[ilds] Avignon

James Gifford odos.fanourios at gmail.com
Tue Jul 29 07:40:13 PDT 2008

Hello Ilyas,

What a grand posting.  That opening in /Monsieur/ was my first reading 
in Durrell on a very snowy afternoon ten years ago -- it is a 
descriptive passage that "sticks."  Perhaps someone in Nanterre would 
like to comment on the paragraph that precedes it in the notebooks...

As for Shakespeare and Co., I commented very briefly in my posting for 
OMG XV (More??), but I failed to mention picking up Yehudi Menuhin's 
copy of /Le Grand Suppositoire/.  Durrell's a grand ghost in that shop, 
though I must admit most of it was out of my range.

I'm curious though -- did you find any overlaps between James and 
Durrell?  They must have made unusual travelling companions!


Ilyas wrote:
> I just got back from a few days in Avignon. Despite being hot (very very 
> hot !), crowded, and seemingly full of russians (not that there is 
> anything wrong with these fine people), this is a town that retains, at 
> least for me, the spirit of LD. The papal palace has been cleaned up 
> since his time, and the Rhone, at least as it passes through the town, 
> was sparkling and clean. It would take some great leaps of imagination 
> to people these environs with gypsy camps ! In addition to the 
> inevitable heavy single volume quintet I lugged around with me, I also 
> took Henry James “travels” with its evocative (and not entirely 
> complimentary ) description of the town in the late 19th century.
> All in all good travelling companions.  Its been quite a while since I 
> read Monsieur, but I have to say that there is a special significance in 
> getting lost in the book whilst taking an evening train down from Paris. 
> Somehow it all seems that much more relevant and that much more 
> meaningful. Highly recommended !
> I also passed through Paris on the way back to London, and for those of 
> you who retain an interest in Shakespeare and Co, I can report that the 
> bookshop is as healthy and as vibrant as ever. LD figures quite 
> prominently, especially in the antiquarian side of the premises.
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