[ilds] the purse

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Sat Jan 29 17:31:17 PST 2011

Since this List is in danger of becoming a locker-room full of jock-talk, I shall put on my Dolly Varden hat and speak in the voice of the Wife of Bath, with only casual reference to any bele chose.

1.  Lawrence G. Durrell was a sexist of the highest order.  He was married four times and had innumerable mistresses — all of whom he battered or treated badly.

2.  He was such a wife-beater that even the King of Sexists, Henry Miller, called him on the carpet for behavior that cast disrepute on his own brand of sexism.  Afterwards M. Durrell took revenge by cockolding his best friend.  Typical male chauvinism — showing contempt by doing the contemptible with and on what men think contemptible.  The good feminist Anaïs Nin confirms M. Durrell's early misogyny in her diaries.

3.  It does no good to say that the dirty talk males like to indulge in, joking around about male nether organs and the like, has no bearing on sexism.  It certainly does, because it all stems from the same base urge — to attack women, to dehumanize them, and then to turn them into sexual playthings for their own perverse pleasures.  Look at that rubber woman in that novel about an adulterous wife and then look at the plasticine doll-woman in that Caesar book (so typical that M. Durrell would choose that Roman general who was just another sexist who kept his wife all cooped up while he himself played around with that Egyptian prostitute).  What kind of bele chose are we supposed to imagine they had?  We women are supposed to find all that funny?  What more evidence do you need to condemn the sick mind of that dirty old man?

Mrs. Bath

On Jan 29, 2011, at 12:09 PM, James Gifford wrote:

> 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.
> Best,
> James
> 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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