[ilds] RG Justine 1.19 -- my sister, my bride (bridegroom)

Michael Haag michaelhaag at btinternet.com
Wed May 2 16:32:23 PDT 2007

Plotinus was reticent about his origins because, as E M Forster put it, 
'the descent of his soul into his body had been a great misfortune, 
which he did not desire to discuss'.

The 'negro head' is odd.  That is purely Durrell's invention.  One 
reason it is odd is that it gives the impression of Plotinus 
originating far upriver, much farther upriver than Assiout (Lycopolis). 
  Yet Durrell also describes Plotinus as conceiving of God in the spirit 
of pure intellectual play [1.20], a quality which he associates later 
in that same section with 'the scepticism of the Greek' and 'the mental 
play of the Mediterranean mind'.

There are times when one thinks that Durrell just makes things up 
without caring if they hang together.


On Wednesday, May 2, 2007, at 11:56  pm, Bruce Redwine wrote:

>> From: Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net>
>> Sent: May 2, 2007 3:55 PM
>> To: william godshalk <godshawl at email.uc.edu>
>> Subject: Re: [ilds] RG Justine 1.19 -- my sister, my bride 
>> (bridegroom)
>> Plotinus:  "The main facts of his life are known from Porphyry's 
>> memoir (prefixed to editions of the Enneads).  His birthplace, on 
>> which Porphyry is silent, is said by Eunapius and the Suda to have 
>> been Lyco or Lycopolis in Egypt, but his name is Roman, while his 
>> native language was almost certainly Greek" (Oxford Classical 
>> Dictionary, 3rd ed., 1996).
>> Eunapius was born in Sardis, near Smyrna, about 345 AD.  He was a 
>> Neoplatonist.  I think he had the inside track on the Wikipedia.
>> Lycopolis was at Asyut, roughly 300 miles up the Nile from Alexandria.
>> Since Lycopolis was well up the Nile, certainly not "Alexandria ad 
>> Aegyptum," that is, Alexandria by Egypt, not in it, perhaps the 
>> narrator of Justine equates the place with "dark" Africa.
>> Dunno know who sounds like who.
>> BR
>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: william godshalk <godshawl at email.uc.edu>
>>> Sent: May 2, 2007 2:04 PM
>>> To: Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net>, ilds at lists.uvic.ca
>>> Subject: Re: [ilds] RG Justine 1.19 -- my sister, my bride 
>>> (bridegroom)
>>> "Plotinus never discussed his ancestry, childhood, or his place or
>>> date of birth," says the Wikipedia.
>>> Now who in the novel does that sound like?
>>> Durrell suggests that Plotinus had a "square negro head reverberating
>>> with a concept of God conceived in the spirit of pure intellectual
>>> play" (first edition, 39).
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