[ilds] Takes on Takes

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Sun Aug 16 16:13:02 PDT 2009


Charles,

Yes, analysis requires refinement of one's own perceptions.  You might  
say constant revision and correction to arrive at the clearest and  
best possible result — a process which Lawrence Durrell,  
unfortunately, did not spend enough time doing, certainly in his  
prose, if not his poetry, which he took very seriously.


Bruce


On Aug 16, 2009, at 1:52 PM, Charles Sligh wrote:

> Bruce Redwine wrote:
>
>>        Hear, hear!  Yes, absolutely.  In graduate school in the
>>        seventies, I was initially taught to appreciate a work of
>>        literature on its own terms.  Then along came Paul de Man and
>>        "theory" took over.  I guess the current emphasis on critical
>>        "theory" has displaced the old approach.
>
> I will not deny that the professional study of literature today trends
> toward "sheep eat sheep."  There are precious few brave or singular
> folk, but I think that this is may be a truth universal across the
> professions.
>
> And all of that "sheep eat sheep" culture might be one among several
> reasons behind Eagleton's caper.  The celebrated critic finds himself
> asked to review a biography of Lawrence Durrell, onetime celebrated
> author.  Or the celebrated critic is invited to travel in order to  
> share
> his views in seminar with people who actually read and attend the
> writings of Lawrence Durrell.  What happens?
>
> In both cases, Eagleton floats one through, pretending to knowledge  
> that
> he has not earned.   After all, he has "become a name."  And who of  
> like
> stature might object and ride out to champion old Larry Durrell.   
> Seemed
> a quick buck, an easy enough take-down, in that old Virgilian sense,
> the rugged Pyrrhus bringing the hammer down on old grandsire Priam at
> the altar. . . .
>
> I might make a small friendly qualification to your statement about  
> the
> need to "appreciate a work of literature on its own terms," Bruce.   
> And
> I would make it by means of two of my touchstones, the writings of
> Lawrence Durrell and Walter Pater.
>
> As Pater writes in the "Preface" to /The Renaissance/:
>
>>        "To see the object as in itself it really is," has been justly
>>        said to be the aim of all true criticism whatever, and in
>>        aesthetic criticism the first step towards seeing one's object
>>        as it really is, is to know one's own impression as it really
>>        is, to discriminate it, to realise it distinctly.
>
> I think that Pater's sentence could serve as an appropriate abstract  
> or
> epigraph for  /The Alexandria Quartet/, capturing not only what Darley
> must come to see about his lovers and the City, but also what the  
> reader
> learns while reading.
>
> Stay strong--keep on reading.
>
> Charles
>



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