[ilds] Revolt of Aphrodite

James Gifford james.d.gifford at gmail.com
Fri Jan 28 12:10:33 PST 2011

I agree that /Revolt/ is much overlooked, and I see it as remarkably 
contemporary today.  As for scoffing at Durrell's "middlebrow" works, 
there's been a steady stream of critical work done -- I don't think any 
of the academics scoff.  Instead, I think they're often just more 
difficult to get (they've been in & out of print and often appeared 
first through small presses rather than Faber), and they haven't had the 
same spotlight as his major books.

As for filthy lucre, I could see that for /White Eagles/ (though still 
an interesting work), but /Cefalu/ first appeared through the Poetry 
London imprint, which certainly wouldn't have earned Durrell a great 
deal, especially with Tambimuttu at the helm...

Jan Morris had high praise for /Sicilian Carousel/ as well:

Morris, Jan. "Durrell - on a Tourist Bus?" /Encounter/ 49.3 (September 
1977): 77-79.

The discussion of art in /Cefalu/ is fascinating as well, at least as a 
revelation of Durrell's interests and readings.


On 27/01/11 10:47 AM, Bruce Redwine wrote:
> 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."
> Bruce
> On Jan 27, 2011, at 6:57 AM, gkoger at mindspring.com
> <mailto: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
>>     <mailto: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
>>     <http://www.travelogorrhea.com>
>>     Viva Durrell!
>>     Kennedy Gammage
>>     ken.gammage at directed.com <mailto:ken.gammage at directed.com>
>>     *From:*ilds-bounces at lists.uvic.ca
>>     <mailto: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
>>     <mailto:DURRELL at LISTSERV.CC.UCF.EDU>
>>     *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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