[ilds] Romantic Suburbanism

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Sun Jul 8 07:43:10 PDT 2007

I would call this Romantic Suburbanism, a direct descendant of Romantic Classicism, which flourished during Byron's and Keats's time.  Byron in Venice liked to dream about such things, going to Greece and making revolution, then he went to Missolonghi, got a fever, and died, like Daisy Miller when she went to Rome and died.  Keats also went to Rome and died, but that can't be blamed on the Romans.  Durrell's Romantic Suburbanism is quite benign, not at all fatal, and I quite like it.  I shall take another cruise around the Mediterranean and dream about it while on my deck chair.


-----Original Message-----
>From: Michael Haag <michaelhaag at btinternet.com>
>Sent: Jul 7, 2007 8:32 PM
>To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca
>Subject: Re: [ilds] baboonism
>Baboons have bare arses and raise their hands to the sun in worship.  
>In this they encompass the sublime and the ridiculous, though we do not 
>yet know which end is which.
>However, I would like to introduce another subject: Suburbaboonism.  Or 
>rather reintroduce it, as I have mentioned this before, though less 
>mysteriously as suburbanism, and how Durrell starts off Bitter Lemons 
>with various remarks, not unsympathetic, about the suburbanising 
>tendencies of the British abroad, as in Cyprus, Malta, Gibraltar -- to 
>which I would add Durrell's own India, not to mention his experience of 
>growing up in South London.  I wonder whether Durrell is not a great 
>suburban writer, the Betjeman of the Med, the man who got to these 
>sunny places just before the rest of us, and whose achievement has been 
>to put these places into the suburbs of our imaginations.  Corfu, for 
>example.  Why go to Corfu?  Because it was so suburban, and with flying 
>boats coming in from England on the mail run.  Why go to Cyprus?  
>Suburban too, though Durrell adds the quite proper excuse of it being 
>within the sterling area.  But even so, and allowing for the fact that 
>northern Cyprus is the most beautiful part of the country, Kyrenia was 
>definitely the most suburban spot he could have chosen.  He even wanted 
>to open a bookshop to sell to his fellow suburbanites.  Durrell never 
>actually goes out into the wild and woolly.  In Greece, before he was 
>kicked out by the Germans, he avoided the hard bare islands of the 
>Cyclades (he was dragged there), and he hated the magnificent Mani 
>peninsula just down the coast from twee Kalamata.  Domestication is 
>primary.  Cyprus was a delicate balancing act between suburbanising 
>English people and suburbanising Cypriots.  Bitter Lemons is the story 
>of their suburban tragedy.
>On Sunday, July 8, 2007, at 03:55  am, slighcl wrote:
>> I do not recall at all the specific origin of our subject header 
>> "baboonism."  What was that? 

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