[ilds] Durrell among the Fixed Stars

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Mon May 28 13:34:40 PDT 2007

Charles, sitting on the sidelines and having no stake in academia, I am a little amused by the concern about Durrell's reputation.  I am reminded of a story.  A geneticist, an old woman, whose name escapes me, pursued her lonely research on mutations in ears of corn.  She worked in a remote lab on Long Island and was generally unrecognized, till near the end of her long career.  Then she won an award and was hailed by her colleagues for brilliant work.  A NYT reporter interviewed her and asked how she felt about those many years of being largely ignored.  She too was amused.  She shrugged and said, "It all washes out in the end."  That's how I feel about Durrell's reputation and low status among his fellow greats.  It'll all wash out in the end.  Besides, who's going to talk about Terry Eagleton ten years hence, if that long?


-----Original Message-----
>From: slighcl <slighcl at wfu.edu>
>Sent: May 28, 2007 12:45 PM
>To: Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net>, ilds at lists.uvic.ca
>Subject: Re: [ilds] Said & Durrell
>On 5/28/2007 2:53 PM, Bruce Redwine wrote:
>>I care not a whit about the "fact and power" of the literary Establishment, which, by the way, brings to mind Said and his reverence for Michel Foucault.  Not only that, I liked Scruton's piece.
>Nothing has to be exclusive, I think.  Readers can enjoy (?) or at least 
>learn as they will from Scruton and Said and Eagleton as necessary.  I 
>"enjoy" putting the three of them all in a cage like my Yeatsian circus 
>animals and letting them tussle like unfed monkeys and feed off of each 
>But in my less cavalier moments I recognize that "caring not a whit" 
>cannot be an option for anybody working earnestly (spot the 
>Victorianist!) to bring a larger recognition to Durrell's work--whether 
>that person is an executor of an estate, a literary agent, a publisher, 
>a literary scholar, an editor, a biographer, a teacher, &c.  All of 
>those workers will have audiences to win and interests to cultivate 
>alongside the other sort of "interests" (financial).  Collectors also 
>must monitor the cache of the author's writings. 
>I really admire those Durrellians who work for Durrell out of loyalty to 
>his person and out of appreciation for his art, while also out of real 
>world, savvy recognition of how literature gets published and how 
>reputations are sustained or compromised.  I am especially recalling the 
>rousing tone of Anthea Morton-Saner's voice when we discussed Eagleton's 
>too easy dismissal of Durrell and interest in Durrell in his review of 
>Ian MacNiven's biography.  That was a personal connection with Lawrence 
>Durrell.   That was true spirit and loyalty, toughened and strengthened 
>and clarified by real world experience and good business instinct.

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