[ilds] Douglas's boy

Denise Tart & David Green dtart at bigpond.net.au
Mon Jan 19 18:55:33 PST 2009


William,

As I understood Jamie was asking me a question about the line in quotation marks:

" It's thirsty work talking like a Norman Douglas character"

I wondered why you sought discussion on my use of the word 'boy' and felt you were deliberately highlighting a rather colloquial expression on my part for reason that I have misinterpreted.

Beaver Cleaver "Boy, that's hard work!"  is my context.

Apologies.

As to datedness (if that's a word) I suspect Kerouac (have just read 'On the Road') will date before Douglas and Durrell do, but of course it is hard to say. We are still too close. who is working to preserve Douglas or Kerouac? Larry has the ILDS! Kerouac went for the contemporary speech of certain types in a certain time. Durrell and Douglas mixed in higher brow circles and this is reflected in the manner of dialogue and many of the characters. However, it is probably that both Durrell and Douglas said fuck and were more colloqual in their own speech than what they put in the mouths of their characters. In this, I believe, and Durrell supports this in interviews, they were attempting to create characters for all time (shadow players) - Durrel loved silver age prose and his Elizabethans for these reasons I am sure. In this I think Durrell is more timeless than Douglas whose language definitely smacks of an age, time and class whereas LD's is the sort quality English prose that can travel a long way and reach many ears. I've got a year 8 student who loves his stuff and know veteran academics who do too. I do not think my year 8s would find entry into  Norman Douglas as easy.

For example, I have to read Norman Douglas in the morning when I am fresh and the grey matter has had a cup ot two or tea into it; wereas as night I can read LD when a little tired and after a wine or two or three. 

This is not to say that Douglas is Deeper than Durrell. His writing flows into you through the pores. It is a physical experience that you can sleep on a awake transformed as if by eastern meditation (not that I've tried it). Douglas is an academic excercise, a wonderful one, but it reminds me more of the classical 18th century style: costume drama, social commentary, philosophical observations on the folly of life and the vale of tears a la Tom Jones.  Durrell owes more to the 19th century spiritual romantics and the early 20th century psychoanalysts. 

phew!

cheers

David



16 William Street
Marrickville NSW  2204
+61 2 9564 6165
0412 707 625
dtart at bigpond.net.au
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: william godshalk 
  To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca 
  Sent: Tuesday, January 20, 2009 1:14 PM
  Subject: [ilds] Douglas's boy


  Jamie,

  I wish to thank you for rescuing me. As I recall there was a boy in Southwind. And it was that boy that I was recalling.

  Bill 

  At 08:02 PM 1/19/2009, you wrote:

    Hey David -- my hunch is that Bill was pointing to the striking shift in 
    tone (much like the striking shift in tone when the Douglas reference 
    appears in Durrell).  In other words, the tone (so hard to convey in 
    email) is less interpreted as in Foghorn Leghorn's "Boy, I say Boy!" and 
    more like a Beaver Cleaver "Boy, that's hard work!"  Bill, for whatever 
    reason (Bill?) finds Douglas very much "of the moment," contrary to you 
    (the temptation is to ask when he first read Douglas...), yet the Beav's 
    "boy" (man, geez, golly, goshdiggity) is notably dated as well.  In 
    contrast, I should think that Foghorn Leghorn's "Boy" (son, servant, 
    inferior, blathering sound made to an urchin) is fresh and alive today 
    just as much as it was 50 years ago (the tone of "boy" that I suspect 
    neither you nor Bill was meaning).

    This might be as much as saying, all "dated" moments continue to be 
    spoken in the here & now, so Douglas is only as dated as our own 
    recourse to 50s slang is dated.  I suspect this also means Bill has a 
    softer spot for Douglas than we'd expected...  Again, Bill?

    Personally, I think my ROLF, LOL, or LMFAS, ;) and OMG are going to be 
    much more dated in 10 years time than Douglas will be, though I get your 
    point.  Still, Shakespeare is lively while 50s romance novels have 
    become horrifyingly stilted (I received /Lament for Four Virgins/ for 
    xmas, so I can make this contrast with confidence).  I'm reminded of the 
    other Douglas, Douglas Coupland, and I can't shake the sense that his 
    /Generation X/ is now just as dated as Norman Douglas, perhaps even more 
    so, despite being barely 15 years old.

    Out of curiosity though, and I actually don't know what to think of this 
    yet, how would you (both of you) compare Durrell and Douglas with regard 
    to "dated" diction?  It strikes me that Durrell was "dated" when he 
    first appeared, as was Douglas (just hold Durrell up next to Kerouac 
    from the same year, '57).  Yet, reading Kerouac, I get the sense that 
    I'm now hearing slang that died a long, long time ago though it was 
    clearly more 'contemporary' at the time than Durrell was (I don't think 
    "tea" even refers to the same non-caffeinated source of bliss now as it 
    did for Kerouac), whereas with Durrell, those archaic turns keep him 
    more fresh and contemporary 50 years later.  I've had the same sense 
    with Burgess and {shudder} Malcolm X this term.

    Do you find Douglas similarly "timelessly-antiquated," or am I barking 
    up the wrong tree?

    Schucks,
    James

    Denise Tart & David Green wrote:
    > I think the quotation in question was
    > 
    > " It's thirty work talking like a Norman Douglas character"
    > 
    > 'boy' had nothing to do with it and you said this just to make fun of me. I 
    > wonder who is laughing?
    > 
    > David.
    > 
    > 16 William Street
    > Marrickville NSW  2204
    > +61 2 9564 6165
    > 0412 707 625
    > dtart at bigpond.net.au
    > ----- Original Message ----- 
    > From: "william godshalk" <godshawl at email.uc.edu>
    > To: <Charles-Sligh at utc.edu>; <ilds at lists.uvic.ca>
    > Sent: Monday, January 19, 2009 10:53 AM
    > Subject: Re: [ilds] My Family, Bitter Lemons and wine
    > 
    > 
    >> No, but "boy" stands out.
    >>
    >>
    >> At 06:49 PM 1/18/2009, you wrote:
    >>> Denise Tart & David Green wrote:
    >>>> PS - Norman Douglas may be dated, but South Wind reads like a book of
    >>>> exquisite philosophy and boy can you see where LD got some of his
    >>>> characters from.
    >>> <<<"'It's thirsty work talking like a Norman Douglas character.'">>>
    >>>
    >>> Can you place that quotation, David?
    >>>
    >>> /Salud/--
    >>>
    >>> Charles
    >>>
    >>> --
    >>> ********************************************
    >>> Charles L. Sligh
    >>> Assistant Professor
    >>> Department of English
    >>> University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
    >>> charles-sligh at utc.edu
    >>> ********************************************
    >>>
    >>> _______________________________________________
    >>> ILDS mailing list
    >>> ILDS at lists.uvic.ca
    >>> https://lists.uvic.ca/mailman/listinfo/ilds
    >> ***************************************
    >> W. L. Godshalk *
    >> Department of English         *
    >> University of Cincinnati            Stellar disorder  *
    >> Cincinnati OH 45221-0069      *
    >> 513-281-5927
    >> ***************************************
    >>
    >>
    >> _______________________________________________
    >> ILDS mailing list
    >> ILDS at lists.uvic.ca
    >> https://lists.uvic.ca/mailman/listinfo/ilds
    >>
    > 
    > 
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  ***************************************
  W. L. Godshalk           *
  Department of English         *
  University of Cincinnati            Stellar disorder  *
  Cincinnati OH 45221-0069      *
  513-281-5927
  *************************************** 


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