[ilds] RG Bitter Lemons -- Frangos

slighcl slighcl at wfu.edu
Sun Jul 8 19:40:54 PDT 2007

On 7/8/2007 9:27 PM, william godshalk wrote:

>Also Charlie's idea that Durrell in the cavern/tavern reflects 
>Odysseus in the cave of Polyphemus is a stroke of genius. But is 
>there much of a threat to our (mock) epic traveler?
/ /I think that answer depends upon what you make of Frangos.  How do we 
take him? 

Is this cyclops character just a laughable clown, more than half-blind 
with drink and his badly digested nationalist prejudices against the 
English?  Or could he embody an elemental, chthonic Cypriot spirit, 
ready to throw out the occupiers?

Either of those is possible.  Both may be there.  I tend to think that 
Frangos in this chapter is a blowhard expressive of the deep tensions 
welling up.  After Joyce's /Ulysses/, with its "Cyclops" episode filled 
with drink and anti-semitic slurs against the "half-and-half," we can be 
comfortable with mock-epic and absurd connections.  This need not parse 

Whatever the case, Durrell in /Bitter Lemons /is clearly making himself 
seem to be a wily hero passing crucial trials.  Most of these trials 
involve prejudice and what he refers to as lapses of "sentiment."

One last thought:  In 1953, 1878--the crucial year when the British came 
in--is still within a generation's memory for these "characters."


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

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