


I read the Good Soldier just recently, and I was very impressed, and yes, 
made the connections b/t Ford's modus operandi and Durrell's.  As for why LD 
didn't know the work: I have been reading for my comprehensive exams, and my 
main subject area is British Modernism.  When you read the criticism, both 
of the era itself and current work, you find that Ford is just everywhere.  
I mean, everywhere.  He was held in the highest regard by his fellow 
Moderns, and critics (Peter Childs, Levenson, etc) hail him as the 
quintessential modernist novelist.  Therefore I, too, was very surprised to 
read that LD had not read TGS.  But even with the high regard given him (and 
TGS is one of the most finely crafted examples of unreliable narration I've 
ever read) he is just not read very often.  I have no idea why, and I can 
assure you he will be on my future syllabi.  His absence is particulary 
obvious on this side of the Atlantic (the States).  In short, his influence 
is well-noted, but his books are rarely-read.  Tis a shame.--Pamela Francis, 
English Graduate Student, Rice University, Houston, TX


>From: "Alejandro Adams" <hungerist at hotmail.com>
>Reply-To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca
>To: <ilds at lists.uvic.ca>
>Subject: Re: [ilds] Durrell and The Good Soldier
>Date: Wed, 25 Apr 2007 23:41:25 -0700
>
>I'd like to reiterate that I'm not a scholar and have very limited range of
>movement in these matters, but I'll gladly cite the applicable portion of
>the interview as it seems to be of interest.  The book is Lawrence Durrell:
>Conversations, edited by Earl G. Ingersoll.  The title of the piece is The
>Poet Who Stumbled into Prose by Kenneth Young.  It appeared in the December
>1959 issue of Encounter.
>
>Durrell: If the experiment comes off, if you have all four [books] held in
>your cranium, you should get a notion of the continuum.  I am using human
>beings instead of figures.  Consequently, subject to all the problems of
>just pure novel writing, I am trying to illuminate them from five or six
>different sides.
>
>Young: At this point, I suggested that much of what he was after had been
>done, and in purely literary terms, by Ford Madox Ford.  I lent Durrell
>Ford's The Good Soldier; he read it overnight, and then wrote:
>
>Durrell: I'm so glad I didn't read The Good Soldier before writing Justine
>or I might never have finished her!  This novel is an eye-opener with its
>brilliant organization and gathering momentum; it's fit to put beside the
>best of our time.  How the devil didn't I know his work?
>
>
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