[ilds] a "hero" or spokesman

Charles Sligh Charles-Sligh at utc.edu
Thu Jun 3 17:43:37 PDT 2010

Bruce Redwine wrote:
> Interesting.  But I wouldn't be so hard on young LGD.  I don't find 
> him all that tiresome.  Being young and callow is part of growing up, 
> and if M. Durrell is willing to stick with him as principal character 
> in three novels, then critics and readers have to ask why that's the 
> case. 
Absolutely agree. 

As my comment about myself "chiding" myself indicated, my previous post 
was autobiographical--about my past ways of reading Lawrence Durrell, 
all part of the shifting continuum of my personality. . . .
> The ending to the /Quartet/ is powerful, hopeful, and indeed 
> saccharine, but I don't see irony undermining any of that.  What's 
> wrong with a little "tenderness," the kind that Pursewarden longed for 
> ("tortured beyond endurance")?
Nothing in some books--remember I am a Victorianist, and we Victorians 
do that better than anybody else.  I cry every time I read about Davy 
Copperfield's stepfather beating him, and I teared up in class today 
reading about Maggie taking the boat out on the flooded floss to rescue 
Tom.  I wonder about the place of this response within the different 
terms of the /Quartet/. . . .
>  I would say that the faults you ascribe to Darley are probably faults 
> in Durrell's execution and your desire to place Pursewarden at the 
> forefront of the story, which he quite simply isn't.  I think one of 
> Durrell's reasons for having Ludwig bump himself off is to allow 
> Darley to grow and take control of the narrative.  As you have said 
> before, more or less, we have to take the Durrell we have, not the one 
> we want.
I think I read the /Quartet/ in the opposite direction now. 

In the notebooks, Durrell achieves the character who became 
Arnauti/Darley (avatars of the same figure) before he conceives 
Pursewarden.  In fact, my sense is that Pursewarden occurs because of 
Darley, as a necessary reflex to ward off Darley-ism.   Every book its 
own critic &c. . . .

Undiluted Darleyism would be insufferable, although I find many readers 
who remain loyal Darley-ists to the end.  In the same way, an 
all-Pursewarden book would be too brutally ironic and smart to take. . . .


Charles L. Sligh
Assistant Professor
Department of English
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
charles-sligh at utc.edu

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