[ilds] (no subject)

csligh Charles-Sligh at utc.edu
Mon Sep 22 17:46:31 PDT 2008


william godshalk wrote:
> Charlie,
>
> Okay. Could you say a bit more about the architectural technique?
>   

I am not terrifically interested in it.  I heard Michael at Victoria 
taking issue with Durrell's conceit in the post-/Balthazar/ interviews 
and comments.  That is, Michael was pointing out the biographical 
evidence that shows Durrell began with shifting notions about his work, 
but certainly nothing as solid as the plans he retrospectively claimed 
to have had in mind for what became the /Quartet/. 

To believe in the conceit of a fully-planned /Quartet/ is to believe in 
Durrell as an architect.  An interesting fiction.  But I prefer 
Durrell-in-motion, Durrell stubbing his imagination on a low-hanging 
beam and making surprising innovations when he comes up short.  
"Architect" implies too much foresight. 

Durrell certainly used shooting-scripts for Justine &c.  But those 
arrive late.  And even then in writing the later volumes his notebooks 
show him re-reading and listing out the incidents previously written and 
published so he could remember what came when and where and how.  So the 
plans look backward more often than forward.

For the /Quartet/, I prefer to think of Durrell as a crafty builder of 
walls and resourceful patcher of roofs.  A jobsman who could mine his 
toolkit and dig through his shed for the forgotten scraps he needed and 
achieve surprising and pleasing results.  A cobbler of extraordinary 
gifts.  Is that not the real drama of the /Quartet/--the splicing and 
patching and soldering?

I will note that this other idea of Durrell is also a post-/Quartet/ 
fiction offered by Durrell in his interviews.  Choose one or both--or 
neither.

Do what thou wilt, O Will.
> Like a palimpsest? Layers of Troy over layers of Troy?
Yes.  Like Schliemann I make these things up and then go out on 
adventures believing that I can find the lost kingdom.   When it works, 
it works.  When it doesn't--well Dunsany's Carcassonne is another myth 
by which we might steer as well as by Troy or Alexandria.

Unlike Schliemann, I will try not to plow through the other intermediate 
layers and discard the scraps in order to force history into a pattern.  
There are always second, third, and fourth troys. . . .

What a wonderful book, this /Justine/.


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