[ilds] Q

Ilyas Khan ilyas.khan at crosby.com
Sun Sep 26 11:49:42 PDT 2010

When Durrell started to talk about his life as a writer in later life, his
truth, that is, the truth he chose to highlight, was not the same ³truth²
that would have prevailed as he sat down, pen in hand, as a barely pubescent
young boy.

For those of you familiar with his ³ballad of slow decay² or any of those
first handful of published poems, Durrell¹s truth was as much a distant
relative to that on display during his later years, as might be mine or
yours from a similar distance.

This much, at least, many have observed and spoken of. But I see that the
real multitude of truths is not easily explained either by narrative device
(ie the quartet of perspectives captured in the AQ), or by the distance
afforded by time (and change, either of circumstance or perspective). I see
that the manifold explanations that attach themselves to Durrell and his
ever changing pulchritudinous worlds is rather simple. He was an addictive
liar. Perhaps it would be kinder to say that he was a skilled dis-assembler
of facts. This is to take nothing away from his writing. I have come across
too many wonderful writers who are disappointing human beings to be upset by
the contrast between the man percieved through his work, and the individual
in real life.

What works, or might actually be desirable on the page, also stands in
contrast to what we might admire or detest in real life, and that, in simple
terms, is part of the explanation around LD. Durrell¹s great friend
Aldington was not above criticisms along the same lines.

I go back to the ballad I refer to at the start of this brief commentary.
His life was quite uncannily captured in synopsis by the prevalent analogy
of the poem. Not that I am saying, for one moment, that he donned the garb
of a fortune teller and put himself as the subject of a mystical forecast.
No, I cant tie a neat bow and ribbon around that theory, but it does stand
some scrutiny when taken with the requisite seasoning of hindsight.

David, your reminder (to me) of Gideon prompted this reply. My longest and
most considered contribution to this forum in all the years I have tended to
³lurk² and enjoy your and others¹ comments.

With much fondness from deepest darkest Surrey,


On 26/09/2010 00:54, "Denise Tart & David Green" <dtart at bigpond.net.au>

> "But what is truth? Is truth a changing law? We both have truths, a mine the
> same as yours?"
> Pontius Pilate to Jesus in Jesus Christ Super Star
> "In God's name what is the Truth? that Millions are dead and more will die
> because Spain makes war on the catholic king of France who makes war on
> catholic Germany, all helped by protestants, by a hundred other kings, princes
> and bishops, all for their own rotten purposes.."
> Vogel in James Clavell's The Last Valley
> " the truth is your leaders are bigots, your generals are bandits and the pope
> plays politics!"
> The Captain in James Clavell's The Last Valley.
> "the Truth may be pure, but is is rarely simple"
> Oscar Wilde
> Surely the AQ with its four views of the same apparent reality, questions the
> very nature of reality (truth) itself. Durrell saw the dream world, the so
> called real world and the world of fiction as very much blurred and said so in
> interviews. Beyond objective reality - that, on Earth, a stone falls to ground
> when dropped - the rest is construction, invention. The Duke of Wellington
> said that the true history of the Battle of Waterloo could never be written
> because each participant only remembers his own part in it - just as each
> reader experiences a novel or poem differently .... is truth that important???
> It is said that Gideon in Reflections on a Marine Venus was a Durrell
> construction - but real to me and one of my favourite LD characters.
> David Whitewine
> 16 William Street
> Marrickville NSW 2204
> + 61 2 9564 6`65
> 0412 707 625
> www.denisetart.com.au <http://www.denisetart.com.au>
> _______________________________________________
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> ILDS at lists.uvic.ca
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