[ilds] baboonism

James Gifford odos.fanourios at gmail.com
Sat Jul 7 22:29:46 PDT 2007

I think we're getting closer to articulating what we both really mean 
here, so it's been a useful (pragmatism again...) exercise.

You say Durrell changes but is still recongisable in his travel books (I 
won't say "non-fiction").  That's probably more useful for both of us 
than "always the same man" or "self with a core identity."  I doubt I 
can access that unchanging man or core identity in myself, let along an 
author I only know through words in a fiction book.  I'm certainly not 
the same man I was when my first academic article was published 
(actually, it was the first paper I wrote after I finished my undergrad, 
with all the flaws of such a thing going to press unedited...).  A 
changing yet recognisable cloud of potentially contradictory traits and 
affiliations (always plural too) would seem far closer to Durrell's view 
as well.

But, if we aren't to trust what he says in an interview, then why should 
we trust what we read in his books?  I think your answer will be that 
you recognise that continuity, which I will certainly grant you and 
admit I do as well, but isn't that something that's 'reader imminent' 
rather than an authorial intention?

I suppose I want to have my cake, on a plate, and eat it too -- I want 
the author, the text, and the reader.  I get cranky when one's missing, 
just like when my plate's empty or the cake is in my hands.  Worst of 
all is having the cake on a plate without me there...


Michael Haag wrote:
> I am certainly not saying that Durrell remains unchanged.  He does 
> change; he has experiences, he reflects on them, he saddens, he grows, 
> etc; but he is still recognisably Durrell.  And what Durrell may say 
> about human character in an interview (or in a book) does not alter 
> that continuity that we read in his work.
> :Michael

More information about the ILDS mailing list