[ilds] The Lost Art of Lying

James Gifford odos.fanourios at gmail.com
Fri Mar 7 10:01:02 PST 2008

Hey Bruce,

I'd say Durrell and Wilde are actually remarkably akin here -- Wilde's 
use of pastiche and reworking of other texts is on display /in spades/ 
in his "The Decay of Lying."  It's nearly impossible to miss it.  The 
point, in part, for Wilde is that his "misrepresented" stolen bits taken 
on a new shape when they are recreated in his work.  And Wilde certainly 
did much more of this "misrepresentation" than Durrell ever did (any 
good critical edition will identify these extensive borrowings and 

You might disagree with Durrell using the second sense of lying, which 
you tie to copyright laws, and I can appreciate why you'd dislike it or 
not value it as a reader, but he came to it through a very clear 
aesthetic tradition to which he constantly alludes, and in which it has 
a specific function.

I see very little difference between Durrell and Wilde in either of the 
two senses of lying here, but I doubt either was limited to just two 

   "Appropriate what is yours, for to publish
    anything is to make it public property"
         -- Wilde


Bruce Redwine wrote:
> Wilde is playing off the first sense of lying, namely,
 > misrepresentation of fact and applying that to fiction.
 > But there is another sense, known to all, of deliberate
 > deception, for which we have such things as copyright
 > laws.  Durrell uses the first sense admirably but
 > misuses the second.
> Bruce

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