[ilds] Fw: Lawrence Durrell

slighcl slighcl at wfu.edu
Wed Aug 29 12:32:14 PDT 2007

On 8/29/2007 2:40 PM, Richard Pine wrote:

>     I'd like to share a quite passionate missive from a former
>     colleague in the Irish national broadcaster who just mailed me out
>     of the blue - as a general reader coming, as he says, late to LD,
>     and thru his 'travel' books, he sets a tone that I find very
>     encourageing - and of course, the query about Sebald vis-a-vis LD.

>         ----- Original Message -----
>         *From:* Kehoe Paddy <mailto:Patrick.Kehoe at rte.ie>
>         *To:* richardpin at eircom.net <mailto:richardpin at eircom.net>
>         *Sent:* Wednesday, August 29, 2007 5:23 PM
>         *Subject:* Lawrence Durrell

>             I do wonder too why if WG Sebald can be so fashionable
>             (and so great too obviously)  that Lawrence Durrell isn't
>             mentioned as much in dispatches nowadays, not that this
>             matters very much -- there is kinship there in terms of
>             approach between both writers, though probably unwitting.
>             They do have shared interests though, they are similar
>             reflective spirits, going their own joyous and melancholy
>             road.
Thanks for sharing Kehoe Paddy's reflections on these three Durrell 
books, Richard.  Last year I gave /Prospero's Cell/ to a colleague here 
at Wake Forest.  As I had hoped, he came back from reading it with much 
excitement, and as we tried to pin down more precisely the nature of the 
magic or the charm, we decided that /Rings of Saturn/ was not a bad 
contemporary point of comparison.  Both books slip past the confines of 
category.  Both writers, in their different ways, dream their way along 
through various topics.  You might say that both books are /Books of 
Place/ written in a sort of ruminative prose that plumbs so much more.  

For my own part and my own purposes, I find that I keep Pater's /Studies 
in the History of the Renaissance/ within the same company.  That is, 
like /Prospero's Cell/, /The Renaissance/ evokes something far beyond 
its avowed subject.  The experience is one in which you start out 
reading about one declared topic--say, Da Vinci's women, Michelangelo's 
Sonnets, or Winckelmann's final journey--only to have the floor 
gradually shift out from under, leaving you somewhere much different.  
Perhaps Pater, Durrell, and Sebald have a facility for helping to define 
aspects of a larger culture and moment via surprising and obscure 
instances and experiences? 

Prose that transports.


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

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