[ilds] Atkinson and Durrell again

slighcl slighcl at wfu.edu
Sat Jun 2 14:31:35 PDT 2007

On 6/2/2007 4:51 PM, william godshalk wrote:

>> *
>> *
>>     *"The long conversations held between Augusta and Spiridion" as
>>     they were smuggled "slung" in "two shapeless sacks." 
>>     *
> You are safe on this one, I think. I wonder if this is a Jurgen-type 
> /conversation./

I discern a bit of the knowing skepticism of Norman Douglas in the way 
Durrell has a lark with the petty histories of inanimate relics and 
their devotees. "/I cannot believe/ however that such a long journey can 
have passed without some exchange of theological pleasantries."  "They 
must"/"the air must have"/"the incessant halts must have."  Very 
"musty," indeed.  That string of subjunctive marks out a  good bit of 
fancy or "belief."  And the writer is not one of the incurious 
"hagiographers."  Believers lack a certain imaginative flair necessary 
to bring the saints' lives to life, but the skeptic can do it.  A "mock" 
in the older and newer sense.  A wonderful passage.  An article of my 
belief.  Will it last?

But since I am packing I am unable to unpack the memory with specific ND 
moments.  Strachey can also do this sort skeptical fantastic with his 
subjects' lives.  I am thinking about the life of Gordon, the way 
Strachey inhabits a believer's fanaticism--creatively supposing his 
moments of crisis--without believing himself.


Charles L. Sligh
Department of English
Wake Forest University
slighcl at wfu.edu

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