[ilds] baboonism

James Gifford odos.fanourios at gmail.com
Sat Jul 7 16:13:17 PDT 2007


It may be a 'postmodern move' (whatever that means), but the Durrell of 
his autobiographical travel narratives is certainly a character, often 
with very little in common with what the biographical author actually 
got up to.  Case in point -- the journal of _Prospero's Cell_ is a 
created artifact.  The characters of _Bitter Lemons_ are explicitly 
called characters, which is a tip off for me...  The shorter works are 
largely invented as well.

I don't trust Durrell for 'truth' when I read him -- I enjoy the ride 
instead.  Fiction is, by its very nature, a lie.  It took me a while to 
get over my frustrations with Durrell for that, but I think it was 
struggle that was useful, at least for me and my development as a reader.


Bruce Redwine wrote:
> Bill, I guess I'm just too naive and trusting.  I don't worry about ontology and finding the real LD.  I don't much worry about authorial masks and personae (the old New Criticism concern), particularly when dealing with non-fiction.  These kinds of intricate games I leave to the academy, which makes a profession out of such things.  I take the "me" of paragraph two pretty much at face value.  I hear and see Lawrence Durrell speaking.  He will, of course, occasionally invent, transpose, tell a fib, even plagiarize, but I like to think he's usually doing it in good faith, for whatever personal reason or just in the interest of telling a good story.  Don't we all do that?  Why not give the guy the same break?
> As to Montaigne, I'm thinking of his skepticism and the agility of his mind.  Also his use of history and classical sources.  Although Montaigne doesn't travel, his mind and imagination ranges through time and history and view the present through that lens.  Which Durrell also does.  Do we ask what Montaigne's standards are, aside from such broad categories as skepticism?  I think not.  I put him in the same category as Shakespeare (in fact, that's how I got introduced to him -- in a Shakespeare course!).  I owe much to you academics.
> Bruce
> -----Original Message-----
>> From: william godshalk <godshawl at email.uc.edu>
>> Sent: Jul 7, 2007 3:01 PM
>> To: Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net>
>> Subject: Re: [ilds] baboonism
>> Well, Bill, then let's readBitter Lemons and infer what those standards are.   The firstparagraph of BL tells me that the author likes words, he has a vision, aninquiring mind, an artistic temperament; he looks for ways to developthat outlook; possibly he even wants to reconcile his inward nature withthe outside world.  This guy is a Humanist in the making.  Willhe turn out to be a Montaigne?  Let's read on and see.
>> Bruce
>> But, Bruce, what if this is a mask? Does D create a persona that hewishes to project, but which may not be strongly linked to theontological Durrell.
>> Nice summation of paragraph one.
>> Montaigne in what sense? In fact, Montaigne does write like Durrell!!!!He uses the cento form. He or his secretary copies from his notebooksinto his essays. Wow.
>> Bill
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