[ilds] Heraldic Universe

James Gifford odos.fanourios at gmail.com
Tue Jun 5 09:13:57 PDT 2007


Dear Fraser,

I'm flipping through the duck shoot scene in _Justine_, and the question you
pose would require some more lengthy textual digging than I can cover today,
but if I were to shoot from the hip, my inclination would be that a
potentially closely related circle of authors ended up with two people
articulating very similar ideas in the same language...  I wouldn't find
that surprising at all.  The Heraldic Universe is, I would conjecture, pure
Durrell (Richard may be in the best position to say more) -- yet, that
doesn't brand Kininmonth as a thief.  How do you copyright ideas tossed
around over drink in a beautiful locale among travel writers?

> Durrell's heraldic universe concept was derived
> to some degree from Christopher Kininmonth;
> author of 'The Children of Thetis', published in
> London by John Lehmann, 1949.

The link seems clear, but I would strongly suspect the direction of
influence was from Durrell to Kininmonth, though I rarely find influence
flows in just one direction.  It's reflected in the timeline and LD's
correspondence, and I would suspect in his notebooks as well (if we can
accurately date the entries).

As for Robert Graves, that definitely dates Kininmonth later, but since I'm
engaged in a project on Graves' correspondence during the period in which he
revised that work, we should be clear that in 1949 he's talking about _The
White Goddess_ in an edition we don't currently use.  The Durrell / Graves
links are still rich too, but I don't think any clear influence could or
will be established in either direction.

And, without returning to the issue of borrowings, that's why we have
classical source analysis as a very well established field of study by
academics.  All of this strikes me as ripe for that kind of work, actually
in great need of it.

Thank-you for bringing Kininmonth back to the list.  I've meant to go back
to that for quite some time now, and I wouldn't worry about him being 'bad'
by virtue of using an idea he likely chatted with LD about over fruit of the
vine.  If they did chat about it on Corfu, he may very well have helped LD
talk through the idea further, giving them both a viable claim to discussing
it.  How far we would distinguish what part they each own, in that case,
would seem impossible.  It would be like trying to prove what part of a
travel book belongs to the place and inhabitants rather than the author...

Best,
Jamie




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