[ilds] Encyclopaedia Britannica 11th & 14th

James Gifford james.d.gifford at gmail.com
Fri Jan 28 14:50:12 PST 2011


Hi Bruce,

Peter Kropotkin wrote the "Anarchism" entry to the 11th edition in 1905 
(Wilde even quotes Kropotkin, without reference, in "The Soul of Man 
Under Socialism").

As I understand it, the 14th edition (which Durrell had on Corfu) was 
largely a reversion to the 11th edition that added new entries and made 
cuts to existing entries.  If you have access, I'd appreciate it!!  I 
can get it online through my library, but it doesn't allow the 
comparison between past editions.

I believe the DSC Library has the 14th edition on its shelves too.

Thanks!
James

On 28/01/11 2:38 PM, Bruce Redwine wrote:
> 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
>> <mailto: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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