[ilds] Durrell and Heritage

Lee Sternthal lasternthal at gmail.com
Mon Feb 7 23:15:45 PST 2011


> Bruce,
> I think that there lies the clue - Durrell's presnence, or absence, from
> University courses. if Durrell is not taught, he is not sold, his
> books don't get reprints etc. and he slowly disappears, only to be found in
> 2nd bookshops. how is a young man of 2011 to stumble across the Quartet?'

Many are discovered through other contemporary writers and artists
talking about the influence of the "forgotten" writer's work on them
in interviews. I first discovered James Salter this way; I had never
heard of him, but had read many writers, including Susan Sontag (take
her or leave her) singing his praises as the great unknown American.
I have to say, I've read just about everything by him, and she was
right.

he
> (she) simply won't and therefore will turn to the books on the shelf.
> Similar thing has happened to Miller and to Cortazar.

Miller is still beloved by young lit bohemians.  Check university
bookshops and you'll find copies of Tropic of Cancer everywhere.
Miller's explicit combination of intellect, barbarism, art, and eros
seems to transcend generations.  Also, he's extraordinarily accessible
reading, if, at times, utterly unreadable.

i think it is no
> coincidence. i believe there is something quite upsetting (in
> a positive sense) in their work and therefore resists popularisation. i am
> not optimistic. see how great cultures have disappeared from the world,
> leaving no signs behind , only rumours (and mythologies).

I tend to like the rumors and mythologies.  This world needs some
mystery, and a healthy sub/counter culture is the mark of a healthy
culture.

I think LD's writing is very difficult for our media saturated age.  I
actually find more people reading then ever, which is wonderful, but
it's more people reading more bad writing than ever too, which is not
so wonderful.  The poetics of Durrell's language and the "exotic"
subject matter are lost upon most.

But have faith, if "Revolutionary Road" can somehow be made into
movie, the "AQ" could one day see the light.



On Mon, Feb 7, 2011 at 10:09 PM, Rony Alfandary <alfandary at gmail.com> wrote:
> Bruce,
> I think that there lies the clue - Durrell's presnence, or absence, from
> University courses. if Durrell is not taught, he is not sold, his
> books don't get reprints etc. and he slowly disappears, only to be found in
> 2nd bookshops. how is a young man of 2011 to stumble across the Quartet?'

many are discovered through other writers and artists

he
> (she) simply won't and therefore will turn to the books on the shelf.
> Similar thing has happened to Miller and to Cortazar. i think it is no
> coincidence. i believe there is something quite upsetting (in
> a positive sense) in their work and therefore resists popularisation. i am
> not optimistic. see how great cultures have disappeared from the world,
> leaving no signs behind , only rumours (and mythologies).
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