[ilds] ILDS Digest, Vol 1, Issue 88

Sumantra Nag sumantranag at gmail.com
Sat Apr 28 02:16:35 PDT 2007


RE_Message: 2
> Date: Fri, 27 Apr 2007 21:36:21 +0100
> From: Michael Haag

...........Darley is hardly a womaniser.  He had no woman at all, and no
history
> of having had one, until Melissa pretty much offered herself to
him;............
----------------------------------------------------------
Michael,

I found your spirited response very informative. I did of course note your
major
publication on Alexandria (Capital of Memory) some time ago, and look
forward very much to reading it
one day, along with Ian McNiven's biography on Lawrence Durrell. My
observations:

Your view that "...Melissa is a Greek of Alexandria; there is nothing to say
that she has
not lived there all her life."

In Justine, when Darley meets her for the first time, when she is very ill
after a party in the flat lent by Pombal to Pursewarden, the Greek doctor
'...asked her where she came from and a haunted expression came into her
face as she replied "Smyrna";...and then, '...The doctor took up her hand
and examined the wedding-finger. "You see," he said.... pointing out the
absence of a ring. "That is why. Her family has disowned her...." '

Melissa is a refugee: much earlier in Justine, the narrator writes,

"I found Melissa, washed up like a half-drowned bird, on the dreary
littorals of Alexandria, with her sex broken...."

Early in the pages of Justine, [1.2] Durrell makes much of Alexandria as
"...the great wine-press of love;...." and its inhabitants as people "...who
have been deeply wounded in their sex."  What is one to make of this
somewhat genral comment?

Sumantra
--------------------------------------------
Sumantra, do you have a citation for Said's comment?  I'm sure you're
right, but I couldn't find it in Orientalism or elsewhere.  "Trivial" does
indeed sound like Said talking about Durrell.  Thanks.
>
> Bruce
----------------------------- 
Bruce,

James Gifford has identified it:

RE_Message: 6
Date: Fri, 27 Apr 2007 15:17:28 -0700
From: James Gifford <odos.fanourios at gmail.com>

and he's once cited as
giving a talk in Beirut in which he refers to the Quartet as "trivial"
--------------------
I remember reading an account of this talk given in Beirut. I am writing
from memory, but remember some of these phrases.
>From what I can recall (!) the audience was described to consist of
Europeans who saw themselves as "...Durrellian heroes..." in the "...romance
and intrigue..." of a "...latter-day Alexandria...(meaning Beirut) etc.
I hope someone will be able to find the specific account and

Sumantra
----- Original Message ----- 
From: <ilds-request at lists.uvic.ca>
To: <ilds at lists.uvic.ca>
Sent: Saturday, April 28, 2007 3:02 AM
Subject: ILDS Digest, Vol 1, Issue 88


