[ilds] Bitter Lemons as a novel

Pamela Francis albigensian at hotmail.com
Fri Jul 13 16:46:49 PDT 2007

>from Richard:
>Interesting, to read Bitter Lemons as a novel.... Comments? RP
from Denise and David:
>RP! Bitter Lemons is to my mind not easy to classify. It makes no pretense 
>of being a travel book like the earlier island books although one can see 
>similarities. It makes political comment without being reportage in the 
>strictly journalistic sense. Is every situation and character in it real in 
>the sense of being a true and accurate record? I doubt it....
>it can be read as a novel. Perhaps it is travel book, reportage and fiction 
>all rolled together. We do live in a world that likes to classify but am 
>not sure that, in this case, it matters much.

from me:
This issue of genre is very interesting, and I think it does matter 
somewhat, at least when we put this text in the context of other travel 
writing of the era--I'm thinking of Robert Byron and Evelyn Waugh; for 
example, Waugh wrote his ex-wife completely out of Labels, though the entire 
book was based on their trip together.
So why would we read BL?  It's not really much of a travel guide, much less 
even than Prosp. and Venus. So is it an analysis of the political sitch?  He 
claims, of course, that it isn't, though it is , indeed, quite political.  
Is it auto-biography?  Each genre has certain characteristics, purposes, 
audiences.  But it appears that all of these categories are problematic, as 
is assigning it to the genre of "novel".  I'd like to know what others think 
about these categories and if, indeed, the issue is not important.
What audience did he appeal to?  This, given LD's financial situation, must 
have been on his mind at least somewhat. This lends relevance to the issue 
of "genre".
I think someone at the beginning of this conversation listed the 
library/bookstore genre assignments given BL--perhaps that person could 
refresh us.

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