[ilds] [Fwd: moral economy in durrell's writings]

James Gifford odos.fanourios at gmail.com
Wed May 13 23:01:03 PDT 2009


Perhaps we could say (as per Skordili) that the ethical economy of the 
Quartet lies in those juxtaposed epigrams from Freud and Sade at the 
beginning of /Justine/: talk and introspection vs. unreflective 
libidinal crime.

But, Bill says,

> I have finished with morals, don't you think? I am
> that I am, and all that kind of stuff. 

Yars, but I think Tarquin got that one out verbatim in /The Black Book/ 
just after he decided he'd stop "interfering" with himself...  More to 
the point, in getting beyond morals, he was still caught in the Sadean 
part of the equation that opens /Justine/ because he didn't have 
adequate "talk" to have developed self-knowledge or at least a 
sufficiently robust self-narrative.  Tarquin never knows himself, and 
hence he's never finished with morals.

> One must be bold enough to face up to oneself

I suspect that's the lion's share of the broken, blurred, or otherwise 
troubled mirrors across the /Quartet/, or even in /Pied Piper/ when 
Walsh describes himself as nothing more than a bundle of splintered 
mirrors.  I think we're supposed to intuit Darley as having reached that 
point, but somehow Durrell could never expressly narrate it in /Clea/ -- 
I don't think we'd need to scratch too deep to guess why...  Perhaps 
it's the same reason Jane Austen doesn't narrate private conversations 
between men: write what you know.

That said, facing up to himself seems to be Darley's real quest across 
the /Quartet/ as a whole.

But Charles said,

> I will now slip the shrunken wizened idea of moral 
> economy into a drawer of the hall desk.  May the party 
> be a great success.  /Basta/.

More!!  What other letters were in the drawer, and how did Toto fare at 
the party?

Best,
James


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