[ilds] Sunspots and Literary Theory

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Tue May 29 10:16:26 PDT 2007


Academic fads and schools of scholarship are as fickle as sunspots.  And here, I am not referring to the kind of close analysis admirably performed by Charles, Bill, Michael, and others.  I'm referring to the likes of Eagleton, de Man, Said, Bhabha, Derrida, Foucault, and others -- those who are deemed theoretically "relevant" to whatever the current academic fashion may be.  The Academy has never much cared for Durrell, as long as I can remember.  So why pander to it?  To get published in PMLA, ELH, Representations, or Critical Inquiry?  Take the long view and do the work that is now being done here, on this List.  Lawrence Durrell will survive, continue to be a great writer, continue to find new readers, and the Academy will go on its own way, occasionally creating mild static in the discourse of the day.

Bruce

-----Original Message-----
>From: Beatrice Skordili <bskordil at otenet.gr>
>Sent: May 29, 2007 5:30 AM
>To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca
>Subject: Re: [ilds] RG Justine - Eagleton
>
>The question is not so much whether Eagleton, DeMan, Said, Foucault (names 
>mentioned recently) are good or bad scholars as such, or even whether (which 
>concerns two of them) they have said "bad" things about Durrell based on 
>cursory readings, or even plain reputation. These people found currency in 
>academic discussions because of the relevance of their work to the issues 
>that became prominent,  both theoretical and political, at their time. The 
>scholars working on Joyce or Conrad (for instance) have managed to keep them 
>current in the academy by demonstrating their relevance to these very 
>theoretical and political debates. Unlike them Durrell scholarship--along 
>with that of other worthwhile authors--has persisted in maintaining a 
>distance from these debates, from these issues, evincing instead a desire to 
>keep the author very much alive and intentional. Only the kind of work that 
>will be commensurate to Durrell's own awareness and investment in all the 
>issues that the academy later came to call post-structuralist theory 
>(understood in the broadest terms) and the ways in which his work intervenes 
>meaningfully in this field will make Durrell relevant in these discussions. 
>The burden is with Durrell scholars not with an academic public which is not 
>exposed to or made aware of such aspects. (I am not minimizing here the 
>effort of the DSC, but in the absence of sufficient critical work along 
>these lines, it is bound to remain circumscribed by its circumstances.)
>    The question therefore is one of relevance and how our (Durrell's, 
>Said's, whoever's) work answers to it.
>
>Beatrice Skordili



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