[ilds] not mine and not his

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Tue Jun 5 13:44:29 PDT 2007


Bill, interesting about Durrell but not true about Paul Theroux, even in jest.  I met him in Singapore in 1973 or 1974 when he was about a third of the way through his great railway journey.  He does have, however, a way of looking at people and things which is highly personal, possibly prejudiced.  And people may say he's made up his mind before beginning his travels.  But who doesn't have that problem?

Bruce

-----Original Message-----
>From: william godshalk <godshawl at email.uc.edu>
>Sent: Jun 5, 2007 4:30 PM
>To: Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net>, ilds at lists.uvic.ca
>Subject: Re: [ilds] not mine and not his
>
>I've heard it spoken in jest that Paul Thereux writes his travel booksbefore he goes. 
>
>Michael noted: "While visiting Alexandria in 1977 Durrell admitted:'I am extremely incurious, and my real life seems to pass either in booksor in dreams'." Jean Franchette told me much the same about Larry.
>
>Here's something I wrote years ago:
>
>
>Durrell: The Reader as Traveller
>
> 
> 
>            To hisfriend Gwyn Williams, Durrell confided that a part of the narrative hewas working on in 1965 (Tunc/Nunquam) was to be set inTurkey, and, since Williams was attached to the British Council inIstanbul and was himself writing a travel book about Turkey, Durrellapplied to him for help. Williams responded by inviting Durrell for avisit. About a year later, Durrell had yet to appear, and Williams hadsent him "two brochures on Istanbul" apparently accompanied bya map of the city (March 11, 1966). Although Williams reiterated hisinvitation to Durrell, as far as I can tell, Durrell never made the tripto Istanbul. 
> 
>           Instead, Durrell based his representation of Istanbul and Turkey onaccounts by other writers. 
> 
>..........................................
>
>By the way, I believe youmentioned recently that Durrell didn't much care to travel around. Instead, he preferred to stay at home, read, and let his imaginationsoar.  True?  This is important, and I'm glad you brought thatout.  It's fundamental to his life and work.  I'm surprised noone took up the topic and expanded on the implications.  I mean,isn't it stupendously ironic that a great travel writer didn't like totravel?  What does this say about the man.  This reminds me ofFrederic Prokosch's book, The Asiatics (1935), a fictional travel bookwith little or no first-hand experience of the places depicted in thestory, a "geographical novel," as Camus calls it.  This isthe exact opposite of what Patrick Leigh Fermor does, whom Durrellknew.
>



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