[ilds] Bitter Lemons

Marc Piel marcpiel at interdesign.fr
Mon Jul 2 13:55:58 PDT 2007


Hello Bruce and James,
Surely you are all "readers" 	and doing exactly 
what Barthes described????
Marc Piel

Bruce Redwine wrote:

> James, good to have a companion here.  Good summary.  I'm with you on your points 2-3, but can't go along with 1 and 4.  As for 1, authors are probably always reworking reality to suit their ends, so I don't know what "reality usurps literary interventions" means.  And as for 4, I just don't believe Barthes's axiom and will not turn a literary work over to the whims of the reader.  Now, you may say the proposal that Othello influences Bitter Lemons is a whim, but I say I tried to anchor that allusion in its appropriateness to the text and Durrell's life/method.
> 
> Bruce
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> 
>>From: James Gifford <odos.fanourios at gmail.com>
>>Sent: Jul 2, 2007 9:54 AM
>>To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca
>>Subject: Re: [ilds] Bitter Lemons
>>
>>Bruce notes the inconvenience of biography or fact in literary reading, 
>>which prevents a reader from spotting allusions or affinities.
>>
>>I think this is a general point -- Durrell wrote an opening to _Bitter 
>>Lemons_ that coincides nicely with his previous allusions to Shakespeare 
>>and conjured up a 'readerly' allusion to "Othello."  Why would fact 
>>prevent that reading?  Durrell did write it (or at least it's in his 
>>book...), so the possible allusion stands, regardless of its origins.
>>
>>I see a few possibilities (and we've been tripping over these lately in 
>>reading _Justine_):
>>
>>1) when a fictional incident is based on biography or history, we are 
>>barred from literary readings.  Despite appearing in a work of fiction, 
>>reality usurps literary interventions.
>>
>>2) autobiography or history is open to literary readings because, even 
>>in telling the truth, I can tell it in a way that draws on a rich vein 
>>of literary tradition.
>>
>>3) we must rely on the author's intended effects, privileging (there's 
>>that word, Michael) it over the reader's experience -- or, vice versa...
>>
>>4) we rely on the text ready to hand -- an author's intentions are 
>>always open to doubt, so we have the death of the author and the 
>>long-awaited birth of the text.
>>
>>Personally, I'm something of a bastard.  I like to use all four 
>>approaches (5 with the dual options in #3) whenever they suit me.  And 
>>since I'm the one holding the book or writing the new text about it, 
>>I'll keep doing exactly as I like -- hopefully I tend to pick the one 
>>that's most exciting for the occasion.
>>
>>Also, one of the reasons I like Durrell is that all five often operate 
>>quite well at the same time.
>>
>>Best,
>>James
>>
>>Bruce Redwine wrote:
>>
>>>How inconvenient, but only a minor inconvenience. 
>>>Let's not be deterred by facts.
>>
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