[ilds] Durrell's Accent

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Wed May 30 09:23:20 PDT 2007

Denise Tart and David Green call Durrell's accent "impeccably posh."  That's not my sense of it, but I'm not British.  In 1961, I heard him reading his poetry on an LP, and my reaction then was that his accent was not "upper class."  I associate that with the Oxbridge accent (having little exposure to the Queen).  How would a Brit classify Durrell's accent?  Accent tells a lot about a person and his or her persona.  I assume that whatever accent he had that it was natural and not affected, as some people's can be.  Brits speak of the upper class accent as being "clipped" -- a phonetic description I've never understood.  Can someone also explain this? 


>>From: Denise Tart & David Green <dtart at bigpond.net.au>
>>Sent: May 30, 2007 12:43 AM
>>To: Durrel <ilds at lists.uvic.ca>
>>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

More information about the ILDS mailing list