[ilds] Pearls

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Fri May 2 15:44:57 PDT 2008

Charles the Just.  You're always fair and just, Charles, and it's good and necessary to be reminded of that, being balanced.

Pursewarden as LD's memento mori -- now that is an interesting idea.  I still see Durrell as more of an Othello than an Antony, however.  It's Othello who "threw a pearl away" and that reminds me of that sky of "hot nude pearl" and the language that gets squandered.


-----Original Message-----
>From: slighcl <slighcl at wfu.edu>
>Sent: May 2, 2008 7:13 AM
>To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca
>Subject: Re: [ilds] the occasional angel & the ladder of alcohol
>That is an interesting example of acting posthumously, Vittorrio.  
>Pursewarden's difference rests with his acceptance of his mortality and 
>his acceptance of the vagaries of literary fame and fashion.  
>Pursewarden walks knowingly towards his death.  You might even say that 
>he scripts the plot, directs, designs the set, and acts the player's 
>part.  And Pursewarden leaves behind his enigmas for the "survivors" in 
>his audience to puzzle out.  Oh, what a wounded name.  (Staged deaths 
>abound in the fiction, really.)
>And so with Durrell, I think.  His works and the record of witness to 
>his life are not easy to take with confidence.  Some readers seems to 
>find sunny Mediterranean Larry.  Others seem to find something greyer, 
>something more gnostic.  And others still insist that his life was 
>rather sad, for himself or for those whom he may or may not have damaged. 
>I only mistrust a reading that insists on any of these as the singular, 
>final diagnosis.  Durrell has left us writings and a biography which 
>have an uncanny kinship with Pursewarden's asterisk, that typographical 
>will o' the wisp which misleads the reader to a blank page, throwing the 
>reader "back upon his own resources--which is where every reader 
>ultimately belongs."   I have said it before here.  We are all Durrell's 
>Brother Ass.  (The second person address of that posthumous document 
>pulls us in.)
>In the end, I am most curious about Durrell's creation of Pursewarden in 
>the 1950s, during a moment in which he was somewhat known but nowhere 
>nearly as celebrated as Pursewarden is within the imagined world of the 
>/Quartet /or as Durrell would be after /Justine/'s appearance.  I think 
>that there is much to mull over in that act of imagination.  In a way, 
>Pursewarden is Durrell's /memento mori/, a voice of mortality set to 
>check romantic ambitions and hopes for a lasting fame just as the Romans 
>set a slave behind their triumphant generals to check their delusions of 
>godhood, whispering "look behind you and recollect that you are only a 
>Maybe Antony's demise is coloring my reading, making me read like an 
>'antique Roman.' 

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