[ilds] the purse

James Gifford james.d.gifford at gmail.com
Sat Jan 29 12:09:37 PST 2011

Well, the OED aligns "purse" with male genitals, so I don't think it's 
misogynistic, though there's a line of misogyny in Durrell's works (a 
line that runs in parallel to other diverse or even contradictory 
lines).  As for male infantile behavior, it's certainly a component -- 
LD's notebooks are full of such jokes (the "tunc" wordplay in /Revolt/, 
etc.).   I think there's a fine distinction between recognizing the joke 
and making it though...

We do, however, have a relatively low number of contributions from 
female listmembers (of whom there are many), so I wonder if a discomfort 
exists.  The Woolf and HD lists certainly have a preponderance of female 
contributions.  Certainly a large number of the critical articles on 
Durrell are written by women, so it seems plausible women are made to 
feel less comfortable on the listserv, which I would hope we could 
change if it's the case!

Comments?  Suggestions?  On list or off, both are welcome.


On 29/01/11 11:28 AM, Bruce Redwine wrote:
> Congratulations!  RP did provide, I believe, an interesting etymology
> for Cunegonde, not of the "Candide" variety.  So at least three of us
> have dirty minds.  Durrell does encourage this kind of research.  I
> wonder if the women on this List would consider that misogyny or
> would dismiss it as male infantile behavior.
> BR
> Sent from my iPhone
> On Jan 29, 2011, at 10:27 AM, James
> Gifford<james.d.gifford at gmail.com>  wrote:
>> On 29/01/11 8:37 AM, Bruce Redwine wrote:
>>> I would swear that it was. So much for memory.
>>>> On Jan 29, 2011, at 12:03 AM, Richard Pine wrote:
>>>> Wasn't me! RP
>>>>> On 28/01/11 11:20:13 AM, Bruce Redwine wrote:
>>>>> *Pursewarden.*Sometime ago, R. Pine, I believe, pointed out
>>>>> that Ludwig's surname was a pun or allusion to the scrotum.
>>>>> Or maybe I just have a dirty mind. Bill Godshalk can confirm
>>>>> this
>> Alas, looking back at the listserv's records, I find that *I* said
>> it: Fri, 9 Jul 2003 17:08:36 -0400.  AJ French chimed in on this
>> point as well, and Bruce showed much interest.  My goodness we've
>> been after those purse strings for a long time!
>> Still, "purse" was used by Elizabethans in this form, as Bill
>> noted, and it appears in the OED with this association.  I'm
>> intrigued to note that the word "purse" occurs repeatedly in
>> relation to the mouth in /Pied Piper/ and /Panic Spring/ (and no,
>> not just pursing one's lips).  I wonder if a collocation would turn
>> up interesting patterns in this regard across Durrell's works over
>> time.
>> Cheers, James

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