[ilds] sacring-bell (OED)

James Gifford james.d.gifford at gmail.com
Tue May 4 08:27:15 PDT 2010


> Yes, but that begs the question why certain terms stick in one's mind
> rather than others.  Now it may be that LD was so saturated in the
> literature of the English Renaissance that he began to think like an
> Elizabethan or a Jacobean.  Or he may have latched onto a vocabulary
> that had a special significance for him, conscious or unconscious.
> Or, obviously, some combination of both.  I lean towards the second
> of the first two possibilities, which I find more interesting as a
> critical exercise.

I agree with Charles that I'd very much like to see you pursue this 
problem.  That said, after spending so much time on LD's early fiction, 
I wouldn't dismiss the saturation hypothesis so quickly either.  I'd 
suggest that he really was immersed in that language, and his claim to 
have read across the Elizabethans before moving to Corfu has merit -- I 
could have taken another year just to attempt to hunt down likely echoes 
or allusions on /Pied Piper/ and /Panic Spring/, and many I found were 
well off the beaten path.

Another very likely factor is Durrell's notebook method.  He jotted down 
bits and pieces, words, phrases, or images that he liked in a series of 
expostulations or free associations -- these are later 'quaried' into 
the fiction (I believe Pine has traced this process more thoroughly than 
anyone else, cf Mindscape [really, just dip in anywhere -- it's 
recurrent]).  It's not so far from a cut-up method in some respects.

My own hunch would be a combination of all 3 of these in tandem: special 
significance of vocabulary (just look at the image of the ankle across 
his oeuvre), immersion (Elizabethans in particular), and method (notebooks).

Cheers,
James


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