[ilds] ILDS Digest, Vol 47, Issue 6_Durrell's legacy and antecedents_Grove

Sumantra Nag sumantranag at gmail.com
Sun Feb 6 23:51:01 PST 2011


Grove,

Thank you for this interesting response. You have written about the writers 
before Durrell's AQ who seem to share a similar approach to their material 
are equally important.

I agree that Christopher Isherwoods "Goodbye to Berlin" (1939) bears a 
resemblance to Durrell's writing in the novels of The Alexandria Quartet. I 
seem to recall that at the beginning of the book Isherwood describes himself 
in the role of a camera recording his sensations and experiences. A lot of 
the AQ is "impressionistic" in the same manner. In "Goodbye to Berlin" 
Isherwood writes of a person below his flat giving out a low whistle as a 
signal of arrival. In "Justine" Darley describes the way Melissa signalled 
her arrival with a low whistle beneath his room.

One of the outstanding features of Durrell's AQ was the use of a prose which 
was exceptionally rich and therefore completely in contrast to other recent 
writing in England. The prose and material of the Beat Generation writers 
from America are very evocative of their environment but Durrell's prose 
seems to draw from an older English tradition of prose.

Best wishes

Sumantra
-------------------------------
Message: 2
Date: Sun, 6 Feb 2011 13:50:24 -0500 (EST)
From: gkoger at mindspring.com
Subject: Re: [ilds] Durrell's Heritage

I too have found the qualities Sumantra mentions in Berger's G and 
Cortazar's Hopscotch. Is the trilogy Drifting Cities (1960-65) by Tsirkas a 
possibility? I admit that I haven't been able to get very far into it, but 
perhaps someone else has. Durrell's influence on Fowles's The Magus is maybe 
more likely. How about Moorcock's Mother London?
>
> Durrell seems to stand at the end of a tradition, so I don't see any 
> descendants, but if we are simply looking for works that share something 
> of the "spell" or the quality of prose and the creation of atmosphere that 
> Sumantra mentions, I'd suggest Wilder's The Cabala (1926), Prokosch's The 
> Asiatics (1935) and The Seven Who Fled (1937), and Isherwood's Mr Norris 
> Changes Trains (1935) and Goodbye to Berlin (1939). This takes the 
> discussion a bit further afield, but I can't help thinking that all these 
> writers share a certain outlook and that maybe it tells us something about 
> Durrell himself.
>
> Grove




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