> Send ILDS mailing list submissions to
> ilds at lists.uvic.ca
>
> To subscribe or unsubscribe via the World Wide Web, visit
> https://lists.uvic.ca/mailman/listinfo/ilds
> or, via email, send a message with subject or body 'help' to
> ilds-request at lists.uvic.ca
>
> You can reach the person managing the list at
> ilds-owner at lists.uvic.ca
>
> When replying, please edit your Subject line so it is more specific
> than "Re: Contents of ILDS digest..."
>
>
> Today's Topics:
>
>    1. Re: ILDS Digest, Vol 1, Issue 86_Expats and colonialism
>       (Bruce Redwine)
>    2. Re: ILDS Digest, Vol 1, Issue 86_Expats and colonialism
>       (Michael Haag)
>    3. [Fwd: Google Alert - "Lawrence Durrell"] (slighcl)
>    4. [Fwd: Re: thank you!] (slighcl)
>    5. Re: ILDS Digest, Vol 1, Issue 86_Expats and colonialism
>       (Marc Piel)
>
>
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> Message: 1
> Date: Fri, 27 Apr 2007 12:05:10 -0700 (GMT-07:00)
> From: Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net>
> Subject: Re: [ilds] ILDS Digest, Vol 1, Issue 86_Expats and
> colonialism
> To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca
> Message-ID:
> <22103070.1177700710838.JavaMail.root at elwamui-hybrid.atl.sa.earthlink.net>
>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
>
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> >From: Sumantra Nag <sumantranag at gmail.com>
> >
> >
> >I think Edward Said referred to the subject matter of the AQ as "trivial"
> >and one can see why!
>
>                                 * * * * * *
>
> >
>
>
> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 2
> Date: Fri, 27 Apr 2007 21:36:21 +0100
> From: Michael Haag <michaelhaag at btinternet.com>
> Subject: Re: [ilds] ILDS Digest, Vol 1, Issue 86_Expats and
> colonialism
> To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca
> Message-ID: <F5898E20-F4FE-11DB-8A30-000393B1149C at btinternet.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=US-ASCII; format=flowed
>
> Darley is hardly a womaniser.  He had no woman at all, and no history
> of having had one, until Melissa pretty much offered herself to him;
> and Justine picked him up.  As for Pombal, well, he does what a
> Frenchman has to do.  Neither of them are exactly living depraved lives.
>
> In fact these scenes in the opening sections of Justine are reminiscent
> of scenes in many books, books set in Europe, and scenes in Durrell's
> earlier novels Pied Piper of Lovers and Panic Spring where the
> incidents occur in London.  They are not incidents that Durrell or his
> principal characters in those books seem to approve of.  One could say
> that Durrell transposed his material from London to Alexandria.  If so,
> does that suddenly put his writing into the category of colonialist or
> post-colonialist or orientalist?
>
> I find tags like colonial and post-colonial literature unhelpful; they
> stop people making important enquiries or thinking for themselves.  As
> for Edward Said, his Orientalism is nonsense and has been properly
> rubbished by people far better informed in the subject than himself,
> for example the historian of the medieval Middle East and novelist
> Robert Irwin in For Lust of Knowing: The Orientalists and Their Enemies
> (London, 2006).  Irwin has some pretty strong words for Edward Said,
> calling him something like dishonest and malign.
>
> I might add that the characters in Justine are, almost all of them,
> Alexandrians.  I draw the distinction between Alexandrians and
> Egyptians, and between Alexandria and Egypt.  Alexandria was a peculiar
> enterprise, a Europe transposed to Africa, rather like Durrell's
> scenes.  The fascination with Alexandria to a considerable extent lies
> in the fact that it is a kind of mirror (yes) to European civilisation;
> it allows you to see something that is familiar yet to see it in a
> special way.  That is why Cavafy, E M Forster and Lawrence Durrell were
> always writing about a European experience when writing about
> Alexandria -- the essence of the city, both ancient and
> modern-cosmopolitan, was European not Egyptian.
>
> Melissa is a Greek of Alexandria; there is nothing to say that she has
> not lived there all her life.  Balthazar is an Egyptian Jew as is
> Justine, and Nessim is a Copt, more Egyptian than those
> Johnny-come-lately Arabs or Turks.  Pombal is transitory, being a
> diplomat.  He will be transitory wherever he goes.  Darley may or may
