[ilds] What has happened to the ilds list

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Fri Jan 28 14:38:19 PST 2011


James,

Tell me which entry in the 11th ed. of EB, I'll check it for you.


Bruce



On Jan 28, 2011, at 1:21 PM, James Gifford wrote:

> On 27/01/11 6:57 AM, gkoger at mindspring.com wrote:
>> 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.
> 
> Do I sense another reading group coming on?  I'd enjoy that, and Tunc 
> and Nunquam have been favourites of mine.  Great suggestion, Grove! 
> Let's plan for it this summer.
> 
> I'm of the (perhaps heretical) opinion that these are more political 
> works than they let on, and that they show much about Durrell's 1930s 
> and 40s activities that can otherwise be overlooked.
> 
> Caradoc's speech is grand, but I'm always struck by the inexplicable 
> ending to /Nunquam/...  I can't help but think of Durrell's publications 
> in the anarchist press (NOW, New Road, Experimental Review, the New 
> Apocalypse books, and so forth) and the ease with which an 
> antiauthoritarian interpretation of his poetics can be made.  Add to 
> that mix the language of /Nunquam/'s last two pages 282-283 (law, 
> authority, command, contractual obligation, and the fall of the state):
> 
> "which satisfied the law."
> 
> "the prophecy of Zeno has been occupying me, preoccupying me very much. 
>  Indeed I now feel it less as a prophecy than as a sort of command, 
> from myself to myself"
> 
> "People will be afraid to take advantage of the fact that they have no 
> contractual obligations."
> 
> "we have been dancing, dancing in complete happiness and accord.... even 
> though Rome burns."
> 
> I may be just spotting things I'm looking for in other 1930s writers at 
> the moment (Duncan, Rexroth, Miller, Leite, Woodcock, and others who are 
> explicit about their anarchism and its influence on their style), but I 
> can't help but see /The Revolt of Aphrodite/ through a perspective that 
> asks about its implicit critique of corporatism and coercion in those 
> terms.  Certainly Durrell's vision isn't like Palahniuk's /Fight Club/, 
> but there's something kindred.  The state (Rome) falls, contracts end, 
> law is obscured, yet the folks are in peace and accord, relying instead 
> on their word and sociability.
> 
> The "Tunc aut Nunquam" moment is also cast in unusual terms for Durrell:
> 
> "Either everything will disintegrate, the Firm will begin to dissolve; 
> or else nothing, Mr. Felix, absolutely nothing."
> 
> The Zeno prophecy first appears on pages 231-2, and this Zeno is a Greek 
> clerk who has visions (his vision is of the novel's ending and the 
> destruction of coercion and obligation).  However, I can't help but take 
> the reference to Zeno (and can a Classicist on here correct me?! 
> Bruce?) as potentially a gesture to Kropotkin's entry in the 
> Encyclopaedia Britannics's 11th edition (same entry for Durrell's 14th 
> edition?  I know the 14th was based on the 11th edition):
> 
> "The best exponent of anarchist philosophy in ancient Greece was Zeno 
> [...] who distinctly opposed his conception of a free community without 
> government to the state-utopia of Plato. He repudiated the omnipotence 
> of the state, its intervention and regimentation, and proclaimed the 
> sovereignty of the moral law of the individual -- remarking already 
> that, while the necessary instinct of self-preservation leads man to 
> egotism, nature has supplied a corrective to it by providing man with 
> another instinct -- that of sociability. When men are reasonable enough 
> to follow their natural instincts, they will unite across the frontiers 
> and constitute the cosmos. They will have no need of law-courts or 
> police, will have no temples and no public worship, and use no money -- 
> free gifts taking the place of the exchanges."
> 
> I think Plutarch describes Zeno failing to kill the tyrant Demylus so 
> that "with his own teeth bit off his tongue, he spit it in the tyrant’s 
> face."
> 
> I'm retracing some poetic networks that ran contrary to the Auden 
> Generation, and most have an anarchist politics, so I may just have this 
> in my head at the moment.  Still, it seems like some anti-state or 
> antiauthoritarian sentiments (which isn't so far from Durrell's open 
> poetics) are present here.
> 
> At any rate, those are the things that have been occupying my mind 
> lately with /The Revolt of Aphrodite/...  What say y'all?
> 
> Best,
> James
> 

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