[ilds] Suicide

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Fri Aug 21 10:25:55 PDT 2009


Peter,

Yes, Brewster's Chronology is an eye-opener, something of a  
phantasmagoria and often very sad.  The books and poems kept Durrell  
sane, however, as you rightly point out.


Bruce


On Aug 20, 2009, at 1:46 PM, PETER BALDWIN wrote:

> No disagreement, really, Bruce
>
> I just sensed that what LD said to me was not a 'mischief'.
>
> Jamie Gifford may add more to this than I possibly could, but I  
> continue to marvel the promise of hope which Larry wrote into his  
> novels despite tough life he experienced, some self-imposed.
>
> At a simple emotional level, the LD we see in Brewster's Chronology  
> is a very much sadder man than the artist whom we see in the books
>
> Indeed, it is Larry's power to mislead and lay false trails about  
> his personality which fascinates some of us so much. On a personal  
> level, I have to overcome a lot of self-doubt so that as a lawyer in  
> court at least I sound as if I know the script!
>
> Jamie - would you like me to find the Endpapers and Inklings from  
> Anteus and attach them to this exchange?
>
> peter
>
> From: bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
> To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca
> Date: Thu, 20 Aug 2009 07:25:23 -0700
> CC: bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
> Subject: Re: [ilds] Suicide
>
> Thanks, Peter.  Solicitors are no euphemism, indeed.  Re your  
> previous comment about Durrell's denial of any suicidal impulses, I  
> don't think Durrell was always truthful about himself.  One of  
> Haag's points is that Durrell continually misrepresented himself.   
> In Haag's City of Memory, I believe there's a passage where Eve says  
> as much about her husband, his propensity to distort.  In fact, I  
> would go a step further and say that his denial is good evidence for  
> the opposite.  Here, I undoubtedly stand alone.
>
>
> Bruce
>
>
> On Aug 20, 2009, at 12:02 AM, PETER BALDWIN wrote:
>
> Dear Bruce
>
> Thanks for the comment
>
> The point I make about child rearing I have come across in the child  
> psychiatry reports for children of mentally ill parents [ for many  
> years I have represented children and families in  social services  
> cases before the English courts - I am what is not euphemistically  
> known in England as a solicitor ]
>
> As much as your other points are speculative, I would agree - not  
> that I want to go back to her Journals yet awhile to review them
>
> Regards
>
> peter baldwin
>
> From: bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
> To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca
> Date: Wed, 19 Aug 2009 19:26:01 -0700
> CC: bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
> Subject: Re: [ilds] Suicide
>
> Schizophrenia is a mysterious disease, but I don't think it has its  
> origins in child rearing.  I haven't come across that explanation.   
> Sappho-Jane was severely disturbed — read her journal and that is  
> obvious.  Equally obvious are her fantasies about her father, as she  
> writes about them.  I'm suggesting she identified too closely with  
> him and his persistent themes.  I also think suicide and fantasies  
> about self-extinction are far too prevalent in Durrell's work to  
> attribute them simply to the "imaginative process."  I would call  
> them an obsession.
>
>
> Bruce
>
>
> On Aug 19, 2009, at 6:16 PM, PETER BALDWIN wrote:
>
> I understand that the view held by psychiatrists is that a child  
> reared by a parent with psychiatric difficulties is more prone to  
> suffer from the same presenting problems not for any specifically  
> genetic reason, although that can be one reason, but because the  
> same presenting problems will be taken up by the child.
>
> Given that Larry did not rear Sappho, I think it dangerous to  
> speculate as to the aetiology of her illness. I suspect some  
> researcher somewhere has inspected the transcript of the coroners  
> verdict. This would, I think, be a document of public record and  
> would set out the coroner's conclusions, inter alia, of Sappho's  
> emotional state
>
> I once asked Durrell if he ever considered suicide and he quickly  
> denied it - as part of the imaginative process, an artist might  
> speculate through his characters about such things without ever  
> having the desire to take his own life.
>
> I think also that Durrell's saviour when he was at his most creative  
> was the emotional positivism he created through his books.
>
> peter baldwin
>
> From: bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
> To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca
> Date: Wed, 19 Aug 2009 13:11:06 -0700
> CC: bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
> Subject: [ilds] Suicide
>
> 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
>

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