[ilds] LD article

slighcl slighcl at wfu.edu
Thu Jul 26 07:25:42 PDT 2007

Thank you for passing on the Trueheart article on the /Quartet/, Pamela.

>         I came back to Durrell with mixed feelings, and as I read
>         through the four novels for the first time in 40-plus
>         years---encountering my own youthful enthusiasms in the
>         margins--- was sporadically impatient or mortified (for me,
>         for him) when I came across *examples of what Durrell himself
>         called his "over-efflorescence."* These lines from the opening
>         page of /Justine/ had merited heavy underlining when I was
>         young: "I see at last that none of us is properly to be judged
>         for what happened in the past. It is the city which should be
>         judged though we, its children, must pay the price." Today, I
>         might have scrawled: /Oh, please/.
>         * How can an author capable of subtlety and originality also
>         write potboiler sentences such as these? *[examples omitted here]
>         Memory and distance throw light on what The Alexandria Quartet
>         was a half century ago---a dying burst of romance in the
>         heyday of realism, an appeal to credulity on the eve of so
>         much skepticism, a bold experiment in form that in only a few
>         years literary experimentalism would render almost pallid. But
>         the books do bear rereading for the same reasons, as a sweet
>         remembrance of things from not so long ago. "Art occurs at the
>         point where a form is sincerely honored by an awakened
>         spirit," Durrell once aphorized. *By his lights and mine, The
>         Alexandria Quartet remains a work of art.*

The arc of Trueheart's comments recalls in some ways the arc of our 
discussion of /Justine /here on the list.  I will look forward to 
reading your comments.


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

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