[ilds] ILDS post from dtart at bigpond.net.au requires approval

Charles Sligh Charles-Sligh at utc.edu
Tue Nov 25 05:29:31 PST 2008

A few of us--very few of us--survived the election season, David.  But 
we remain uncertain about our numbers.  Reports come in scrambled and 
unreliable. . . .
> *I have also been checking out Norman Douglas. Durrell seems to have 
> owed a lot to him through style, imitation and format. This is not a 
> criticism; writers have mentors. Writers read. Norman Douglas's 
> influences and style have quite a correlation. Interested in more on 
> the Douglas/Durrell relationship.*
> ** 
I wish I had time to go back and set out some of Douglas's sentences 
beside Durrell's sentences.  Oh, alright--at least here is some ND from 
/Old Calabria/:

> It was, indeed, a divine product; a vino di montagna of noble 
> pedigree. So I thought, as I laboriously scrambled up the stairs once 
> more, solaced by this incident of the competition-grotto and slightly 
> giddy, from the tobacco-smoke. And here, leaning against the 
> door-post, stood the coachman who had divined my whereabouts by some 
> dark masonic intuition of sympathy. His face expanded into an inept 
> smile, and I quickly saw that instead of fortifying his constitution 
> with sound food, he had tried alcoholic methods of defence against the 
> inclement weather. Just a glass of wine, he explained. "But," he 
> added, "the horse is perfectly sober."
> That quadruped was equal to the emergency. Gloriously indifferent to 
> our fates, we glided down, in a vertiginous but masterly vol-plane, 
> from the somewhat objectionable mountain-town.

And I have always been able to recall ND on the sea-glass:

> They have ousted me from my pleasant quarters, the landlady's son and 
> daughter-in-law having returned unexpectedly and claiming their 
> apartments. I have taken refuge in a hotel. My peace is gone; my days 
> in Taranto are numbered.
> Loath to depart, I linger by the beach of the Ionian Sea beyond the 
> new town. It is littered with shells and holothurians, with antique 
> tesserae of blue glass and marble fragments, with white mosaic 
> pavements and potteries of every age, from the glossy Greco-Roman ware 
> whose delicately embossed shell devices are emblematic of this 
> sea-girt city, down to the grosser products of yesterday. Of marbles I 
> have found cipollino, pavonazzetto, giallo and rosso antico, but no 
> harder materials such as porphyry or serpentine. This, and the fact 
> that the mosaics are pure white, suggests that the houses here must 
> have dated, at latest, from Augustan times.

 I think that the similarities come as much from what is taken as 
/understood/ between writer and reader--a certain tone, a certain 
/persona/--as from any arbitrary definition of what Durrell called 
"Silver Age Prose."

> *PS: true story - I teach a girl in year 8 who has read all of Gerald 
> Durrell's book and several of Larry's. This is truly wonderful*
The best news, indeed.  Pass her more books for her holiday reading.


Charles L. Sligh
Assistant Professor
Department of English
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
charles-sligh at utc.edu

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