[ilds] new article

csligh Charles-Sligh at utc.edu
Mon Oct 13 10:56:12 PDT 2008

Congrats to Bruce on this accomplishment. I was made happy and proud to 
see the treatment when it arrived here in Chattanooga. Many thanks!

I will also note that Peter Porter addresses the Horace poem in his 
intro comments to the new Folio /Justine/. I will excerpt here below 
some of the relevant text from the TLS printing for pondering.


 From The Times Literary Supplement
August 27, 2008
Lawrence Durrell in the ambiguous white metropolis
The poetry and music of the Alexandria Quartet
Peter Porter *
> “On First Looking into Loeb’s Horace” is a pointer to the novels in 
> another way. Poems and novels make uncertain allies if only because 
> both like to tell stories. But the poet in Durrell is never far away 
> in his fiction. The Loeb poem is a masked short story: the Latin 
> Golden Age poet Horace epitomizes the Mediterranean virtues and vices 
> – a selfish fat man, vain, but also a writer of genius. Durrell 
> composes a mini-novel by remembering a lover who had made notes in the 
> margin of a Loeb student edition of Horace’s poems. As he traces their 
> affair, he senses in her marginalia’s summary of the Roman’s 
> personality, a shrewd discerning of his own. The creative writer’s 
> need to distance himself from involvement, however romantic his 
> attachment, is a match for the long-dead poet’s chilly self-regard.
> So perfect a disguise for one who had
> Exhausted death in art – yet who could guess
> You would discern the liar by a line,
> The suffering hidden under gentleness
> And add upon the fly-leaf in your tall
> Clear hand: “Fat, human and unloved,
> And held from loving by a sort of wall,
> Laid down his books and lovers one by one,
> Indifference and success had crowned them
> all.”
> In the novels Durrell marshals his characters with the same ruthless 
> determination as the female lover in the poem. Yet his method is an 
> open one – the reader perceives that the way these people are 
> dissected reflects on the figure of Darley quite as much as on them. 
> Alexandria becomes for them a guide to personal revelation. Darley 
> would see himself either as an unmoved mover, an Isherwoodian 
> observer, the camera who simply records; or he might prefer to be the 
> suffering catalyst of the actions that bedevil them. But the reader 
> begins to appreciate the strategy; the Durrell personality can be 
> filleted out of the action, leaving a huge ground plan of 
> contradictory and bewildered people trapped by history on a darkling 
> plain.
> Whether Durrell would have accepted that the liar in Horace was a 
> pre-echo of himself is unknowable. He was writing fiction, and very 
> complicated fiction at that. 


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