[ilds] Finally (2)

James Gifford odos.fanourios at gmail.com
Wed Jun 2 15:03:49 PDT 2010

Hi Charles,

Your passages are pp. 42 and 243-4 of the Faber edition of /The Black
Book/.  I don't have my Dutton handy for those with only the American

As for the letters, It's p. 55 of MacNiven's edition of the
Durrell-Miller letters (February? 1937).  I'm not sure in Wickes, but
I'd venture to guess there's more there since he included more
materials than Ian did for that period.

"In order to destroy time I use the historic present a great deal --
not to mention the gnomic aorist. It is not too risky, but here and
there it was necessary, when dealing with Tarquin, who is (if he lives
yet) something of a frontal sarcoma..."

This is his description of writing /The Black Book/ in a draft form of
about 70,000 words (which I've not compared with the actual final
version's length).  He'd already begun to study Greek and had at least
some ancient Greek at school.

I'd be inclined to link the phrasing of "destroy time" with his first
description of the Heraldic Universe as "Destroying time" (in part a
response to Herbert Read's endorsement of surrealism's communist
politics), and the "Now," of course, is the close to /The Black Book/

I hope the mobility is keeping you entertained!


On 2 June 2010 12:20, Charles Sligh <Charles-Sligh at utc.edu> wrote:
> James Gifford wrote:
>> Durrell describes the Gnomic Aorist in his letters to Henry Miller
>> while describing /The Black Book/ in conjunction with the historic
>> present (I'm annotating things at the moment and stumbled over this
>> just a few days ago...).  It's closely tied to his notion of the
>> Heraldic Universe, likely in early 1937.  Someone with a copy of the
>> letters handy may want to look up the actual passage.
> James:
> See my previous email with the quick copy-and-paste quotes from /The
> Black Book/.
> If you have a good edition handy, I would appreciate your passing on the
> page numbers.  I am mobile at present and have no paper copies at hand.
> . . .
> Many thanks!
> C&c.
> --
> ********************************************
> Charles L. Sligh
> Assistant Professor
> Department of English
> University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
> charles-sligh at utc.edu
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James Gifford, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of English and University Core Director
School of English, Philosophy and Humanities
University College: Arts, Sciences, Professional Studies
Fairleigh Dickinson University, Vancouver Campus
Voice: 604-648-4476
Fax: 604-648-4489
E-mail: gifford at fdu.edu

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