> not have been transitory in Alexandria.  As it turns out, he leaves,
> comes back, then leaves again.  But he might have stayed.  Certainly
> the hundreds of thousands of people who made up the population at that
> time belonged to families who had been in Alexandria for generations,
> whether they were Christian, Muslim or Jew, whether they were French,
> Italian, Syrian, Turkish, Palestinian, Lebanese, Maltese, English,
> Belgian, Greek or whatever.  In fact the newcomers were the Egyptians;
> they moved in after the modern city was up and running.  The
> Alexandrians, indeed, were rather like Edward Said; he would fit the
> Alexandrian mould perfectly, except that his father ran a business in
> Cairo, not Alexandria, and sent his son to school in Cairo and America,
> not Alexandria and Paris.
>
> Alexandria was not a British colonial city.  The British between 1882
> and 1922 ran things from Cairo; after that the Egyptians ran almost
> everything for themselves, and indeed everything after 1936 -- except
> during the war, when the choice was between the British being in Egypt
> or the Nazis.  There were some Egyptians who wanted the Nazis, but I do
> not weep for the failure of their hopes.  In any case, Alexandria was a
> very different city to Cairo.  Cairo was founded by the Arabs and was
> the seat of the imperialist powers who ruled over Egypt, whether the
> Arabs themselves or the Turks in their many varieties, then the French,
> the Alids, the British, and now an Egyptian military dictatorship
> dressed up as a democratic government.  But Alexandria, refounded in
> about 1820 by Mohammed Ali (an Ottoman from northern Greece), was
> settled by Europeans who were invited there and whose communities were
> even given land on which to build.  They established their own elected
> municipal government -- the first municipal government anywhere in the
> Middle East -- and they largely ran their own affairs.  This was well
> established by the time the British came along.
>
> Having said all that, it is worth noting that in the very earliest
> drafts for Justine Durrell's characters were not Alexandrians, they
> were for the most part British, but they were not ex-pats nor were they
> transients, instead they were marooned in Alexandria by the war.  They
> wanted to get out, but they were trapped.  Rather like the gnostics
> felt trapped in a world not of their choosing nor even of God's
> choosing.
>
> The matter is complex.
>
> I should also add that the Alexandria Quartet is in fact two works.
> One is Justine.  The other is Balthazar-Mountolive-Clea.  The two works
> were written at very different times.  Moreover Justine was not written
> with any notion that there would be further volumes.  Reading Justine
> as though Balthazar-Mountolive-Clea already existed, or was conceived
> of, is a mistake.
>
> :Michael
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> On Friday, April 27, 2007, at 06:56  pm, Sumantra Nag wrote:
> >
>
> > to what extent is the AQ mainly about British and
> > European expats?
> >
> > I believe the AQ has been referred to as "post-colonial" literature -
> > or
> > should it be "colonial" literature? I remember reading that Lawrence
> > Durrell
> > referred to himself once as a "literary blimp", suggesting, it seems,
> > that
> > he looked upon himself as a colonial in attitude. In fact, if one were
> > to
> > look at the subject matter of the AQ, a lot of it deals with womanising
> > expatriate Englishmen (Darley, Pursewarden) or Frenchmen (Pombal for
> > one)
> > whose presence in Alexandria was transitory.
> >
> > I think Edward Said referred to the subject matter of the AQ as
> > "trivial"
> > and one can see why! Is Darley's relationship with Melissa anything
> > more
> > than "...what we wanted of each other..." [Justine (1.4)]? And what was
> > that? It is not clear, but can a complex relationship be contained in
> > such a
> > phrase? At first reading, there is an innocence and an element of
> > poetry in
> > the lines of this section - but how does it appear on reflection about
> > the
> > social situation - an Englishman having a fling with a deprived Greek
> > woman?
> > And the Englishman (however indigent) is a member of the ruling
> > colonial
> > power in Alexandria.
> >
> > And what do you make of the following passage [Justine (1.12)]:
> >
> > "Some of these encounters with poor exhausted creatures driven to
> > extremity
