[ilds] Suicide

sharbani banerjee sharbanibm at gmail.com
Thu Aug 20 11:22:10 PDT 2009


The question that logically arises out of this is that  "Why was Sappho-Jane
schizophrenic?" . To my mind the answer may lie hidden in the answer to
another question "Why did Pursewarden commit suicide?"
The Quartet like its four novels, provides four answers. Saphho's suicide is
still shrouded in the shadow of mystery.


On 8/20/09, Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net> wrote:
>
> James,
>
> We're all just guessing.  Sappho-Jane was schizophrenic, I believe that was
> the diagnosis, and I know very, very little about the etiology, symptoms,
> and prognosis of that disease.  It may be, however, that she was in tune or
> sensitive, in a warped sense, to her father's psychology.  That's the link
> I'm proposing, although obviously just a wild guess.  She took her father's
> imaginative explorations too seriously or was influenced by them, to
> disastrous effects.  I'd like to see more done on "what Durrell was hiding."
>
>
> Bruce
>
>
>
>  On Aug 19, 2009, at 12:51 PM, James Gifford wrote:
>
>  I've tried to read the epigrams differently, but I agree that Durrell
> had more than fleeting flirtations with the idea of suicide -- at least,
> his notebooks suggest more than fleeting thoughts.  I'd classify that
> distinctly from Sappho's suicide, but that's another complicated topic.
>
> Still, Durrell was clearly interested in Byron, and I'd certainly read
> the burning of the letters as an allusion (along with the sibling
> incest...), but let's not forget that Durrell really didn't live up to
> Byron's reputation.  Pursewarden is associated with the author of the
> Quartet, but so is Darley, and Darley's prudish and throwing in sex to
> show he's not a prude (perhaps the best indication that he is).  I'm
> personally very hesitant about associating Durrell with any character in
> a reasonably clear way after /Pied Piper of Lovers/.
>
> As for what Durrell was hiding, I think he hid it well, and it probably
> has a great deal more to do with his childhood and self-doubts than it
> does his sex life, but that's just a personal guess.
>
> Best,
> James
>
> Bruce Redwine wrote:
>
> Provocative as ever, Charles.  Thanks for recalling the De Sade
>
> epigraph.  Very relevant.  I suspect Durrell had strong suicidal
>
> tendencies, and the reference to De Sade's "noose" is much more than a
>
> bit of cleverness.  It's an obsession — perhaps finally fulfilled in
>
> Sappho Jane's suicide.  Re Keat's "negative capability," I don't think
>
> even he would want to go into some territories of depravity.  Hard to
>
> imagine any nightingales in Dracula's castle, although I'm sure LD
>
> could.  But why some areas are off-limits and others not is a real big
>
> question.  I'm not upset by Cormac McCarthy's novels, /Blood
>
> Meridian,/ in particular.  In fact, I'm strongly attracted to Cormac's
>
> depictions of violence.  Sexual depravity, however, touches another
>
> cord, a prudish one.  When writing about sex, Durrell would go only so
>
> far and got into a big argument with Miller over the latter's
>
> explicitness.  Too bad we don't have Byron's /Memoirs,/ then we'd see
>
> how far things could go.  "Only fit for a brothel," they were called.
>
> Hobhouse burned them, and Durrell has Pursewarden's letters burned,
>
> which may be a good deal more than a touch of authorial indebtedness
>
> to an honored predecessor.  Maybe Durrell was also hiding something.
>
>
>
> Bruce
>
>
>
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