[ilds] Finally (2)

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Wed Jun 2 16:37:42 PDT 2010


I have a lot of trouble accepting that "character development is the least interesting point in Durrell's works," unless you're emphasizing a major flaw in his project.  If Durrell has little interest in "character development," that "false measure" of "times past," then what's the point of two novels dealing with time as progress and development, Mountolive and Clea?  What's the point of making a big to-do about the maturation of the artist, specifically Darley and Clea?  Where's the "agon," if no change?  Change in all forms abounds:  an oaf becomes an impassioned public speaker, a noseless beauty gets a nose.  James likes to compare the ending of the Quartet to Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.  Well, that's obviously a Bildungsroman, or a special version of one, an Irish novel of an artist's development.  I think Durrell clearly sees his lead characters in terms of development.  I question how successful he is.  And if not, why not?


On Jun 2, 2010, at 3:46 PM, Charles Sligh wrote:

>> He was also very
>> keen on D.H. Lawrence's notions of allotropic identity in the novel
>> from the mid-1930s onward, so a stable character wasn't really a part
>> of his oeuvre at any point, in my opinion.
> I concur with that opinion.  Reason: the point is not mere theory, it is 
> a practical reality witnessed in the composition, in the notebook method.
> Character development is the least interesting point in Durrell's 
> works.  That false measure belongs to times past, to forms with which 
> Durrell finds himself impatient. . . .
> Assemblage of disparate parts and poetic continuum are far more 
> curious.  Not everyone's cuppa, but there you have it.
> C&c.
> -- 
> ********************************************
> Charles L. Sligh
> Assistant Professor
> Department of English
> University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
> charles-sligh at utc.edu
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