[ilds] Wise Sage, Onion seller or alchemist?

Denise Tart & David Green dtart at bigpond.net.au
Mon Jan 4 17:29:32 PST 2010

I refer to an interview by William Cole and George Plimpton with Lawrence Durrell recorded on April 23, 1959, beginning after lunch and doubtless some wine.

A critic claimed:-

"Durrell has never made the proper distinction in his writing between real people and imaginary persons." (note pious dissaproval)

INTERVIEWERS: Are these characters that reappear personae or real people?

DURRELL: No, they are personae, I think. They are not real people. There is hardly a snatch of autobiography. Most of the autobiography is in places and scenes and ambiances. I think it is not understood to what a limited extent artist have any experiences at all, you know.

Thus the villa in the Valley Di Ropa is real but the Count D is not.

Perhaps Larry too was a personae or several in the fiction of his own life. Many of us do this do an extent, some more than others and lies and bullshit are common place. People fictionalise their lives depending on the audience, their memory, how much wine they have had and so forth. Thus Larry can pass from sage to onion seller to clown to Oscar Epfs to a number of faces - but of this I am sure, he was a supreme alchemist in both fiction and life; a demiurge indeed - as well as wine scrounging merry rascal - remember he loved Surtees and Rabellaise and Villon, the second two being montrous tall talers and liers in life and fiction, Villon being especially good at trickery when it came to free booze.

David Green

with thanks to RW Hedges, Marc Piel, Bruce and James for getting the new year off to a decent start.

Denise Tart
designing ceremonies
Civil Celebrant - A8807
16 William Street
Marrickville NSW  2204
+61 2 9564 6165
0412 707 625
dtart at bigpond.net.au
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