[ilds] Durrell's Women

James Gifford gifford at uvic.ca
Thu Jul 5 12:00:42 PDT 2007

Bruce gives and emphatic "yes" to Anna's question, but I'm not sure if I agree:

> 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?

I don't think it's as easy as that, and for myself as one reader, I
can say it has nothing to do with why I find Durrell's books
appealing.  For me, it's landscape, the set-pieces, and form --
character plays a lesser role in comparison to my more plot-driven

If we're interested in the dynamics of the group and the history of
the scholarship, as I've mentioned, a very good portion of the
critical writing has been done by women, and recently there's been an
increase in readings of Durrell's queer characters, probably most
notably by Joseph Boone.  I suspect that discussions of gender, sex,
and identity politics would become rather complicated with Durrell,
since he keeps making any categorization of his work uncomfortable.

In general, I don't think the gender of the reader has much to do with
the appeal of the characters, at least not for Durrell.  The comments
from "real" readers in the wild that I've seen seem to focus on
intrigue heaped around Justine -- Darley just doesn't grab one that
forcefully, regardless of gender, or at least he doesn't grab me that
strongly as a personality.


More information about the ILDS mailing list