[ilds] sitwells &c.

slighcl slighcl at wfu.edu
Fri Jul 20 07:08:57 PDT 2007


On 7/20/2007 1:42 AM, Sumantra Nag wrote:
>
>   
>
>         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.
>
That will be an interesting connection to trace, Sumantra.  Many of the 
first treatments of Durrell's writing attempted to draw out connections 
with the "Great Moderns"--Eliot, Joyce, Lawrence, Ford, &c.  Those 
readings tend to place Durrell in the company of other twentieth-century 
writers "making it new," staking a claim in discovering literary 
territory different from the past.  Yet all along there has been the 
other side of Durrell--"Durrell the Man of Letters," let us call him, 
who was well-read and knowledgeable in Edwardian and Georgian stylists 
such as Norman Douglas, Lytton Strachey, &c.  Perhaps the Sitwells would 
be there too.  (Cf. Ingersoll 241-242.)

Durrell really could talk books with the best of them.  I marvel at his 
comfort in the 1970 BBC Gawsworth TV special.  When Alan G. Thomas 
mentions Gawsworth's advocacy of a host of minor poets from the 1890s, 
we see and hear Durrell effortlessly moving to that topic, speaking with 
perspective, perception, and wit about those poets' works (Canon Gray!  
/Silverpoints/!!).  As Durrell notes, those 1890s poets were simply 
/passé /in the years of Auden and Spender.  Yet Durrell clearly put 
himself through a broad regimen of reading.  The lecturing jobs also 
trained him for the quick and memorable connections that he makes.

Redraw the maps.  Take down the fences.  Give him a glass.  Let him 
talk.  Enjoy yourself!  Remember that Durrell recognized that he was a 
"composite." Remember that Durrell admired and learned from his "darling 
Elizas" /and /Wodehouse /and /Forster /and /Sabatini /and /Rohmer /and 
/Eliot /and /Sade /and /Conan Doyle /and /Stendhal /and /Miller /and 
/Proust /and /Rider Haggard /and /Cavafy &c. &c.  (What about Durrell's 
enthusiasm for things scientific and pseudo-scientific, historical and 
apocryphal?)  The conversation will be so much more interesting once we 
start to live up to our author.

Charles

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

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://lists.uvic.ca/pipermail/ilds/attachments/20070720/90193ca1/attachment.html 


More information about the ILDS mailing list