[ilds] "many fictions"/"many negatives"

Durrell School of Corfu durrells at otenet.gr
Wed May 30 23:05:09 PDT 2007


"It must be made clear that these are not 'characters': a character is an 
integer in a temporal series: whereas these are personalities embodied by 
reminiscence: the biological structure of a continuum. Space is my concern, 
not matter: so these men and women are not substance but the figment of 
substance seen in a mirror: I judge them not as man but as part of the 
scenery". LD, Corfu, 1938, in a notebook for 'The English Book of the Dead'.
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Bruce Redwine" <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net>
To: <gifford at uvic.ca>; <ilds at lists.uvic.ca>
Sent: Thursday, May 31, 2007 2:07 AM
Subject: Re: [ilds] "many fictions"/"many negatives"


> Jamie, yes, that especially includes Blake and Shakespeare.  I'm beginning 
> to think all of Durrell's characters are fictional, even the ones based on 
> "real" people.  He did what Charles talked about earlier today -- he took 
> "spare parts" of things and reassembled them to his own choosing.  I 
> include people here.  Not at all surprising, most writers probably do 
> this.  That's a great quote Charles found from the Ingersoll book of 
> collected conversations, where Durrell says, "I'm a spare parts man" 
> (Lawrence Durrell:  Conversations, 1998, p. 100).  Thanks for trying to 
> dig up my "many fictions of ourselves," but my memory failed me again.  I 
> actually had in mind, "I now move / Through the many negatives to what I 
> am" ("Alexandria," ll. 8-9).  "Negatives" could mean feminine "negative 
> selves," maybe in the sense of Jungian animae, but I also take it to mean 
> "photographic negatives," alternate selves.  Interesting how the two 
> meanings complement one another.
>
> Bruce
>
> -----Original Message-----
>>From: James Gifford <odos.fanourios at gmail.com>
>>Sent: May 30, 2007 10:25 AM
>>To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca
>>Subject: Re: [ilds] Arnauti as real
>>
>>Bruce wrote:
>>
>>> At the time of my primal event with M. Durrell (not Dr.
>>> Durrell), age sixteen of my youth, I never thought any
>>> "person" in his book was real.  They were all fictional
>>> characters.
>>
>>Does that include William Blake and Shakespeare?  I'm not being 
>>aggressive,
>>just trying to follow up on Charles' intentions (which I fallaciously 
>>assume
>>I can know).  Personally, just when I think I've learned how to spot
>>Durrell's creation of a 'ghost,' I discover he's talking about someone
>>'real.'
>>
>>> The "many fictions of ourselves," or some such (Jamie
>>> can provide the proper quotation and citation to the poetry)
>>
>>I think you mean the "Our view of reality is based on selected fictions"
>>from the Quartet, or perhaps from "In Rhodes" (and that "in" must imply 
>>the
>>city rather than the island, which appear below here, perhaps even on Odos
>>Fanourios):
>>
>>  Naturally one must smile to see him powerless
>>  Not in the face of these small fictions
>>  But in the greater one they nourished
>>  By exhaustion of the surfaces of life,
>>  Leaving the True Way, so that suddenly
>>  We no longer haunted the streets
>>  Of our native city, guilty as a popular singer,
>>  Clad in the fur of some wild animal.
>>
>>Strikes me that this is a wonderful way of implying the "fictions of
>>ourselves" or other notions of identity while also responding to his own
>>vision of Cavafy in the Quartet, although this poem came out at least in
>>1948.  Charles, any idea when that first notebook translation of Cavafy's
>>"The City" was penned?
>>
>>--Jamie
>
>
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