[ilds] ILDS Digest, Vol 4, Issue 24

Sumantra Nag sumantranag at gmail.com
Thu Jul 19 22:42:37 PDT 2007

From: Pamela Francis <albigensian at hotmail.com>
>>Sent: Jul 18, 2007 12:19 PM

"...So, when Leavis, Cambridge don, says Lawrence Durrell is "not one of 
us," the negation of a major theme in Lord Jim, he's indirectly referring to 
Durrell's values and sensibilities and saying, in effect, they are not ours. 
And "ours" must refer to the mainstream moral and literary values that Dr. 
Leavis took it upon himself to defend...."

May I refer to the "war" between the Sitwells and F.R Leavis - aestheticism 
vs analysis?? That is an excessively simplistic description of the "war" I 
know, but it might capture some of the issues involved. The travel writing 
of Osbert Sitwell has qualities one might detect in Lawrence Durrell's 
travel writing, and I am reminded particularly of a phrase "....they are 
coming!...they are coming!..." Lawrence Durrell used it to describe the 
excitement of young boys at the progress of a festival procession in the 
Alexandria Quartet, and I found the same phrase in a travel essay by Osbert 
Sitwell, where a similar excitement is expressed by children at the approach 
of a procession.

The similarity may seem insignificant, particularly since it involves a very 
small phrase, but parallels have been drawn between the writing of Lawrence 
Durrell and the writing of the Sitwells - an Edwardian quality perhaps.


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