[ilds] The real behind the fictional people and situations

Smithchamberlin at aol.com Smithchamberlin at aol.com
Wed Jun 13 07:04:26 PDT 2007

For those interested in such things I suggest a thorough reading of Guenter  
Grass's memoir "Beim Haeuten der Zwiebel" in which he notes dozens of examples 
 of people and events he experienced that he used in his various fictions.
In a message dated 5/20/2007 3:00:40 PM Eastern Daylight Time,  
ilds-request at lists.uvic.ca writes:

Message:  39
Date: Sun, 20 May 2007 18:40:12 +0100
From: Michael Haag  <michaelhaag at btinternet.com>
Subject: Re: [ilds] Arnauti as  real
To: Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net>,  ilds at lists.uvic.ca
Message-ID:  <2918C3D7-06F9-11DC-9409-000393B1149C at btinternet.com>
Content-Type:  text/plain; charset=US-ASCII; format=flowed

My answer is that when I  first Durrell, which was in the form of The 
Alexandria Quartet, I felt  that behind many of the characters there 
were real people.  That was  probably just the effect of Durrell writing 
in the first person.   Nevertheless that sense stayed with me.  In time 
I discovered that a  great deal of Durrell's creations in the Quartet -- 
characters, settings,  events -- were based on or in some way owed their 
origin to real  characters, settings and events.  There is nothing 
surprising about  this.  Writers do it all the time.  And of course what 
writers  also do is base creations on themselves.  I do have the feeling 
that  Durrell is always writing about his world and himself, and that he 
is  desperately trying to escape both.  And  failing.


On Sunday, May 20, 2007, at  05:11  pm, Bruce Redwine wrote:

> On 5/20/07, Charles Sligh  asks,
>> But I have a question for you, Sumantra:   How did you first realize 
>> that
>> Arnauti and Purswarden  were not "real"?  That question is serious, and
>> the answer  could get to the bottom of the "tricks" that Durrell is "up
>> to" in  his books.
>                * * * * *
> My answer.   At the time of my primal event with M. Durrell (not Dr. 
> Durrell), age  sixteen of my youth, I never thought any "person" in his 
> book was  real.  They were all fictional characters.  I naively assumed  
> then that fiction was by definition unreal.  Now, of course,  after 
> discussions on the List, I know that none of us is  real.
> Bruce
>  _______________________________________________
> ILDS mailing  list
> ILDS at lists.uvic.ca
>  https://lists.uvic.ca/mailman/listinfo/ilds


Message:  40
Date: Sun, 20 May 2007 11:15:20 -0700 (GMT-07:00)
From: Bruce Redwine  <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net>
Subject: Re: [ilds] Arnauti as real as  Durrell
To: Durrell list  <ilds at lists.uvic.ca>
<31228166.1179684920729.JavaMail.root at elwamui-royal.atl.sa.earthlink.net>

Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8

On 5/20/07, William  Godshalk writes:
>Only the City is real. But the distinction  between a fictive 
>character and a dead person is interesting to  consider over a glass 
>of choice wine. Neither is around to define  himself or herself. The 
>fictive character exists on paper, and the  dead person now only 
>exists on paper (give or take some ashes). Well,  paper or some other 
>recording material. Their parts can however be  acted by actors.
>So Durrell and Arnauti are equally  nonexistent.
>Bill (lookin for a fight)

* * * * *

I'll just swing a couple of wild punches and jump out  of the ring (today is 
afternoon High Tea with a bunch of lawyers, ugh).   This talk about real and 
not real is very deep water, and we probably need Dr.  Durrell to throw out a 
life preserver.  The "many fictions of ourselves,"  or some such (Jamie can 
provide the proper quotation and citation to the  poetry) -- that's my starting 
point.  And since we're playing in  Durrell's Universe, solipsistic or 
otherwise, we might as well play his game  and live in the "kingdom of your 
imagination" (Clea, end of "novel").   It's utterly futile, in my opinion, to argue, 
with Scholastic seriousness,  about what is real and not with respect to LD's 
fiction and his life.   Even as a pimply sixteen year old I knew that Durrell's 
"Alexandria" only  truly existed in his head.  I willingly entered that world 
and welcomed  the seduction.  Moreover, through our discussions, we are adding 
to the  Master's fictive world.  He always knew that.  This is not !
to  say that a biographer, like Michael Haag, can't do the great research  
involved, point out the many connections between fact and fiction, show all  the 
ramifications and permutations thereof, and then provide an explanation  for 
all those interconnections.  Yes, he can.  That's fascinating  and enjoyable 
-- an art in itself, a genre unto itself.  But it's always  going to be some 
kind of fiction.  M. Durrell will always remain elusive  and keep some part of 
himself to himself.  He will surely triumph in the  end.  End of story.


************************************** See what's free at http://www.aol.com.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://lists.uvic.ca/pipermail/ilds/attachments/20070613/5290ba64/attachment.html 

More information about the ILDS mailing list