[ilds] Durrell's Style(s)

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Sat Nov 29 14:16:59 PST 2008

I strongly disagree with Charles Sligh's take, which is the prevalent  
one in some quarters these days, on the variety of Durrell's styles  
and voices — an approach which has resulted in mistaken identity.  I  
don't see Durrell as really having multiple voices (to say nothing of  
personalities!) that subvert any attempt to categorize him as this or  
that.  Now, Durrell probably wanted to achieve that effect,  
undoubtedly so, i.e., to appear as, and perhaps to be, a sardonic,  
irony-loving Pursewarden, laughing at everyone from Olympian heights.   
But, in my opinion, that is not echt Durrell.  Echt Durrell is the  
Durrell of his poetic beginnings, those openings to the four novels of  
the Quartet.  That is Darley's voice, and in part Mountolive's, and  
that is the voice people remember and either love or hate.  That is  
the voice old LD felt he had to disguise in order to survive in a  
modernist world of irony and ambiguity.

All too reductive, far too reductive, I can hear Charles saying.


On Nov 29, 2008, at 10:31 AM, Charles Sligh wrote:

> The satire falls short because it mistakes Darley's style for  
> Durrell's style.
> There are so many other facets and voices and writerly styles in  
> the /Quartet/.  And a good number of those voices--Pursewarden's and  
> Arnauti's especially--make it clear that /Justine/ and the /Quartet/  
> are already parodies, self-satirical in their ironies.
> Thus the problem with taking any one statement from /Justine/ with  
> high seriousness.  Take a line from that novel and set it up it as  
> precept--well,  Brother Ass, you crawl backward more like Polonius  
> every day. . . .
> Charles
> -- 
> ********************************************
> Charles L. Sligh
> Assistant Professor
> Department of English
> University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
> charles-sligh at utc.edu
> ********************************************

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