[ilds] Bitter Lemons

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Mon Jul 2 14:14:19 PDT 2007


My God, I hope not, but the French always make interesting comments on Americans and, possibly, Canadians too.  So what you say, can't be readily discounted.

Bruce

-----Original Message-----
>From: Marc Piel <marcpiel at interdesign.fr>
>Sent: Jul 2, 2007 1:55 PM
>To: Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net>, ilds at lists.uvic.ca
>Subject: Re: [ilds] Bitter Lemons
>
>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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>> 
>> 
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