[ilds] baboonism

James Gifford odos.fanourios at gmail.com
Sat Jul 7 22:02:02 PDT 2007


Bruce responds to me by writing:

 > [Durrell] is a single personality with a unique
 > vision and a unique manner of expressing it.
 > That's what we read and respond to.  He is a
 > self with a core identity

Michael says something akin, though there is an important distinction:

 > In both cases, Prospero and Bitter Lemons, and
 > in Marine Venus too, Lawrence Durrell is there.
 > Always the same man.  Moving through time and
 > from place to place, reflecting on his experiences.

The difference is that Michael hasn't said that the Durrell behind the 
text is the same as the narrator, though the "always the same man" seems 
to equate to Bruce's "core identity."

Again, I have strong sympathies for these approaches, but for the former 
in particular, I still can't accept it.  First, this notion of the 
discrete personality that does not change and admits no internal 
contradictions would seems to run entirely contrary to Durrell's 
authorial intentions.  By your own admissions, that means you can't 
accept it...

Besides, the worldview of the Durrell who wrote _The Black Book_ and 
wrote back against Herbert Read's expressions of Surrealism's political 
agenda is sure not the same worldview of the Durrell who wrote _The 
Revolt of Aphrodite_ or the _Avignon Quintet_.  Also, before we break 
this down into "left" or "right" for these worldviews, let's just admit 
that those are useless terms for anything specific.

As for core identities, perhaps the author himself should speak (not 
that any of us trust him, so we're just speculating about the author's 
intentions, filling in the silences according to our own needs and 
desires, as per the ending of _Justine_).  In the "Kneller Tape," 
Durrell says:

"Human character? A sort of rainbow I should say, which includes the 
whole range of the spectrum. I imagine that what we call personality may 
be an illusion, and in thinking of it as a stable thing we are trying to 
put a lid on a box with no sides."

I respect what you're saying Bruce, and I can appreciate the reasoning 
behind it, but I can't accept it in this context.  Again, perhaps we'll 
just have to disagree.

Best,
James


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