[ilds] Durrell and the Academy

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Fri Jul 20 09:34:17 PDT 2007


James, yes.  Both Durrell and Wordsworth share a similar revolutionary plan -- that is, similar in seeing themselves as revolutionaries, if not fighting for the same revolution.  Of course, revolutions come and go, and some poets like to think of themselves as manning the barricades.  Take Whitman and Pound, for instance.

Bruce

-----Original Message-----
>From: James Gifford <odos.fanourios at gmail.com>
>Sent: Jul 19, 2007 4:17 PM
>To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca
>Subject: Re: [ilds] Durrell and the Academy
>
>This is a good observation Bruce:
>
>> the Quinx epigraph:  ". . . must itself create the taste
> > by which it is to be judged."  Durrell is saying he has
> > to create his own audience.  The quotation is, I believe,
> > from Wordsworth's letters.  What is the context?  If we
> > look at the famous Preface to the Lyrical Ballads, we see
> > that Wordsworth was out to turn things around, to break
> > away from popular 18th century poetry and to speak "the
> > real language of men," both in terms of style and content.
> > There is great irony here in Durrell's choice of an
> > epigraph, for his objective is neither of those advocated
> > by Wordsworth.
>
>Durrell knew Wordsworth's works well, and his penguin edition of a 
>selection of Wordsworth's poetry shows this (some of his editing work is 
>held at l'Universite Paris X -- unless I'm mistaken, he quotes that same 
>passage in his Introduction.  Durrell is not after the same objectives 
>as Wordsworth, but he had no qualms about appropriating Wordsworth for 
>his own purposes; to my mind, that speaks quite a bit about Durrell's 
>work and method.
>
>More to the point, for a long time I thought Durrell was a rich writer 
>who was sloppy with his allusions and sources, but the more I dug, the 
>more I became convinced that he was far more careful than I had 
>expected...  I'm sure the Wordsworth epigraph is on that level.  For 
>instance, most critics still insist _Quinx_ is his worst work -- I'm 
>admittedly odd, but I think it's very strong, but of a different style 
>and method, or at least taking the method he had to its extreme 
>conclusion.  In that sense, I think he's standing right in line with 
>Wordsworth.




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