[ilds] your messages to DG-- Prospero's Cell 1.1

Edward Hungerford eahunger at charter.net
Sun Jun 10 17:55:09 PDT 2007


I was going back a long ways in my kept messages, in order to delete 
most of them.  I could hardly believe that all this started in April -- 
it seems a long time ago.    Just to give you, an  idea of 'diversity' 
on our mailing list, i have to confess that yes, i am a sort of 
academic--I taught in colleges and universities for 35 years, but I 
have now been retired so long that I no longer much identify as an 
"academic person."   Like you, I was as much taken by Durrell's travel 
books (books of foreign residence) as by the AQ.  But unlike you, I was 
not only equally enchanted by the AQ as by Prospero and Marine Venice, 
but also --  I do consider the fictions in the AQ on as greater level 
of achievement than that of  the travel books.   On the other hand, I 
agree that the Avignon Quintet is taking Durrell's 'method' to 
extremes, and it is a really almost unreadable sequence.   [Over ten 
years, I struggled through the Quintet twice, th e last tdime in 2000, 
when traveling to the Durrell conference on Corfu.  At that time, I 
decided that the Quintet simply was a botched job, an example of 
Durrell's own poor judgment about what ordinary readers could put up 
with, to indulge a writer's own distorted taste in writing fiction.]    
In other words, a failure, however grand the design.   I defend the 
Alexandria Quartet for all sorts of things -- lyrical style, wonderful 
creation of characters and variable types of anecdotal story-telling 
that don't just come by coincidence.  The AQ is carefully designed, 
although I do think that D. should have taken more care with Clea, 
which he rushed to completion because he needed the money i guess.
	  I have 'taught', that is, led discussions of the Quartet several 
times, although it is not in anyone's regular curriculum even for 
English majors.  In this sense, the AQ has never been an academic 
exercise.  Ordinary readers have kept it in print.   Students usually 
do like and enjoy reading the AQ, after making a certain effort to get 
around, over and beyond their normal reading fare.  And I have led 
discussions on the AQ for adults, senior citizens, in lifetime learning 
classes.  These are lifelong readers, and most of them have enjoyed all 
sorts of novels, but they still must make an effort to get with the 
unusual style which  D. presents to them .  In  this respect, the 
lyrical style came out of Durrell's own poetic imagery since he was 
first a poet, and then a novelist.
   ****  I am enjoying your contributions to this list, and hope that 
you will be able to surmount the chaff, since there is so much 
repetition on this list,  resulting from the way it is managed I guess. 
     Ed Hungerford,  Ashland, Oregon


On Apr 11, 2007, at 2:55 PM, Denise Tart & David Green wrote:

> Great to read of one of Durrell's island books being mentioned: 
> Prospero's Cell. My feeling is that this book, along with Portrait of 
> a Marine Venus and Bitter Lemons reveal Durrell's finest and most 
> enchanting writing - and that side of his personality which endeared 
> him to others; the champagne cork being popped. Durrell's Island books 
> and his Antrobus stories seem to me to be frequently overlooked in 
> favour of the heavy and mysterious Quartet and, especially the Quintet 
> which I ploughed through recently (mon dieu). I am afraid I concur 
> with Durrell's publisher who favoured him continuing with his island 
> type book rather than the ponderous Quintet. Durrell claimed to 
> dislike academics. Whether this is true or not, it appears he wrote 
> the Quartet and the Quintet to be taken seriously by them. For my 
> money he need not have bothered. I wonder if other Durrell fans agree?
>
>  
> Denise Tart & David Green
> 16 William Street, Marrickville NSW 2204
>  
> +61 2 9564 6165
> 0412 707 625
> dtart at bigpond.net.au
>> ----- Original Message -----
>>
>> Of course before too long we must note another line of connection 
>> between Justine and LD's interest in "Prospero"--"I have escaped to 
>> this island with a few books and the child"--we have a replaying of 
>> the Prospero-Miranda story to talk about in different ways. . . .
>>
>> CLS
>> -- 
>> **********************
>> Charles L. Sligh
>> Department of English
>> Wake Forest University
>> slighcl at wfu.edu
>> **********************
>>
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