[ilds] ILDS Digest, Vol 4, Issue 21

Smithchamberlin at aol.com Smithchamberlin at aol.com
Tue Jul 17 14:54:17 PDT 2007

LD was indeed in many ways an autodidact.  However, he did not grow up  (a 
life-long effort) in isolation.  He knew artists, writers, poets, etc.,  with 
whom he communicated, learned from and followed a course of reading on his  own, 
true, but under certain influences of his contemporaries and those of a  
generation earlier like Eliot, Joyce, Freud and the more obscure and  obscurantist 
shrinks, poets and the like.  So there is a milieu or milieux  and context 
for his intellectual development.
In a message dated 7/17/2007 3:16:09 PM Eastern Daylight Time,  
ilds-request at lists.uvic.ca writes:

Message:  6
Date: Mon, 16 Jul 2007 17:20:18 -0700 (GMT-07:00)
From: Bruce Redwine  <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net>
Subject: [ilds] Autodidact
To:  Durrell list <ilds at lists.uvic.ca>
<25929340.1184631618437.JavaMail.root at elwamui-lapwing.atl.sa.earthlink.net>

Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8

I'm surprised no one  has picked up on Richard Pine's interesting suggestion 
that the fact Lawrence  Durrell was an autodidact has, possibly, important 
implications.  One of  my old teachers was fond of saying that the only people 
with truly interesting  ideas were the ones who weren't too educated.  That was 
why he enjoyed  teaching undergraduates and was suspicious of his graduate 
students.  Of  course, he had a Ph.D. from Harvard, but Alain being who he was 
would  probably, unflinchingly, have included himself in that class.

Now, the  class of those who were largely autodidacts is impressive:  
Shakespeare,  Blake, Keats, and many more.  Is Durrell's strange diction and 
vocabulary  the result of finding words on his own and not having some teacher tell 
him to  stop overwriting?  Is his great erudition similarly the benefit of  
self-enterprise?  Do people learn things better on their own without  being told 
what's good and not?  Should creative people following their  own inclinations 
and not have them stifled by the system of higher  education?  Is Durrell's 
tendency to plagiarize the result of not being  inoculated against such when a 
university student?  I  wonder.


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