> > by want are interesting, even touching,..."
> >
> > "...encounters...are interesting.."???!!! It is as if Durrell had
> > unthinkingly let slip a crass and cynical comment, but it is a comment
> > which
> > is revealing, and what it reveals is not very nice!
> >
> > Sumantra Nag
>
>
>
> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 3
> Date: Fri, 27 Apr 2007 17:16:34 -0400
> From: slighcl <slighcl at wfu.edu>
> Subject: [ilds] [Fwd: Google Alert - "Lawrence Durrell"]
> To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca
> Message-ID: <46326832.9000005 at wfu.edu>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
>
> Since it will ultimately be tied to a search engine, this ILDS listserv
> can be most useful as an archive of Durrelliana, a fund for publishing
> LD-related news, no matter how apparently ephemeral.
>
> With that in mind, I pass along an article on archeology in modern
> Alex.  Perhaps no news here, but still we must be alert and honest
> enough to realize that /any /mention of LD sustains and directs
> attention to his works, shoring up his posthumous existence.  And given
> the fact that digital distribution of articles like the one below far
> exceeds readership for journals, scholarly monographs, conference
> papers, or biographies, any LD sightings in the digital press are worthy
> of note.
>
> Enjoy--submit what you find--and then talk!
>
> CLS
>
> -------- Original Message --------
> Subject: Google Alert - "Lawrence Durrell"
> Date: Fri, 27 Apr 2007 12:27:42 -0700
> From: Google Alerts <googlealerts-noreply at google.com>
> To: slighcl at wfu.edu
>
>
>
> Google News Alert for: *"Lawrence Durrell"*
>
> Alexandria Rediscovered
> <http://blog.wired.com/tableofmalcontents/2007/04/alexandria_redi.html>
> Wired News - USA
> *...* to the British novelist *Lawrence Durrell*, whose Alexandria
> Quartet, published in the late 1950s, is a bittersweet paean to the
> haunted city. *...*
> See all stories on this topic
>
<http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&ncl=http://blog.wired.com/tableofmalconte
nts/2007/04/alexandria_redi.html>
>
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>  This as-it-happens Google Alert is brought to you by Google.
>
> Remove
> <http://www.google.com/alerts/remove?s=EAAAABiCVG0pMM49iTuEYQVm9_8&hl=en>
> this alert.
> Create <http://www.google.com/alerts?hl=en> another alert.
> Manage <http://www.google.com/alerts/manage?hl=en> your alerts.
>
>
> -- 
> **********************
> Charles L. Sligh
> Department of English
> Wake Forest University
> slighcl at wfu.edu
> **********************
>
> -------------- next part --------------
> An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
> URL:
http://lists.uvic.ca/pipermail/ilds/attachments/20070427/31549896/attachment-0001.html
>
> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 4
> Date: Fri, 27 Apr 2007 17:30:39 -0400
> From: slighcl <slighcl at wfu.edu>
> Subject: [ilds] [Fwd: Re: thank you!]
> To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca
> Message-ID: <46326B7F.4040401 at wfu.edu>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
>
> I shall take the liberty of forwarding an email sent earlier to Marc
> Piel;  thanks for collaborating, Marc!
>
> See note copied below for an hour long recording of LD reading at the
> Poetry Forum.  Also of note is his "Letter to Henry Miller," which is
> available at
>
>         http://www.ubu.com/sound/miller.html
>
>
> Please share your own sound files and video clips of LD if you have
> them.  (I am certain that Jamie will share a link or  two.) We live in
> grand days for open archives.
>
> Charles
>
> -------- Original Message --------
> Subject: Re: thank you!
> Date: Fri, 27 Apr 2007 23:16:27 +0200
> From: Marc Piel <marcpiel at interdesign.fr>
> Reply-To: marcpiel at interdesign.fr
> Organization: InterDesign?
> To: slighcl <slighcl at wfu.edu>
> References: <46309C47.7050803 at wfu.edu>
>
>
>
> Thank you Charles, I very much enjoyed hearing LD.
> Are there more recordings like that?
> I found nothing on youtube.
> Thank you again.
> Marc
>
> slighcl wrote:
> > Thanks, Marc.  I really appreciate your following up on those clips.  I
> > enjoy listening to LD talk--he was a conversationalist extraordinaire.
> > If you do no know his reading recorded at poetryforum, please take a
listen:
> >
> >         http://www.thepoetryforum.org/Durrell.m3u
> >
> >
> > Dailymotion is an important resource.  Because it broadcasts free of US
