[ilds] Seeking the Truth

James Gifford james.d.gifford at gmail.com
Sat Sep 25 12:42:08 PDT 2010

A good question!  Treece's novels are largely overlooked now, but his 
politics are certainly still in them...  The lineage from Treece 
directly to Michael Moorcock is easy to see as well.  But, that's really 
not Durrell's cup of tea, err, whisky, errr style of novel.

I see more direct influence in the poetry between the two, and from LD 
to Treece, not really in the other direction.


On 25/09/10 12:37 PM, Godshalk, William (godshawl) wrote:
> Did Durrell and Treece influence each other as novelists?
> Bill
> 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 James Gifford [james.d.gifford at gmail.com]
> Sent: Saturday, September 25, 2010 1:41 PM
> To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca
> Subject: Re: [ilds] Seeking the Truth
> Hi Bruce,
> I'd point to Durrell's strong support for Israel up to the late 1960s
> (perhaps parallel to Judt) as well as his ongoing interest in History.
> While he likely held very different views on epistemology from Judt, I
> don't think there would be a necessary antagonism between them.  I
> suspect you're blurring together two different contexts and two
> different uses of the term "truth."  For political intrigue and personal
> relationships, and most especially for poetry and fiction, "truth" is a
> very different animal than it is for a historian.
> As for the "polemical intellectual," I think there's a good deal more to
> this than we often acknowledge.  /The Revolt of Aphrodite/ or "No Clue
> to Living" give us some differing views on the subject.  I've tried to
> write about it in an article that's appearing in /jml/ this month:
> http://inscribe.iupress.org/doi/abs/10.2979/JML.2010.33.4.57
> It's up in Project MUSE and EBSCO now.
> Cheers,
> James
> On 24/09/10 11:25 AM, Bruce Redwine wrote:
>> Tony Judt recently died (1948-2010). British born and educated, Judt was
>> a major historian of modern Europe, in particular the intellectual and
>> political tradition in post-war France. He was also Jewish; as a youth
>> he worked in a kibbutz. He was an early supporter of the State of Israel
>> and later a strong critic of the same. He wrote frequently for /The New
>> York Review of Books. /In the previous issue of /NYRB/ (30 Sept. 2010;
>> link below), Timothy Garton Ash, of Oxford and Stanford, has written a
>> remembrance of Judt. One section reads, "There are, broadly speaking,
>> two kinds of polemical intellectuals. There are those for whom the
>> taking of a controversial position is primarily a matter of personal
>> peacock display, factional or clique, hidden agendas, score-settling, or
>> serial, knee-jerk revisionism. Then there are those who, while not
>> without personal motivations and biases, are fundamentally concerned
>> with seeking the truth. Tony Judt was of the latter kind. Sharp and
>> cutting his pen could be, but his work was always about seeking the
>> truth as best we can" (p. 6).
>> Lawrence Durrell might be called a "polemical intellectual." In his
>> early years, he certainly thought of himself as one, so his 1959 Preface
>> to /The Black Book/ testifies: "a two-fisted attack on literature by an
>> angry young man of the thirties" (p. 9; London 1938, 1982). In view of
>> statements such as "Humility! The /last trap/ that awaits the ego in
>> search of absolute truth" /(Justine,/ p. 242) or "Truth is what most
>> contradicts itself in time" /(Balthazar,/ p. 23), I wonder what L.
>> Durrell would have had to say about anyone who devoted his or her life
>> to "seeking the truth?" Wasted? Mistaken? Wrongheaded? Foolhardy? And
>> conversely, what would Judt have thought of LD? Mistaken? Wrongheaded? I
>> don't know if TJ read LD, but it seems likely that he did, given the
>> breadth of his learning.
>> Bruce
>> www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2010/aug/20/tony-judt-1948-2010/
>> <http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2010/aug/20/tony-judt-1948-2010/>
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