[ilds] lively english

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Tue Feb 1 10:28:05 PST 2011


David and James make more sense than Durrell does.  My thanks to both of you.


Bruce



On Feb 1, 2011, at 12:13 AM, James Gifford wrote:

>> Perhaps the English Death is less cultural and more literary
>> than we think. Larry ranted against the British literary scene
>> in 1930s because he saw it as mundane, proletarian even.
>> English Death may refer to the death of decent English Lit
>> is his eyes - Douglas, Wilde others...silver age prose... and
>> because they did not buy the budding writers style at the time.
> 
> To my mind, *this* is certainly the real meat of the matter.  Surely,
> Durrell did have feelings about the English reserve or it's difference
> from his Indian childhood and Mediterranean 20s (and after...).  Those
> are all outlined fairly clearly in his prose.  Yet, the English scene
> in his first 3 novels is rife with sexuality, venereal disease,
> drinking, and a luxuriousness with art I think he associated with the
> Elizabethans.  He even describes being tempted by such a scene with
> Alan Thomas appearing as the devil tempting Christ.  The prudery
> generalized to England certainly isn't the whole story.
> 
> Yet, the English Death persisted, and in many respects, I think it's a
> way of marking his break from his literary predecessors and
> contemporaries.  In the Quartet, Cavafy displaces Eliot.  In /Panic
> Spring/, he draws from the High Modernists without barely a sideways
> glance at Auden (whom he later comments on quite highly).  In /The
> Black Book/, there's a good deal of literary ancestry being rooted
> through in the family tree.  To my mind, that's where the provocative
> reading will emerge -- the spiritual torpor works well enough, but how
> much can really be said of it?  Durrell was part of a generation that
> was bumped out by the High Modernists and the Auden Generation, and I
> think that tension would have been clear in the mid 1930s.
> 
> Nice observation, David.
> 
> Cheers,
> James



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