> > copyright restrictions, it carries many clips not available from
> > US-based YouTube &c.
> >
> > Enjoy the day.
> >
> > Charles
> >
> > -- 
> > **********************
> > Charles L. Sligh
> > Department of English
> > Wake Forest University
> > slighcl at wfu.edu
> > **********************
> >
>
>
>
>
> -- 
> **********************
> Charles L. Sligh
> Department of English
> Wake Forest University
> slighcl at wfu.edu
> **********************
>
> -------------- next part --------------
> An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
> URL:
http://lists.uvic.ca/pipermail/ilds/attachments/20070427/0102ba90/attachment-0001.html
>
> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 5
> Date: Fri, 27 Apr 2007 23:24:02 +0200
> From: Marc Piel <marcpiel at interdesign.fr>
> Subject: Re: [ilds] ILDS Digest, Vol 1, Issue 86_Expats and
> colonialism
> To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca
> Message-ID: <463269F2.9000702 at interdesign.fr>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii; format=flowed
>
> Bravo!!!!!!!!!
>
> Michael Haag wrote:
>
> > Darley is hardly a womaniser.  He had no woman at all, and no history
> > of having had one, until Melissa pretty much offered herself to him;
> > and Justine picked him up.  As for Pombal, well, he does what a
> > Frenchman has to do.  Neither of them are exactly living depraved lives.
> >
> > In fact these scenes in the opening sections of Justine are reminiscent
> > of scenes in many books, books set in Europe, and scenes in Durrell's
> > earlier novels Pied Piper of Lovers and Panic Spring where the
> > incidents occur in London.  They are not incidents that Durrell or his
> > principal characters in those books seem to approve of.  One could say
> > that Durrell transposed his material from London to Alexandria.  If so,
> > does that suddenly put his writing into the category of colonialist or
> > post-colonialist or orientalist?
> >
> > I find tags like colonial and post-colonial literature unhelpful; they
> > stop people making important enquiries or thinking for themselves.  As
> > for Edward Said, his Orientalism is nonsense and has been properly
> > rubbished by people far better informed in the subject than himself,
> > for example the historian of the medieval Middle East and novelist
> > Robert Irwin in For Lust of Knowing: The Orientalists and Their Enemies
> > (London, 2006).  Irwin has some pretty strong words for Edward Said,
> > calling him something like dishonest and malign.
> >
> > I might add that the characters in Justine are, almost all of them,
> > Alexandrians.  I draw the distinction between Alexandrians and
> > Egyptians, and between Alexandria and Egypt.  Alexandria was a peculiar
> > enterprise, a Europe transposed to Africa, rather like Durrell's
> > scenes.  The fascination with Alexandria to a considerable extent lies
> > in the fact that it is a kind of mirror (yes) to European civilisation;
> > it allows you to see something that is familiar yet to see it in a
> > special way.  That is why Cavafy, E M Forster and Lawrence Durrell were
> > always writing about a European experience when writing about
> > Alexandria -- the essence of the city, both ancient and
> > modern-cosmopolitan, was European not Egyptian.
> >
> > Melissa is a Greek of Alexandria; there is nothing to say that she has
> > not lived there all her life.  Balthazar is an Egyptian Jew as is
> > Justine, and Nessim is a Copt, more Egyptian than those
> > Johnny-come-lately Arabs or Turks.  Pombal is transitory, being a
> > diplomat.  He will be transitory wherever he goes.  Darley may or may
> > not have been transitory in Alexandria.  As it turns out, he leaves,
> > comes back, then leaves again.  But he might have stayed.  Certainly
> > the hundreds of thousands of people who made up the population at that
> > time belonged to families who had been in Alexandria for generations,
> > whether they were Christian, Muslim or Jew, whether they were French,
> > Italian, Syrian, Turkish, Palestinian, Lebanese, Maltese, English,
> > Belgian, Greek or whatever.  In fact the newcomers were the Egyptians;
> > they moved in after the modern city was up and running.  The
> > Alexandrians, indeed, were rather like Edward Said; he would fit the
> > Alexandrian mould perfectly, except that his father ran a business in
> > Cairo, not Alexandria, and sent his son to school in Cairo and America,
> > not Alexandria and Paris.
