[ilds] QUESTION

James Gifford odos.fanourios at gmail.com
Wed Jun 18 20:49:31 PDT 2008


Hi William,

My hunch is that the citation is being used by Lithgow to refer to the 
lush nature of Corfu in comparison to the other Ionian island and the 
Greek islands in general (perhaps).  For Durrell quoting Lithgow, I'm 
almost certain it's referring to his desire to cast Corfu as an isle of 
legend: Odysseus' island, Prospero's island, etc...  Durrell makes much 
of that poetic history and also of the lushness of the island's greenery 
(and Lithgow does follow along for the latter).  The location of this 
bit right after the references to Homer & Odysseus on p. 64 mark it off 
for that intention.  I think Durrell simply found a convenient way of 
casting Corfu as one of many other places we're less certain of, so he 
ran with it.  I would guess that Lithgow is erroneous, but it's still a 
lovely moment in a work of fiction.

I'd be inclined to read the Latin translation as Ovid (though I can't 
find Ovid actually saying this anywhere...) asking himself why he is 
recounting Alconoe's beautiful island or beautiful poetic terrain when 
the fruits of that island (or poetic body of works) are so rich that 
they double over on themselves.

I may, however, be right out on that, but without going to Lithgow and 
checking the Latin and spending some time hunting, that would be my 
first inclination.

Anyone else?  Charles?  Bruce?  Bill?

Best,
James

William Apt wrote:
> James:
>  
> Yes. That's the passage.  Specifically, the couplet:
>  
>      "Why blaze I forth Alconoe's fertile soil
>      And trees, from whence, at all times they fruit recoyle?"
>  
> I just can't make sense of it.  And it doesn't help that I don't know 
> Latin.  But I believe you are correct:  the dated spelling is one clue:  
> "they" is likely "thy"; "recoyle" is likely "recoil". 
>  
> At best, the couplet seems to say:  "Why do I cross this rich forested 
> land whose fruits evade me?" 
>  
> WILLIAM APT
> Austin, Texas 


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