[ilds] Buttons?

James Gifford james.d.gifford at gmail.com
Fri Sep 17 12:15:04 PDT 2010

> My point — a woman may not want to be known,
> accurate or not, as merely a sexual plaything
> — and a dirty one at that.

You took the words right out of Iolanthe's mouth...  I think she'd be 
the most important doll of all for Durrell, and she'd have nothing to do 
with Sabina or Cunégonde.  The women of /Pied Piper of Lovers/ and 
/Panic Spring/ strike me as having a good deal in common with Io/I as well.

I'm dashing out the door, but I think there's a very productive 
discussion/disputation to be had here of the various "negative 
capabilities" in Durrell's texts where gender, autonomy, and desire 
overlap and contest each other.  Is there an essential psychotic split 
between Durrell's visions of autonomous existence of the "I" and the 
effects of desire as a powerful solvent of such notions?

I'm thinking of the city that lives the characters as its dolls vs. the 
life of the self that can be found in the rural islands; the pairing of 
autonomous individuals through love who must then negotiate the 
dissolving influence of desire on their autonomy; and the long tumble 
Durrell had the end of his life into a life lived through him and less 
by him.


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