[ilds] AUSSIE ETHER

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Wed May 30 07:01:14 PDT 2007


I referred to the "Aussie ether" in an email sometime back, and my reference was to a person, not a country.  It was a spiritual reference.  The context was that of a disembodied voice, which spoke oracularly and was not in the habit of identifying itself.  I agree with your characterization of Australians, whose relationship with the "mother country" is very different from that of we Americans (and perhaps Canadians too, but I can't speak for them).  I don't think, however, that Durrell's problem of displacement and alienation had much to do with his colonial past.  That too was a spiritual problem, in my opinion.  So, like you, I too wonder if he would have ever been happy anywhere.  On the other hand, the south of France seems like the best place to be, no matter what one's disposition.

Bruce

-----Original Message-----
>From: Denise Tart & David Green <dtart at bigpond.net.au>
>Sent: May 30, 2007 12:43 AM
>To: Durrel <ilds at lists.uvic.ca>
>Subject: [ilds] AUSSIE ETHER: DURRELL AND THE EMPIRE
>
>RP wrote recently of the Aussie ether. What he was refering to I have no notion of except that recent emails have mentioned Durrell's love hate relationship with with the mother country (not cuntry - as one of my students recently spelt it, though perhaps this is apt) which we in Australia, as a member of the British Commonwealth and as a former colony, feel very strongly. Like Durrell many of us born in the empire outside Britain to middle class parents were brought up to respect and imitate the values and conduct of the English Gentleman and yet, upon aquaintance with that country, even given our education, intellect and conduct we were (are) regarded as inferior and indeed condescended to. Durrell never felt accepted in England even though his accent was impeccably posh. His experience of pudding island I believe resonates with many 'colonials' possibly even with Americans although you guys fought off the British (with French help) and have become an empire yourselves leading to a huge sense of cultural importance. When I read Durrell I very much feel his sense of colonial misplacement. Successful Aussie writers go to London or increasingly to New York. Durrell stayed in the Mediterranean, moved around a lot, took comfort in the bottle and probably never felt truly at home in any country.
>
>
>Denise Tart & David Green
>16 William Street, Marrickville NSW 2204
>




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