[ilds] Douglas

Denise Tart & David Green dtart at bigpond.net.au
Tue Dec 30 12:22:32 PST 2008

Gordon Bowker's bigraphy of LD makes several references to Norman Douglas's influnence on Larry's writing, particularly in his Island books and also in the Quartet. When considering Martin Green's criticism of Durrell's work (p288) Bowker says:

The greatest influence on him was Norman Douglas, but the Alexandrian novels the depravity was greater and less attractive than anything in South Wind - the voice of the narrator was emotionally, morally and philosophically exhausted; style and structure were more important than classical culture.

He also claims on page 201 that in 1950 Durrell met Douglas and Auden on Ischia, a meeting that inspired a letter to Anne Ridler.

When interviewed, Larry may have said he had not met Douglas in order to distance himself from the latters' influence on his writing; to appear more original and creative in his own right. People in interviews are often economical with the truth and, if others on this list are correct, Durrell was no exception, some his responses not corresponding to facts as they are known. Here are some further references to Douglas:

Douglas would help supply him with a vision and a language with which he could turn his own experiences of that blue seas of islands into literature. Douglas's voice can also be detected in pages of the Alexandria Quartet (no example given). (Bowker p 55)

But the article (Corfu: Isle of Legends) bore Durrell's distinctive style, though it owed something to D.H. Lawrence and Norman Douglas. He first scanned the island geographically and historically, touching on its classical associations - the landing place of Ulysses, a temple to Artemis - before venturing into the shadowland of peasant superstition... (Bowker p122)

 Here on New Year's Eve in Sydney Town it is hot and sunny with a sky of Durrell blue. I am preparing a large Mediterranean style lunch to celebrate my 49th birthday, Paris Hilton is in town to help keep the economy going, Sydneysiders are preparing for a day of barbecues, the beach and alcoholic excess capped off by humungous fireworks on the harbour and all is right with the world. Happy New Year everyone.

16 William Street
Marrickville NSW  2204
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dtart at bigpond.net.au
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