[ilds] Heraldic Universe

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Tue Jun 5 16:57:00 PDT 2007


Aside from sharing a common term, I don't see how Kininmonth can lay claim to Durrell's "Heraldic Universe."  Here is how LD defines "heraldic" in A Smile in the Mind's Eye (New York, 1980), p. 95, n.8:  "'Heraldic' is a personal word which I apply to art in its most intense expression when it become symbolic and bypasses logic.  It doesn't 'explain', it manifests in a mysterious way -- becomes a sort of ideogram of reality.  The intimate aesthetic core of a work, its quiddity.  The point where prose liquefies into poetry, or sex into love."  Or "Heraldic Universe" in a letter to Miller, "the ONENESS OF EVERYTHING, you are included in TIME.  NOW FORMS MERGE . . . You cannot define these forms except by ideogram:  this is 'non-assertive' form" (Durrell-Miller Correspondence, ed. Wickes, New York, 1963, p. 203).

Durrell talks in terms of the Tao, another plane of reality, a spiritual experience, the All, where "[t]he world of definition is exploded" (Smile, p. 89).  This is derived from Lao-tzu.  "Ideograms" are symbols, which refer to Chinese characters.  Durrell fully admits his indebtedness to Lao-tzu.  From the description provided below, Kininmonth seems to have borrowed his idea from Plato's notion of forms, which is abstract but not spiritual, as I understand Plato.  In fact, I don't see much of a distinction between Plato and Kininmonth, who has apparently plagiarized Plato, who I don't think much cares, wherever he is.

Bruce

-----Original Message-----
>From: "Wilson, Fraser" <Fraser.Wilson at eht.nhs.uk>
>Sent: Jun 5, 2007 4:34 AM
>To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca
>Subject: [ilds] Heraldic Universe
>
>
>Dear Group,
>
>In the wake of recent discussions around LD and intellectual property, I would like to raise once more a possibility that I aired a couple of years ago; that 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. 
>
>In the conclusion to this book, he seems to make claim to the idea using deliberately proprietorial language. To quote:
>
>" But all the symbols of this truth exist alongside all the other valid creations of man's imagination. This climate - or territory, or plane - I call the Heraldic Universe. 
>The Heraldic Universe contains every man's individual interpretation of all the figures placed there by others as well as those he himself creates; all the products of all the love, the hero-worship and the inspiration of others which any of us have experienced." (Page 216)
>
>The "truth" to which he refers is the "mother goddess" of  Robert Graves, on whose (now) famous book he draws heavily as he cobbles together a metaphysical framework for his island experiences.
>
>To argue convincingly for a flow of ideas from Kininmonth to Durrell, it would be necessary to show that they had met, or were in correspondence, at least by 1936. A dearth of biographical information on Kininmonth makes this difficult.
>
>To argue that Kininmonth derived the idea, consciously or otherwise from Durrell is somewhat easier, yet seemingly at odds with Kininmonths own view. He seems to think that it is his own idea. Could be have absorbed it subliminally from byegone conversation with Durrell or others ? The DJ mugshot reveals an overtly 'decent' looking chap (if a little geeky by modern standards). Consciously stealing an idea from Durrell would not have gone down well with the closely knit group of philhellenes and greek literati that he was presumably eager to impress.
>
>
>Best wishes
>
>Fraser Wilson 
>    
>



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