[ilds] ILDS Digest, Vol 31, Issue 10_Durrell and Nabokov

Sumantra Nag sumantranag at gmail.com
Mon Oct 12 00:34:44 PDT 2009

Charles: "Despite that note, I prefer Durrell's writing to Nabokov's 

I have to say that I too prefer Durrell's writing to Nabokov's writing.

It seems to me that on the ILDS forum, quite a few people to be gripped by 
Durrell's writing first read him as adolescents. This was also the case with 
me.The writer whom I began reading seriously in later years and whom I still 
find instantly absorbing is Proust in English (In Search of Lost Time), in 
the original translation by Scott Moncrieff and also the later Penguin 
version of 1981 based on translations by Scott Moncrieff and Terence 

My taste in fiction may have got somewhat fossilised after my early years. 
But I can say that in seeking the possible influences and traditions of 
writing which may have a relationship with Durrell's novels, I was led into 
reading Proust, Dickens, Sir Thomas Browne, Lytton Strachey, Norman Douglas, 
Joyce (whom I could never find as absorbing as Proust) and Virginia Woolf, 
and re-reading Conrad and De Quincey. The travel writing of the Sitwells 
with which I was earlier acquainted and the prose of Lytton Strachey have 
also been mentioned as bearing a quality seen in the prose of Lawrence 

Charles: "And those giants, they do re-arrange all of the furniture when 
they come over for a visit. . . ."

I found that wonderfully witty, except that I havn't read enough of the 
giants to fully experience the re-arrangement of which you speak!


Message: 2
Date: Sun, 11 Oct 2009 14:12:51 -0400
From: "Charles Sligh" <Charles-Sligh at utc.edu>
Subject: Re: [ilds] The Education of a Writer

I think you may be right about this issue of "discipline," Bruce.   There is 
an _ascesis_ in Nabokov's style that you do not find in Durrell's style.
Despite that note, I prefer Durrell's writing to Nabokov's writing.
I would never insist that Durrell is a stronger writer than Nabokov.  There 
are too many subjective variables to consider.
I think I gather up writers who have a special fascination for me, writers 
who--how to say it?--have a "mixed and uncertain condition."
These days I shrink from the "greats."   Why?
I think I like mortal things, varied things.  The giants throw such terrible 
shadows, and I suspect them of not being very much like us.
And those giants, they do re-arrange all of the furniture when they come 
over for a visit. . . .


More information about the ILDS mailing list