[ilds] ILDS Digest, Vol 31, Issue 11_Bruce_LD and Relativity

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Wed Oct 14 18:09:43 PDT 2009


Sumantra,

I agree.  Durrell wrote too fast and didn't revise enough.  A  
Cambridge tutor could have sharpened his judgment, without  
compromising his talent, unless carelessness is taken to be part of  
his genius.


Bruce


On Oct 14, 2009, at 10:08 AM, Sumantra Nag wrote:

> Message: 3
> Date: Sun, 11 Oct 2009 15:27:38 -0700
> From: Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net>
> Subject: Re: [ilds] VN & LD
>
> Re. Bruce: 'For good reason Durrell decided, either on  his own or  
> on the
> advice of his editor, to eliminate his 1958 note to  Balthazar from  
> the
> collected 1962 edition of the Quartet. That  statement about his  
> plan as a
> "soup-mix," with embellishments from  Einstein's Relativity theory  
> about
> space-time, is silly and and won't  hold up under scrutiny.  You may  
> take
> his note as an extended  metaphor, exciting in its sweep and  
> novelty, but on
> close examination  it looks pompous and foolish.  It won't hold up ?  
> writing
> four novels  from different perspectives is equatable to General  
> Relativity?
> Or  was it Special Relativity? ? neither of which I even pretend to
> understand, except in the most simplified sense.  I like to think a   
> good
> education will train you to think clearly and accurately, and I   
> don't think
> this would have harmed any of Durrell's "instincts." '
> -------------------------------
> Bruce, I noticed only after reading your post, that the opening NOTE  
> in
> Balthazar (Faber, paperback, 1958) had been removed from the collected
> publication of The Alexandria Quartet, (Faber, paperback 1962). I   
> agree
> that the removal was fortunate! Durrell's reference to the theory of
> relativity as a base for the structure of his proposed novels, and the
> comment at the end of the NOTE saying that the result might prove  
> 'to be a
> "science-fiction" in the true sense', did seem to indicate a naive
> invocation of a complex scientific theory and a light-hearted use of  
> the
> term 'science-fiction'. Reading Balthazar in its original form, when  
> it was
> first published, this NOTE did strike a somewhat questionable tone.  
> But
> wouldn't that also apply to the other pronouncement in the NOTE  
> which could
> also raise questions:
>
> "The central topic of the book is an investigation of modern love."
>
> Durrell's takes refuge in the following statement in the last  
> paragraph of
> the NOTE:
>
> "These considerations sound perhaps somewhat immodest or even  
> pompous."
>
> My understanding is that Durrell wrote the novels of the AQ fast  
> (even if
> the growth of Justine was many years in the making) and he did not  
> revise
> his drafts. Revision alone may have improved the text.
>
> But your point probably addresses the matter of judgement in the first
> place, and its shaping by academic training.
>
> Sumantra
>


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