[ilds] Finally

Godshalk, William (godshawl) godshawl at ucmail.uc.edu
Mon May 31 21:18:26 PDT 2010

Of course, as I often remind any one who will read, Darley is a literary character. He doesn't do anything -- not as you and I do things. 

Would it make sense for me to say, I invited Darley over last weekend so that I could read him. Things didn't go well after he seduced Justine (in this forking path) my beloved wife. I sent him away by the earliest post. He is now back at the library. 

Perhaps these things could happen in a certain kind of novel.


W. L. Godshalk *
Department of English    *           *
University of Cincinnati*   * Stellar Disorder  *
OH 45221-0069 *  *
From: ilds-bounces at lists.uvic.ca [ilds-bounces at lists.uvic.ca] On Behalf Of William Apt [billyapt at gmail.com]
Sent: Monday, May 31, 2010 7:54 PM
To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca
Cc: Bruce Redwine
Subject: Re: [ilds] Finally


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<mailto: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.


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

ILDS mailing list
ILDS at lists.uvic.ca<mailto:ILDS at lists.uvic.ca>

Attorney at Law
7004 Bee Cave Rd, Bldg 1,
Ste 205
Austin TX 78746
512/708-8011 FAX

More information about the ILDS mailing list