[ilds] Literary English Death

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Wed Feb 2 10:16:26 PST 2011


James,

Yes.  Several good points.  But, as I said before, Durrell is obsessed with a limited number of issues, which he reworks throughout his oeuvre in various ways, always trying to be "novel," fresh.  So it's possible to look at his fiction as one continuous chain:  "I return link by link along the iron chains of memory" (Justine, AQ, 17).  Again and again.  Re The Black Book and Justine, Michael Haag has already made the connection between the two openings:  the former's "agon" and the latter's "again."  Maybe a deliberate pun, maybe not, maybe something too deep for him to be aware of.  I haven't read the first two novels — but should.  And I haven't heard this take on the Surrealists being rejected by the High Moderns and "the Auden Generation."  Interesting.  A very big subject.  I'd like to learn more, but you're probably talking about a book you're working on.


Bruce




On Feb 2, 2011, at 9:33 AM, James Gifford wrote:

> On 02/02/11 7:03 AM, Bruce Redwine wrote:
>> but Durrell chooses not to bring in the context
>> of his Indian background and the trauma of
>> being wrenched from it
> 
> I think this is, in part, because he'd already done this quite 
> explicitly in /Pied Piper of Lovers/.  If you've not already read it, 
> Bruce, for your manner of reading I think you'd find it fascinating.
> 
>> as he later says, he asks his reader to
>> "recognize [the book] for what it is: a
>> two-fisted attack on  literature by an
>> angry young man of the thirties."
> 
> In other words, a rebuttal to his predecessors and a 20 year head start 
> on the Angry Young Men...  Again, we're back to that literary context -- 
> is it coincidental that works like /The Black Book/ and Beckett's 
> /Murphy/ appear in the same year but were written in the same moment as 
> Gascoyne's /Opening Day/?  This was the same moment that English 
> Surrealism "failed" to develop when the High Modernists (Eliot, Joyce, 
> Woolf) didn't endorse it and the new Generation around Auden didn't take 
> it up.  Yet, there was a generation doing something with it...  And they 
> were scattered by the war before they developed it -- I see /The Black 
> Book/ and the English Death in that moment.
> 
> Cheers,
> James

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