[ilds] Durrell and The Good Soldier

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Thu Apr 26 09:28:20 PDT 2007

Pamela Francis writes:

>I read the Good Soldier just recently . . . 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 suppose Durrell's reading habits reflect his interests and the way he saw himself within the literary establishment of the times.  Not surprising.  I see him as an outsider, like Miller (that friendship is very telling), way outside the mainstream, without an Oxbridge degree, and doing battle with the big shots who ran the show in the first half of the 20th century.  But there is still the matter of doing one's homework, and it is surprising he didn't have under his belt the major authors, and Ford was certainly one of those, along with Joyce and Proust.  Durrell's life, however, was hectic, and perhaps he didn't have the time to do all that reading.  Academics have the time and inclination -- but they don't turn out Alexandria Quartets.  So, he went his own way, followed his own instincts, and I'm glad he did.  What he accomplished was so great that I'll even put up with his occasional pontifications on the course of European literature.  A whole conference could probably be devoted to this subject.


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