[ilds] Fw: ILDS Digest, Vol 2, Issue 6_Alexandria Revisited

Sumantra Nag sumantranag at gmail.com
Fri May 4 09:18:15 PDT 2007

FROM: http://www.crescentmoon.org.uk/cresmoalex (ALEXANDRIA REVISITED, The Alexandria of Lawrence Durrell, C.P. Cavafy, Edmund Keeley and Others by Jeremy Robinson)

A few passages reproduced:

1. "Robert Liddell writes of Alexandria: 
  Unreal City - for all its materialism and its hideousness, yet one of the cities of the soul. There I have known the misery and nostalgia of other exiles, 'stretching out our hands with love for the other shore'. (211)"

2. And on Durrell (there are many other observations): 
  "Durrell doesn't simply write 'like a painter', he uses painting metaphors all the time, referring, for instance, to a sky looking like a painter has smashed his colourbox against it. And the chief protagonist of Clea, after Darley, is a painter (Clea)"

3. I thought this concluding paragraph from the extract quoted on this Website might give an idea of the 'colonial' background to what Durrell is writing about: 

  "Alexandria provides Durrell with much 'local colour' as it's called, which he duly describes. As Durrell describes the squalor he inevitably romanticizes it, just as Shakespeare romanticized the 'primitives' in The Tempest.[4] Durrell treats the 'natives' of Egypt in a patronizing, colonial manner, which seems to be unavoidable. Shakespeare did it, Dickens did it, Greene did it, Huxley did it, Lawrence did it." 

But I would still say thay his prose and his own particular sensibility - if one may use the term - almost conceals the colonial response in the rich artistry of his creation. 

Sumantra Nag

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Sumantra Nag 
To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca 
Sent: Friday, May 04, 2007 3:12 PM
Subject: Re: ILDS Digest, Vol 2, Issue 6_D J Enright and Robert Liddell

I wonder if the discussion on Justine could include references to Robert Liddell (Unreal City - a novel based on Cavafy and Alexandria, about which I have read, without having been able to get the book), and D J Enright's novel Academic Year, also set in Alexandria. There was a group of English writers based in Egypt (Cairo and Alexandria) during or around the time of WWII (there is an intereting reference on the Website http://www.crescentmoon.org.uk/cresmoalex - ALEXANDRIA REVISITED The Alexandria of Lawrence Durrell, C.P. Cavafy, Edmund Keeley and Others by Jeremy Robinson). Liddell was also a travel writer attached to Greece.

Sumantra Nag

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