[ilds] Light Durrell or Durrell Light

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Thu Jan 27 10:47:42 PST 2011

Reading Aphrodite's Revolt, or periphrasis of same, is a good idea.  Long overdue, for me, anyway.  Think I'll take Grove up on this.  Ken's comment about the Greek island books (which I'd expand to include Sicily and the Tyrrhenian Sea) bears serious consideration.  David Green deserves full credit for turning our eyes to the islands ("no tongue:  all eyes:  be silent").  Undoubtedly, Durrell's "potboilers" were done for "filthy lucre," but I find them most interesting and provocative.  Durrell, for all his protean productivity, was probably one of Isaiah Berlin's "hedgehogs," more of a possessed Dostoevsky than a foxy Tolstoy.  That's to say, he was a man of just a few obsessions (and demons), and these got continually reworked and replayed throughout his oeuvre.  So, I find it instructive to uncover these themes and tropes in his self-acknowledged "minor" works.  E.g., The Dark Labyrinth, White Eagles over Serbia, and Sicilian Carousel.  I sense these are often scoffed at, but I think this view mistaken — highbrow priggishness.  To emphasize what I said before, authors don't always know what they doing, and whether Durrell knew it or not, his potboilers seem to me as revealing (and probably at least as enjoyable) as his "serious" work intended "for all time."


On Jan 27, 2011, at 6:57 AM, gkoger at mindspring.com wrote:

> I've enjoyed the responses to David's post, but in my case my silence simply means that I'm busy and haven't had much to say. There are a couple of items about Norman Douglas and Patrick Leigh Fermor that I'll pass on as soon as I can put a few coherent paragraphs together, but in the meantime I'll second Ken's positive comment about The Greek Islands. And for those who haven't read Tunc and Nunquam, get busy! They're the most consistently underrated of Durrell's novels and deserve more attention. I'm not qualified to undertake a chapter-by-chapter analysis of them, but perhaps someone else could this summer. I especially recommend the early chapter in Tunc describing Caradoc's drunken speech in front of the Parthenon. Grove
> -----Original Message----- 
> From: Ken Gammage 
> Sent: Jan 25, 2011 5:29 PM 
> To: Denise Tart & David Green , "ilds at lists.uvic.ca" 
> Subject: Re: [ilds] What has happened to the ilds list 
> Very good David. A provocative post that should wake up the listserv! However, I’m not sure how well your example supports your argument. Rony sent a second post about Otto Rank that resulted in detailed and I’m sure very helpful responses from Charles Sligh and James Gifford. I have been a flagrant lurker for the past several years, enjoying the insightful and often beautiful writing by many thoughtful posters about Durrell, often responding directly and privately to the poster without necessarily having the courage to publicly offer my own sometimes contrary opinions (e.g. pro-The Greek Islands, where others find this coffee table book motivated strictly by lucre.)
> You see – that’s why I seldom post. I can almost sense the artillery cranking into place, preparing a fusillade of disparagement at my poor taste in Island books! (I still like Prospero the best.) Please see my kind words about Durrell on the last page of my Italy website: www.travelogorrhea.com
> Viva Durrell!
> Kennedy Gammage
> ken.gammage at directed.com
> From: ilds-bounces at lists.uvic.ca [mailto:ilds-bounces at lists.uvic.ca] On Behalf Of Denise Tart & David Green
> Sent: Tuesday, January 25, 2011 3:30 PM
> Subject: [ilds] What has happened to the ilds list
> It has come to my notice and the notice of one or two other contributors to this list that things have gone rather quiet in Durrell land over the last few weeks, months even, leaving me to ponder whatever happened to the lively debates and discussions of Durrell and his works?
> There seems to be no interest in keeping any kind of serious discussion going.  Some large and well researched postings by me and some others, intended to stimulate discussion have disappeared without a trace. The general run of recent postings, few and far between, appear restricted to scholarly minutia or references to academic journals.
> There was almost no response to young Israeli student, Rony Alfandary,  who appeared to be seeking some encouragement so that she can do her bit to promote LD in the world of scholarship.  Unless some communication occurred off line, Bruce Redwine was the only member to publicly respond.
> Has there been a shift in policy re the ILDS List-Serve. Is it no longer a forum for discussion, since that can lead to controversy about M. Durrell's reputation?   Currently there appears to be an aloofness on the part of certain contributors and a disinterest in endorsing anything substantive. Is the List now a place for the cognoscenti to say nice things to one another or merely to refer to items of Durrell scholarship, worthy as these things is in their own right?
> Where are all the so called lurkers? Where are all the people who used to pitch in have a say? Is the horse suffering from a terminal illness or is it just tired and resting up, unwilling at the moment to enter the forum of fiery debate about the life and works of the Hero of Kalamni, Bellapaix, Alexandria etc etc?
> Whatever happened to the spirit of L. Pursewarden, who wrote, "Protestant purely in the sense that I protest!"
> Yours, somewhat puzzled,
> David Green
> 16 William Street
> Marrickville NSW 2204
> Australia
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