[ilds] TSE & BB

Marc Piel marcpiel at interdesign.fr
Thu Feb 3 14:34:06 PST 2011

Hello Bruce,
If you are to make a comparison with Eliot's 
appreciation of the BB and your own, then you must 
put yourself in the same situatuation as Eliot was 
then...... Not easy to do, if you can...???
Impossible in my opinion. So I sustain Charles' 
opinions without any doubt.

Le 03/02/11 22:21, Bruce Redwine a écrit :
> Charles,
> Thanks for contextualizing T. S. Eliot's fulsome remarks on /The Black
> Book/ as the great "hope" of English fiction. That's helpful. Eliot was
> mentor to the young Durrell, and as such he was being "generous," as you
> say, to a writer of great promise. How generous Eliot was is indicated
> by the fact he doesn't apply his own critical standards, such as the
> "objective correlative" to Durrell's work. Green and Gifford have
> recently explained "the English death," a key theme in /BB,/ but they
> have done so by providing a context, "literary myth making," which
> exists outside of the book itself. Eliot's point about the "objective
> correlative" is that a literary work has to justify itself in terms of
> its own conditions. Shakespeare's /Hamlet/ fails because, in Eliot's
> mind, Hamlet's emotions are not justified by the conditions of the play,
> or as he says, "Hamlet (the man) is dominated by an emotion which is
> inexpressible, because it is in /excess/ of the facts as they appear."
> This is exactly my problem with Durrell's /Black Book./ The great
> /Angst/ of the novel doesn't have, for me anyway, an "objective
> correlative." It's just too nebulous in the way that the inchoate
> emotions of youth usually are. Undoubtedly what appealed to Eliot was
> Durrell's poetry and a fragmentary narrative which is in some ways
> similar to his own monumental /Waste Land./
> Bruce
> On Feb 3, 2011, at 9:56 AM, Charles Sligh wrote:
>> On 2/3/11 10:44 AM, gkoger at mindspring.com wrote:
>>>         I think that Eliot's opinion has certainly been borne out by
>>>         time, but as I mentioned in my last post, I really would like
>>>         to hear from others. Am I the only one on the list to think
>>>         that The Black Book is an exciting and remarkable achievement?
>> I would make an observation about how much context and chronology
>> matter for our appreciation of /The Black Book/ and TSE's evaluation.
>> That is, TSE read /The Black Book/ in a particular way and time and
>> place -- in May/June 1937, in a bound typescript delivered to his
>> Russell Square office, <http://www.faber.co.uk/archive/asset/122849/>
>> where day-in, day out he read through reams of hum-drum submissions.
>> I also note that TSE comments on LD's literary influences as fully
>> "digested." No matter how well-digested or under-cooked 21st century
>> gourmands find the dish, TSE, no less than HM, is in some sense
>> fashioning a literary lineage as he attends /The Black Book/.
>> TSE was also genuinely generous in many ways, a good mentor who
>> encouraged LD to follow his own instincts and artistic commitments in
>> publishing /The Back Book/. Faber could not publish the book uncut.
>> TSE advised LD to follow his own way for his own best ends. That is fair.
>> TSE also asked LD to consider whether he was a poet or a novelist.
>> Those two vocations may not necessarily be exclusive, but as an
>> observation TSE's question is incisive, reminding us about something
>> important regarding LD's style. Seen within that frame, /The Black
>> Book/ would be something striking and new and very much worth boosting.
>> On the other hand, I think that most everyone here on the list must
>> consider /The Black Book/ with LD's achievement in /The Alexandria
>> Quartet/ and the island books already in some way intervening. This
>> point is true, I think, even if the reader somehow read /The Black
>> Book/ first, then the /Quartet/. The publication of the /Quartet/, or
>> a reader's knowledge of the /Quartet/, cannot but influence the
>> conversation and process of evaluation.
>> My preference is for the /Quartet/, which has given me most pleasure.
>> But I try to honor each work on its own peculiar aesthetic merits. And
>> humility is necessary. The problems I find with /The Black Book/ may
>> in fact highlight much more about my own readerly limitations than
>> anything about the shortcomings of /The Black Book/ or young LD.
>> CLS
>> --
>> ********************************************
>> Charles L. Sligh
>> Assistant Professor
>> Department of English
>> University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
>> charles-sligh at utc.edu
>> ********************************************\
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