[ilds] Throwing Dust

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Mon Oct 29 15:38:29 PDT 2007

I take Durrell to be "throwing dust" in Alexandria and planting trees in Trafalgar Square.  And I'm glad he did.  Seems to me there's something more insidious in this criticism of not being faithful to the "real world."  That is, the expectation that art has to be scrupulously faithful to some social reality and those who aren't are branded racists, as Achebe charges Conrad in Heart of Darkness.  Art creates its own world.


-----Original Message-----
>From: James Gifford <odos.fanourios at gmail.com>
>Sent: Oct 29, 2007 3:02 PM
>To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca
>Subject: [ilds] recent work on LD's Irishness and Egypt
>Hello all,
>In line with our recent discussion of Antrobus, I've recently spotted 
>this delightful piece.
>Mary Massoud's recent chapter on Durrell's Irishness (a much debated 
>topic here that probably doesn't bear revisiting) makes a striking claim 
>about the Quartet's use of Alexandria, which cuts into the thick of the 
>debates over Durrell's inaccurate images of Egypt:
>"It hardly seems credible that Durrell who (according to his 
>biographers) had lived and worked in Alexandria for some time and had a 
>number of Alexandria friends, could have committed such grave errors out 
>of mere ignorance, carelessness or dishonesty.  Indeed his own 
>confession (in a prefatory note to _Justine_) of having 'exercised a 
>novelist's right in taking a few necessary liberties with modern Middle 
>Eastern History', makes one suspect he knew better.  Was Durrell, then, 
>deliberately throwing dust in the reader's eyes when he twice asserted 
>... that the city is real?  And if so, to what purpose?"  (377-8)

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