[ilds] Durrell's Women

slighcl slighcl at wfu.edu
Thu Jul 5 13:26:18 PDT 2007

On 7/5/2007 3:00 PM, James Gifford wrote:

>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
I think that I am "predominantly male"--perhaps 84%?  Surely there might 
be tests? 

But my interest in Durrell has not a thing to do with masculine desire 
for the "Durrellian" women with which he peopled his novels.  One of 
those women I find completely cloying (Clea).  Another (Justine), I find 
less and less interesting every time I meet her.   I would, however, 
like to help out "poor Melissa" in some way.   Charity, in the Greek 
sense.  The poor kid was handed a sorry deal by life--or at least by her 

Instead, the sources of my interest and my championing of Lawrence 
Durrell might be set out beneath three major headings and another, more 
minor heading:

        *1) Major: *The singularity of Lawrence Durrell's prose style. 
        Aesthetics are prime in the Durrell books that I favor.  And I
        have come to think that any "concepts" about /Love /or /Place
        /or /Relativity /(!) have their first significance for Durrell
        in their formal appeal of relationship and sound and sense.   I
        find Durrell is at his best when his works aspire to the
        condition of music or paint.  Then, if his big ideas hold up
        over the span of the work, they just might even come to make a
        "statement."   But I would not want to force them to do that.  
        Nor would I wish to forbid them to do that.

        *2)  Major:* Lawrence Durrell's imaginative process at work in
        the /Quartet /notebooks and the knockout beauty of his Faber books.

        *3) Major: *The good friendships I have made with good people
        around the world through a common, elective affinity for things

        *4)  Minor: *The singularity of Lawrence Durrell's life, along
        with the ongoing puzzle of his past days of celebrity and his
        current moment of diminishment.  Read here:  I cheer and rally
        to these sort of Jacobite, outcast causes.  (Perhaps I learned
        some that loyalty from Durrell?)  Let's all raise a glass for
        "/Larry across the water/."


Charles L. Sligh
Department of English
Wake Forest University
slighcl at wfu.edu

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