> >
> > Alexandria was not a British colonial city.  The British between 1882
> > and 1922 ran things from Cairo; after that the Egyptians ran almost
> > everything for themselves, and indeed everything after 1936 -- except
> > during the war, when the choice was between the British being in Egypt
> > or the Nazis.  There were some Egyptians who wanted the Nazis, but I do
> > not weep for the failure of their hopes.  In any case, Alexandria was a
> > very different city to Cairo.  Cairo was founded by the Arabs and was
> > the seat of the imperialist powers who ruled over Egypt, whether the
> > Arabs themselves or the Turks in their many varieties, then the French,
> > the Alids, the British, and now an Egyptian military dictatorship
> > dressed up as a democratic government.  But Alexandria, refounded in
> > about 1820 by Mohammed Ali (an Ottoman from northern Greece), was
> > settled by Europeans who were invited there and whose communities were
> > even given land on which to build.  They established their own elected
> > municipal government -- the first municipal government anywhere in the
> > Middle East -- and they largely ran their own affairs.  This was well
> > established by the time the British came along.
> >
> > Having said all that, it is worth noting that in the very earliest
> > drafts for Justine Durrell's characters were not Alexandrians, they
> > were for the most part British, but they were not ex-pats nor were they
> > transients, instead they were marooned in Alexandria by the war.  They
> > wanted to get out, but they were trapped.  Rather like the gnostics
> > felt trapped in a world not of their choosing nor even of God's
> > choosing.
> >
> > The matter is complex.
> >
> > I should also add that the Alexandria Quartet is in fact two works.
> > One is Justine.  The other is Balthazar-Mountolive-Clea.  The two works
> > were written at very different times.  Moreover Justine was not written
> > with any notion that there would be further volumes.  Reading Justine
> > as though Balthazar-Mountolive-Clea already existed, or was conceived
> > of, is a mistake.
> >
> > :Michael
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > On Friday, April 27, 2007, at 06:56  pm, Sumantra Nag wrote:
> >
> >
> >>to what extent is the AQ mainly about British and
> >>European expats?
> >>
> >>I believe the AQ has been referred to as "post-colonial" literature -
> >>or
> >>should it be "colonial" literature? I remember reading that Lawrence
> >>Durrell
> >>referred to himself once as a "literary blimp", suggesting, it seems,
> >>that
> >>he looked upon himself as a colonial in attitude. In fact, if one were
> >>to
> >>look at the subject matter of the AQ, a lot of it deals with womanising
> >>expatriate Englishmen (Darley, Pursewarden) or Frenchmen (Pombal for
> >>one)
> >>whose presence in Alexandria was transitory.
> >>
> >>I think Edward Said referred to the subject matter of the AQ as
> >>"trivial"
> >>and one can see why! Is Darley's relationship with Melissa anything
> >>more
> >>than "...what we wanted of each other..." [Justine (1.4)]? And what was
> >>that? It is not clear, but can a complex relationship be contained in
> >>such a
> >>phrase? At first reading, there is an innocence and an element of
> >>poetry in
> >>the lines of this section - but how does it appear on reflection about
> >>the
> >>social situation - an Englishman having a fling with a deprived Greek
> >>woman?
> >>And the Englishman (however indigent) is a member of the ruling
> >>colonial
> >>power in Alexandria.
> >>
> >>And what do you make of the following passage [Justine (1.12)]:
> >>
> >>"Some of these encounters with poor exhausted creatures driven to
> >>extremity
> >>by want are interesting, even touching,..."
> >>
> >>"...encounters...are interesting.."???!!! It is as if Durrell had
> >>unthinkingly let slip a crass and cynical comment, but it is a comment
> >>which
> >>is revealing, and what it reveals is not very nice!
> >>
> >>Sumantra Nag
> >
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > ILDS mailing list
> > ILDS at lists.uvic.ca
> > https://lists.uvic.ca/mailman/listinfo/ilds
> >
> >
>
>
> ------------------------------
>
> _______________________________________________
> ILDS mailing list
> ILDS at lists.uvic.ca
> https://lists.uvic.ca/mailman/listinfo/ilds
>
>
> End of ILDS Digest, Vol 1, Issue 88
> ***********************************



More information about the ILDS mailing list