[ilds] DG Justine -- Durrell, Borges, and Herodotus

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Thu Jun 7 09:41:20 PDT 2007


I must say, following Charles's journey across Europe and getting his dispatches from the front, so to speak, are the most interesting thing on the ILDS these days.  I go along with Charles's confluence of allusions and will throw something else into the stew:  Herodotus's account of Cambyses's disastrous campaign in Ethiopia and the loss of another army in a sandstorm (3.25-26).  Those descriptions seem closer to Durrell's.

Bruce

-----Original Message-----
>From: slighcl <slighcl at wfu.edu>
>Sent: Jun 7, 2007 8:31 AM
>To: Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net>, ilds at lists.uvic.ca
>Subject: Re: [ilds] DG Justine -- Durrell and Borges
>
>On 6/7/2007 2:49 PM, Bruce Redwine wrote:
>
>> Bill, thanks for the tip about Borges's "The Immortal."  I read it.  
>> The day is "late."  So, I don't think that's Durrell's source, unless 
>> you want to say time runs backwards:  a story published in 1962 
>> influences a story written around 1955.  Nor does the fantastic tone 
>> of the Borges story match Durrell's, which sounds to me closer to 
>> Arrian's factual account.  But I must credit your cleverness:  for 
>> trying to slip in some evidence on the plagiarism debate.  Isn't that 
>> what the story is all about, demonstrating the inevitability of 
>> plariarism?  I.e., in the end, everyone's words will get all mixed 
>> together, and there'll be no distinguishing anyone from anyone else?
>
>Hi Bruce.  Sorry for any confusion.   Bill is handling my notes while I 
>am on the run across Europe.  Thanks, Bill!
>
>The story you want is "Los inmortales" -- /Los Anales de Buenos Aires/ 
>vol 2, no. 12. Buenos Aires, February, 1947.  1962 is only one of the 
>dates when the story appeared in English translation.
>
>I am less interested in influence, but not disinterested if something 
>was there.  Rather, I am asking about similarity, confluence--even what 
>Bill calls shared or  borrowed idiolect--and just noting that both men 
>depict these "lost legions" (admittedly one group is hellenistic and the 
>other roman) retold in an aprocyphal, dream-like tone. 
>
>As a "lapsed Classicist," my interest has always been drawn by Durrell's 
>use of tone and allusion in Nessim's dreams.  I think that Michael may 
>have written here that there is a deal of Forster's historical vision of 
>Alex being channeled.   There is indeed something mediumistic about the 
>prose and that makes me always look forward to it.  (While not 
>"classical," some of Scobie's dreams about his brother falling to his 
>death &c. also work in this tone.)  I had also read Flaubert's /Salammbo 
>/and /Trois Contes/ in highschool at about the same time as I read 
>/Justine/.  When I read Borges's tale several years after /Justine/, I 
>thought to myself here is another little point of confluence for these 
>two authors who shared some geography in Argentina and held contemporary 
>notoriety.
>
>Borges and Durrell were in fact in the same room at a cocktail party 
>while Durrell was lecturing in Argentina.  I do not recall if Ian wrote 
>about that or told me about the incident so many years ago.  I seem to 
>recall that there was some mutual suspcion.  But then years later 
>Durrell in one of those inspired moments of eclectic namedropping 
>mentions that his real contemporaries are Borges and Kazantzikis.  Again 
>all from my memory as I am in Ghent right now and have no books.
>
>Rambling on to the "kuip."
>
>Charles




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