[ilds] Durrells

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Thu May 8 11:28:46 PDT 2008

I think the size of Durrell's ego shows in his interviews and various pontifications, especially those dealing with the course of English literature.  He speaks like a prophet who's descended from his mountaintop.  The preface to Balthazar is pretentious (Bergson, Proust, Joyce, Einstein's "Space-Time" -- this is all too much, the reader being left to insert "Durrell" among these giants).  Pursewarden is often a blowhard, very funny, yes, but still another pontificator.  I would also cite a poem like "Loeb's Horace" (which Peter Porter, respected poet, calls Durrell's greatest poem), where Durrell/narrator takes on a great poet and faults (attempts to diminish?) him for sins he (Durrell) himself is guilty of.

I have no doubt that in person Durrell was absolutely charming and gracious.  It's when he puts on his mantel of poet-priest that he swells up like a "god of bullfrogs" (his own phrase in "Le circle referme").  Durrell was certainly aware of this and tried to check his egoism through self-mockery.  However, I suspect, like Hemingway, he was basically insecure and felt he had to take on the world of letters.


-----Original Message-----
>From: PETER BALDWIN <delospeter at hotmail.com>
>Sent: May 8, 2008 10:41 AM
>To: Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net>, ilds at lists.uvic.ca
>Subject: RE: [ilds] Durrells
>Don't think D had a big ego.Isn't the point that by offering us so many personalities, he was working through the search for his own identity - and providing us with a modus to do the same even if with the same results
>peter baldwin> Date: Thu, 8 May 2008 09:42:50 -0700> From: bredwine1968 at earthlink.net> To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca> Subject: [ilds] Durrells> > I would only add to David's and Charles's discussion that the "puppets" Durrell created, the characters Charles defines as such, were probably important aspects of Durrell's own personality. Moreover, I don't think the term "persona/personae" is particularly useful in Durrell studies, since I don't see a great deal of difference between Durrell and his major voices. The man was complex and exploited his own complexity -- that's where his energy went. I don't see him as having the diversity of, say, a Shakespeare or the "negative capability" Keats talks about in his letters, which involves a suppression of the self in order to assume and inhabit other personalities. Durrell had a very big ego, and it pops up in Darley, Arnauti, and Pursewarden -- all, in my opinion, facets of the same self. And at the end of his life, as Charles points out, he was very tired. He never solved the problem and got all those selves to mesh.> > > Bruce>

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