[ilds] the lack of women actively on the list

James Gifford odos.fanourios at gmail.com
Wed Jul 4 19:10:50 PDT 2007


Bill follows up from Anna, asking:

 > this is a serious problem. Why is this
 > list basically a men's club?

This is a genuine oddity since so much of the serious Durrell criticism 
has come from women, yet the books are almost exclusively by male 
authors or editors (with notable exceptions).  For the first MLA special 
session in which the ILDS was created, I think there was gender parity, 
and that was back in 1980.

There are few scholars I respect more than Beatrice and Isabelle, whose 
intellectual vitality and experimentation I admire.  But for different 
reasons, they've both had to limit their involvement on the listserv lately.

Also, I think that because so many people here have known each other for 
so very long, it's easy to say things quite bluntly (or perhaps with 
ill-suited phrasing) without as much worry for tone as one might have in 
public or face to face discussion.  That might hinder other voices from 
coming forward, especially if they are young and subscribe to approaches 
or viewpoints with which more vocal list members are prone to disagree.

There's always a discussion going on behind any listserv, and for this 
one, I know there are several intellectually exciting female members who 
happen to avoid posting their responses to the whole group.  That's what 
makes me concerned about the gender imbalance.

As an intellectual side-note: in addition to the privacy allocated 
female voices in Durrell's (pseudo) non-fiction, is it odd to find the 
struggle Durrell seems to have with gender and sexuality throughout his 
fictional works?  What I mean is, we don't always get the 
stereotypically masculine straight men, effeminate gay men, feminine 
women, and masculine lesbians.  My hunch is that Durrell was struggling 
toward more 21st century notions of gender and sexuality, but he was 
trying to do so within an Edwardian apparatus for discussing sex/gender 
and sexual 'identity.'  Gender roles become quite confused.

Best,
James

william godshalk wrote:
>> *Why are so many men interested in Durrell studies, i.e. most of the 
>> respondents in the discussion group are male?  Is it because they are 
>> fascinated by Durrell's fantasy women and the world he creates around 
>> them?*
> 
> 
> asks Anna Lillios.
> 
>> Yes, this is a serious problem. Why is this list basically a men's club? 
> 
> Bill
> 
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