[ilds] wine, writers and work

James Gifford odos.fanourios at gmail.com
Wed Apr 30 07:31:14 PDT 2008

Welcome, Carrie, and please don't think you've made a mistake!  We're 
glad to host any kind of discussion, and while a goodly portion of the 
list is made up of academics, there's certainly no monopoly on 
discussion topics or interests.

As for Mr. Epfs, he is a topic of conversation too long neglected...  I 
have two of his images sitting over my home desk at the moment, and 
there are a few more to put up some time, but I'm afraid I don't have 
anything original, nor do I have very much.  Still, they seem to be very 
much a collaboration with the more famous writer, cut from the same 
cloth.  (I have an image of a veiled woman who is perhaps shopping, but 
with coloured bars crossing the canvas, but interlaced with the figure, 
to me always suggesting that there's another wall between the observer 
and observed -- the other image repeats the trick but with a town, which 
I imagine to be Cypriot, but I can't say for certain).

Although it's not penned by Mr. Epfs, there's a particularly good essay 
at the beginning of /The Paintings of Henry Miller/, which I've always 
turned to for guidance on Durrell's visual work.  I believe it's 
forthcoming in the Delos Press's /From the Elephant's Back/ as well.

Many thanks for your interesting posting.  Please keep them coming!


Carrie wrote:
> I recently joined the ILDS mailing list, and immediately realized I had 
> made a mistake, not being a scholarly sort myself.  I am drowning in all 
> that I read, trying to find the Lawrence Durrell I knew for 25 years.  I 
> had, in the first instance, been hoping to know more about Larry's work 
> of course, but I hadn't realized that the contributions were to be an 
> exercise in carefully combing through the minutiae of every word.  This 
> isn't a criticism, rather an observation.  I wouldn't be up to the 
> standards necessary to engage in your literary forum, and I guess by now 
> you are all relieved to know that.
> However, I would like to say that David Green's contribution is one ILDS 
> mailing list offering that I feel Larry would have enjoyed.  I think 
> Larry would say that David Green has hit the nail on its head.  Larry 
> was not Gerry, he did like a simple life, complete with the few luxuries 
> he enjoyed.  I'm not being hard on Gerry, but he did not embrace the 
> simple life, anything but.
> My connection with Larry is my mother, Shirley, who married Larry's good 
> friend, and archivist, my stepfather Alan Thomas.  It was through my 
> mother and Alan that I got to know and spend time with Larry.  It was an 
> uncomplicated relationship, which set it apart from most of Larry's 
> relationships, especially with women.  Larry, as DG suggests, loved 
> women, but I think it's fair to say he was hard on them, with few 
> exceptions.  Claude was Larry's soul mate, had she not died prematurely 
> they would almost certainly have stayed together.  Larry would 
> appreciate DG's apt perception, though he might not entirely agree.
> I also wondered what, if anything, any of you thought of Larry's 
> artwork.  I refer to his paintings and drawings, which were exhibited 
> under his pseudonym Oscar Epps.  Larry loved to paint, and I was 
> concerned when presenting the L Durrell archives to the British Library 
> that they were surprised to receive Larry's paintings, having not 
> realized that he was an artist as well as an author.  I felt quite sad 
> after handing the portfolio over wondering how these paintings would be 
> treated in terms of access by interested readers/scholars.  I felt there 
> was a lack of interest to the extent that their disinterest was 
> apparent.  Quite sad really! 
> Carrie
> On 29 Apr 2008, at 07:57, Denise Tart & David Green wrote:
>> Charles is being very kind when he says Durrell had an "eloquent gift 
>> for elaboration."  Not for nothing did he make a very good press 
>> officer, a spinmeister.
>> It says on the back of my Durrell Biography that "wine and sun 
>> inspired him" - and perhaps women too, amonst other interests. 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. Durrell was raised as a colonial gentlemen. To 
>> live even vaguely like that - and we know that on one level Durrell 
>> embraced the 'simple life' - one needs money!
>> DG
>> Denise Tart
>> Civil Celebrant - A8807
>> 16 William Street
>> Marrickville NSW  2204
>> +61 2 9564 6165
>> 0412 707 625
>> dtart at bigpond.net.au <mailto:dtart at bigpond.net.au>
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