[ilds] Finally

William Apt billyapt at gmail.com
Mon May 31 16:54:41 PDT 2010


I see both positions, and both make sense.  But as I gave it some more
thought, this occurred to me too:  Darley, we must remember, is not, by own
admission, a particularly  exceptional fellow; in fact, at the beginning of
Justine one theme is the aimlessness of his own life, at what a low point he
is,  and how emotionally bankrupt he is.  As I recall, Durrell once said in
an interview that he (Durrell) had never been happy.  Perhaps Darley
possesses a self-loathing quality - one that maybe Durrell was not fully
aware of - that accounts for his mysteriously passive acceptance of
rejection by women?


On Mon, May 31, 2010 at 11:14 AM, Bruce Redwine
<bredwine1968 at earthlink.net>wrote:

> Congratulations on finishing the *Quartet.*
> William Apt raises important questions that, in my opinion, are not
> answered by raising the old Durrellian placard about Truth and its
> elusiveness, i.e., "Truth is what most contradicts itself."  Apt, if I may
> speak for him, is questioning the depth of Durrell's characterization of
> Darley, who bears the same initials as the author himself, LGD.  I have to
> agree with Apt.  Durrell's part-time narrator is shallow, as shallow as the
> tepid sands of the estuary where Melissa lies buried.  Now Durrell, in the
> execution of his *Quartet,* may have decided to emphasize the ambiguity or
> relativity of the world we live in, which makes Alexandria so dazzling and
> bewitching a place, but in doing so he sacrificed his main narrator and did
> not make him particularly convincing as a human being.  He's like Thales,
> the first Greek philosopher, who walked around contemplating the big
> questions and then fell into a well and broke his neck.  On the other hand,
> maybe this is exactly what old Durrell wanted.  "Who knows?" as WG might
> say.
> Bruce
>  On May 30, 2010, at 10:33 AM, Godshalk, William (godshawl) wrote:
> The Quartet is a great and rewarding work.  But of all its mysteries, to me
> the greatest one is this:  How could Darley be completely unfazed when he
> finds out that Justine only wanted to use him;  that Melissa was never
> turned on by him; and that Clea wanted out of the relationship so bad she
> started going wacko?  II'd be crushed, but not him!
> Yes, but can Darley ever KNOW that these are truths? Justine (the novel) is
> apparently the truth when Darley first gets involved with Justine (the
> woman). Then Bal gives his vision in the great redaction. Then an unknown
> narrator tells the story from Mountolive's point of view -- which is quite
> different. Finally Clea gets her shot at re-redaction.
> When Darley finishes (both reading and writing) these related narratives,
> he's probably more puzzled than crushed.
> What is truth asked  jesting Durrell
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