[ilds] Durrell's verbal style -- more questions

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Wed Jun 13 09:48:09 PDT 2007

Marc, I like your post.  Can you provide the French for "from bottom of my heart?"  And do you recall the French on Maupassant's grave?



-----Original Message-----
>From: Marc Piel <marcpiel at interdesign.fr>
>Sent: Jun 12, 2007 11:52 PM
>To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca
>Subject: Re: [ilds] Durrell's verbal style -- more questions
>Hello everyone,
>Some of you must have numeric versions of these 
>texts to be able to so easily find "words", etc... 
>It is very difficult for me to follow all of your 
>posts; Quantity and contents an I don't have 
>access to the same material.
>Have you ever suddenly become aware of something 
>that you had never taken any notice of before and 
>suddenly everywhere you turned, everything you 
>did, "it was there"? This can happen for an idea, 
>a word, a colour, a phrase, a concept. We all live 
>in a moveable environment - and it is moving 
>faster and faster - some of us are more or less 
>"sensitive" to it.
>This inevitably happened to LD also (very, very, 
>sensitive), and became part of his writing.
>I recently told a woman (no lewd comments please) 
>that I loved "her from the bottom of my heart".
>I think I had never used that expression in my 
>life and since, everywhere I turn it comes up.
>Even our new french président used it in his 
>inaugural speech and last sunday I was showing 
>some visitors around; we were in a Paris cemetery; 
>discovered Maupassant's grave, and there on an 
>enamelled plate was that expression again.
>Probably, I picked it up unconsciously and used 
>it. Surely this is a natural thing to do and 
>cannot be called "plagarism", or copying, or 
>anything done on purpose. When I read a book, I 
>often note phrases that impress me or that make me 
>think; not sure what I do with them after that. I 
>have piles of little cards and often I don't know 
>what know anymore what their source was - and it 
>doesn't really matter. By the way I am neither a 
>teacher nor a writer; I am a designer - I draw, 
>today on a computer: I'm just just someone 
>interested in ideas, like many people!
>Marc Piel
>slighcl wrote:
>> On 6/12/2007 8:08 PM, william godshalk wrote:
>>> I will offer a challenge. In the past few weeks, we have found that 
>>> some of the material that Durrell uses on pages 177-179 is taken from 
>>> Rex Warner's translation of Xenophon.
>>> (1) Before learning this, did any of you find this passage in Justine 
>>> different from the surrounding material? 
>> Yes.  Always.  Without a doubt.  Some of my favorite prose in Justine.  
>> And I enjoy your discovery of the Xenophon source because I was reading 
>> Justine and the Anabasis at the same early age.  (Penguin gave me 
>> both!)  Just think, the hidden connections between those books were 
>> gestating all these twenty-something years, waiting for Bill Godshalk to 
>> midwife.
>>> Did anyone think that Durrell was here appropriating material from 
>>> another writer?
>> No.  I had at most thought that Durrell was adopting a tone, a style, a 
>> mask.
>>> (2) I imagine that some members of this list didn't pay strict 
>>> attention to this find. If you didn't, could you read these pages and 
>>> distinguish between Durrell's prose and Warner's? In what ways are 
>>> they different in style?
>> I paid strict attention to your find.  Even on a train passing through 
>> the Belgian countryside.  Glow-worm express.
>>> (3) If you feel that Durrell integrated Warner's prose into his prose, 
>>> could you explain the integration process? What does Durrell add, 
>>> remove, or modify to make Warner into Durrell?
>>    1. "Their enemies were of a breath-taking elegance"  -- That is pure
>>       Durrell and is a kind of acknowledgment of what he is up to. 
>>       Although much of the description of armour &c. comes from Warner's
>>       translation of Xenophon, Durrell begins by glossing Warner,
>>       copying down Warner's words and glossing them, critiquing them,
>>       and elevating them through his imaginative engagement.
>>    2. "With a column on the march memory becomes an industry,
>>       manufacturing dreams which common ills unite in a community of
>>       ideas based upon privation."  -- Durrell loves opening a paragraph
>>       with this sort of eighteenth-century period--pithy, confident
>>       statements of knowledge that he delivers to an audience expected
>>       to nod in agreement.  Think about Prospero's Cell:  "It is a
>>       sophism to imagine that there is any strict dividing line between
>>       the waking world and the world of dreams."  World-wisdom.
>>    3. "He opened memory to his consciousness royally, prodigally, as one
>>       might open a major artery." -- That would have to be Durrell.  In
>>       Justine and in the poetry arteries and veins abound, especially in
>>       conection with thoughts of impending suicide.  Antony, Cleo, the
>>       whole sick crew.
>>> (4) Or would you argue that Durrell knew that Warner's style was like 
>>> his own, and D would have to change very little to integrate Warner's 
>>> prose?
>> I don't know.  I have been revisiting the Warner translation on Amazon, 
>> which offers a concordance, an index of unusual phrases and a searchable 
>> text.  I will tell you if Durrell's ghost confesses to my cast of the 
>> digital planchette.
>> C&c.
>> -- 
>> **********************
>> Charles L. Sligh
>> Department of English
>> Wake Forest University
>> slighcl at wfu.edu
>> **********************
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