[ilds] Should he?

Ilyas Khan ilyas.khan at crosby.com
Tue May 29 15:24:09 PDT 2007

I offer some support for my fellow lancastrian. Not, I hasten add, for his
³review², but for his status and the likelihood that on this occasion he
slipped. Eagleton has been around for a very long time ­ and read and
appreciated for most of that time. I have no idea what befell him to write
the twaddle that was published as the review. Its clear that the man has a
view on Durrell, and we must assume (I at least assume) that his opinion is
based broadly on a reading or readings over a period of time that lack
nothing in depth and perspective. The problem with the review is that it
appears to have been written on the basis of a historic prejudice, but
without actually doing the hard yards that are necessary.

I¹ve enjoyed Eagleton¹s buccaneering style for the most part. This slip was
grievous given my predilection for LD, but I think we should accept this as
a human failing that was very unfortunate for the reasons that Charles
articulates so well.

On 5/30/07 4:55 AM, "slighcl" <slighcl at wfu.edu> wrote:

>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: william godshalk <godshawl at email.uc.edu>
>>> <mailto:godshawl at email.uc.edu>
>>> If Eagleton writes as an academic, then he should follow our basic
>>> procedures of honest reviewing. If he writes as a hack, then he
>>> should not be held to academic standards -- should he?
>>> On 5/29/2007 2:58 PM, Bruce Redwine wrote:
>> Yes, as a matter of personal integrity.  I don't believe in multiple
>> standards and personalities.
> An interesting question.  The answer would need to be "yes" if we recognize
> the clout that Eagleton's name still carries in Anglo-American academic
> circles and the prestige that he enjoys now, in his second career, as someone
> who has grown tired of the theory game.
>>> Shelving culture. The effect of Terry Eagleton on two generations of English
>>> students has been disastrous, argues Bryan Appleyard.
>>>  But now the old Marxist appears to be mellowing
>>>  http://www.newstatesman.com/200004170049
>>>  Bryan Appleyard
>>>  17 April 2000
>>>  The Idea of Culture
>>>  Terry Eagleton Blackwell, 156pp, £12.99
>>>  ISBN 0631219668
> When Eagleton reviews a biography of Lawrence Durrell, what he says will
> matter and will influence because first and foremost he is Terry Eagleton.
> Anyone who has passed through graduate programs in the last two decades knows
> that Eagleton has shaped a great deal of the conversation in literary studies.
> A selective list from his bibliography could easily be taken as required
> academic reading:, whatever the specialization
>>> Marxism and Literary Criticism   Methuen, 1976
>>>  Literary Theory: An Introduction   (revised 1996)  Blackwell, 1983
>>>  The Significance of Theory   Blackwell, 1989
>>>  The Ideology of the Aesthetic   Blackwell, 1990
> There is little doubt that Eagleton's failure to engage with Durrell's
> biography and writings and the dismissals that he delivers have a wide-ranging
> influence.
> So I give three "yes" answers.
> * Yes, it mattered that Eagleton assumed wrongly that he could rely on the
> clout of his name and his wits and his anecdotes from his university days to
> carry him through the review of Ian MacNiven's biography.  He failed in that
> assumption.  (I think that I can admit that I do "hold a candle" not only for
> Durrell but for Ian, who has given me much in friendship and in an education
> about Durrell.  "My friends and other prejudices.")
> * Yes, I think that given Eagleton's stature in literary culture the Durrell
> School did well to invite Eagleton to speak.  An open, honest engagement with
> an avowedly suspicious critic can teach us much.
> *  
> * And yes, I think it is a damned shame that Eagleton doubled his dishonor by
> giving less than his best attention to the writings of Lawrence Durrell after
> having been invited to Corfu.  An opportunity missed. Caveat emptor.
> Surely some people who heard Eagleton speak on Corfu and who conversed with
> him should speak up?  Richard has indicated that the performance was a
> disappointment--was it a total wash, Richard?  Where can we learn more?  Does
> anyone else have testimony?
> Charles

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