[ilds] wine, writers and work

slighcl slighcl at wfu.edu
Tue Apr 29 16:34:13 PDT 2008

On 4/29/2008 2:57 AM, Denise Tart & David Green wrote:

>         Writing may have served these interests, rather than the other
>         way around, in which case elaborating and spinning out a theme
>         over 4 volumes instead of one pays for a lot of drinks, time
>         in the sun and holidays with convivial wenches - as well as
>         more erudite activities. I have come across several references
>         in Durrell's own words to his pragmatism towards his writing.

The point is well made, David.  As I said sometime ago in an exchange 
here on the list with Michael, I think that it is more accurate, more 
helpful, and more revealing to speak of Lawrence Durrell as a "Man of 
Letters" than as an Artist with that big Romantic "A" following behind 
him.  Durrell would make something of that big fat Romantic A***.   
Indeed, Durrell did address the corpulent ego of the Artist in a 1959 
>         D:  In fact, I think that the best regimen is to get up early,
>         insult yourself a bit in the shaving mirror, and then pretend
>         you're cutting wood, which is really just about all the hell
>         you are doing--if you see what I mean.  But all the Jungian
>         guilt about the importance of one's message, and all that sort
>         of thing--well, you get a nice corpulent ego standing in the
>         way there, telling you that you're so damn clever that you're
>         almost afraid to write it down, it's so wonderful.  And the
>         minute you get that, where are your checks coming from for
>         next month's gas, light, and heat?  You can't afford it.
>         I: What a splendidly pragmatic view of writing.
>         D:  I'm forced to it, you see; I'm writing for a living.
>>         (/Lawrence Durrell: Conversations/ 32)
Read his letters.  Read his interviews.  Take those letters and 
interviews with a grain of salt certainly because he laid it on thick 
for gullible and attentive audiences like he threw back the cups.  But 
listen closely and you will hear something in Durrell's verbs--he seems 
at his truest and most interested when he talks of cutting wood and 
wall-building and cobbling his works together. 


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

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