[ilds] Buttons?

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Fri Sep 17 13:48:18 PDT 2010


James,

Yes, if LD was fond of Gilbert and Sullivan and their Iolanthe — if that's what you're referring to.  Which I haven't seen, heard, or read.  But you have me at another disadvantage.  I haven't read Durrell's first two novels, so I can't comment.  But if true, that doll-like women occur in the early novels, then this reinforces what has been repeated before and often, that is, the obsessive nature of Durrell's tropes and themes.  Is there a distinction between life in the city and life on islands?  Between the self/ego in one and then in the other?  I'd like to think so, a wistful thought perhaps best understood metaphorically, but Cavafy comes to mind and his famous lines in "The City":  "There's no new land, my friend, no / New sea; for the city will follow you."  Durrell's problems followed him everywhere, no matter how he dressed them up.  And he surely knew that.  That's why, in my opinion, self-extinction was always an option.


Bruce


On Sep 17, 2010, at 12:15 PM, James Gifford wrote:

>> 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.
> 
> Best,
> James

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