[ilds] palimpsest

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Tue Jun 12 11:58:38 PDT 2007


Bill, yes, you're right -- I think this is what Durrell intends, "distinct and competing pictures" of reality, not erasures in the literal sense of a palimpsest.  (Balthazar, by the way, has always been my favorite novel in the Quartet, perhaps for this very aspect, along with the introduction of Pursewarden's suicide.)  I might add, I don't think it profits much to examine Durrell's use of metaphor too closely or too logically.  If anything, he uses "fuzzy logic" and aims towards some other kind of reasoning, and says so to that effect in Key to Modern Poetry and elsewhere.  All this is part of his "style" and probably part of the reason that many English teachers and professors don't like him, i.e., his use of the language being sloppy, "over the top," and not the best example of "standard expository English."  And thank god for that.

Bruce

-----Original Message-----
>From: william godshalk <godshawl at email.uc.edu>
>Sent: Jun 12, 2007 10:51 AM
>To: Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net>, ilds at lists.uvic.ca
>Subject: palimpsest
>
>Here are the two references in Balthazar. 
>
>Balthazar (Dutton 1st edition): 
>
>"palimpsest upon which each of us had left his or her individualtraces, layer by layer(p.22)
>
>"Pursewarden's idea of a series of novels with `sliding panels' ashe called them. or else, perhaps, like some medieval palimpsest wheredifferent sorts of truth are thrown down one upon the other"(p.183)
>
>But is Balthazar a palimpsest? Only metaphorically, I suggest.Justine is not really erased by Balthazar. The novels sitside by side chatting with each other on my shelf. Justine saysone thing, and Baltazar says, "Yes, but." They aredistinct and competing pictures. 
> 
>Bill



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