[ilds] "Our most exalted alumni was Lawrence Durrell"

Godshalk, William (godshawl) godshawl at ucmail.uc.edu
Sat Jun 19 12:15:50 PDT 2010

I met many years ago two Scottish/Dutch kids who were reared in the east. They spoken fluent English and Dutch --- and their parents found out one day, to their surprise, that the kids also spoke the local dialect (can't remember which) fluently.

Why not Durrell too? 


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 Bruce Redwine [bredwine1968 at earthlink.net]
Sent: Saturday, June 19, 2010 12:21 PM
To: Charles-Sligh at utc.edu; ilds at lists.uvic.ca
Cc: Bruce Redwine
Subject: Re: [ilds] "Our most exalted alumni was Lawrence Durrell"

In his 1983 memoir, "From the Elephant's Back" (Fiction Magazine), LD writes, "I have seen the peak of Everest from the foot of my bed in a gaunt dormitory in Darjeeling" (p. 59).  In his biography of LD, MacNiven writes, "Here was an innocent example of fiction revising reality:  Larry wanted to remember it that way.  Everest is not visible from any point in Darjeeling" (p. 40).  I assume MacNiven takes this memoir, in part at least, as fiction — and for good reason.  In the same essay, LD also writes about his early experiences in India, "I have seen the Rope Trick when I was ten . . . My first language was Hindi" (p. 59).  The "Indian Rope Trick" is one of the great hoaxes of recent times, as Peter Lamont exposes in The Rise of the Indian Rope Trick:  How a Spectacular Hoax Became History (2004).  The "rope trick" never existed, but Durrell claims he saw it.  I seriously doubt that LD's "first language" was "Hindi."  Another lie.  Has anyone fully explained Durrell's propensity to lie?  Was it as "innocent" as MacNiven graciously says?


On Jun 18, 2010, at 9:06 PM, Charles Sligh wrote:

More news from the mountains of Tennessee.


Spy for Tibet finds karma in Tennessee
As told to Henry Hamman
Published: June 19 2010
I was educated at a Jesuit school in Darjeeling, St Joseph’s, the
usual kind of English-language school in India at the time. I was
there with the Dalai Lama’s youngest brother and other Tibetans. Our
most exalted alumni was Lawrence Durrell.

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

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