[ilds] White Eagles Over Serbia

Marc Piel marcpiel at interdesign.fr
Fri Feb 11 15:01:16 PST 2011


Very well spoken Charles.
I would just like to point out to Richard Pine 
that "Judith" was actually published in English 
and in French not to mention the film.
B.R. Marc

Le 11/02/11 19:38, Charles Sligh a écrit :
>   On 2/11/11 11:24 AM, Richard Pine wrote:
>
>>         The reason why 'White Eagles' or, for that matter, 'Dark
>>         Labyrinth', 'Pope Joan', 'Antrobus', 'Judith' (altho the
>>         latter hasn't yet been published, but is discussed in my
>>         'Mindscape') etc etc, don't come up for serious discussion is,
>>         I think, due a reluctance on the part of 'Durrellians' to
>>         acknowledge that there was a LD and a 'Charles Norden', the
>>         latter of whom H Miller shamed LD into discarding as a
>>         nom-de-plume for his 'minor mythologies' - the second-string
>>         potboilers, 'makeweights', etc. that came in between the major
>>         works.
>
> I think that this point chimes with what I was trying to say about
> Durrell's eclectic output creating eclectic audiences, Richard.
>
> Publishers prefer to market authors in reasonably discrete categories or
> pigeonholes. Whether they admit it or not, literary historians and
> critics tend to work in something of the same way. As Walter Pater told
> his students, "our failure is to form habits," stereotyping the world so
> we can no longer discriminate the rarities right in front of our eyes.
>
> When T. S. Eliot encouraged Durrell to determine once and for all
> whether he was a "poet" or a "novelist," he was thinking in terms of a
> conscientious editor and in terms of the received 'wisdom' among poets
> -- i.e., that spending energy in too many forms and genres would lead a
> young writer to dissolution of poetic energy. That advice may seem
> quaint and moralizing in retrospect, ringing weirdly like Goethe's idea
> of the writer saving, not spending, the fund of his creative seed.
> Miller's late 1930s attempt to discipline Durrell to focus on "Lawrence
> Durrell" rather than the "schizophrenic" Durrell/Norden may be similar.
>
> /Contra/ TSE and HM, I think that we are extremely fortunate that
> Lawrence Durrell followed his own tack, either by inclination or
> necessity. In terms of genre and style, Durrell's writings are decidedly
> eclectic, defying the stereotypical, disciplining efforts of mentors,
> mass marketers, and historians. When it comes to "labeling" and
> "categorizing," the works of Joyce and Woolf and Faulkner and
> _______(fill in the blank here with the name of most any other canonical
> writer of the 20th Century) ______ give us the appearance of known,
> comfortable, containable quantities.
>
> Indeed, in terms of scope, genre, and diversity, the storyline of James
> Joyce's body of published works looks conceptually simple when set on
> the shelf next to the storyline of Lawrence Durrell's body of published
> works. And that is an important point. The narrative of Joyce's career
> -- running from /Dubliners/ to /A Portrait of the Artist as a Young
> Man///, /Ulysses/, and /Finnegans Wake/ -- did in fact become the
> template for evaluating and narrating the careers of subsequent
> ambitious writers of the 20th Century. (Never mind the fact that
> /Chamber Music/, /Exiles/, &c. tend to be smoothed out as intermediary
> or aberrations.) Cf. the silly post-1952 questions about why Ellison was
> unable to follow up on /Invisible Man/. As if any follow-up was
> necessary, artistically or morally! Critics are most intolerant of
> differently-shaped careers or eclecticism.
>
> I would leave it to be tested by others whether or not this idea of
> eclecticism holds true in any significant way for the fuller span of
> Durrell's published works. But I suspect that it does hold true. And I
> would go further, suggesting that this broad eclecticism of genre and
> form across the published works might have a corollary in terms of the
> characteristic details that we find /within/ each of the particular
> works//. For example, consider the eclecticism and heterogeneity of
> prose style, narrative form, and generic mode that we find within
> /Prospero's Cell/ or /The Alexandria Quartet/. What an abundance we find
> packed away within each of those!
>
> To the best of my ability, I try to be humble and accept the writings of
> Lawrence Durrell on their own terms. I can certainly see their strong
> differences from the more disciplined, selective output of, say, the
> writings of James Joyce. And I think that those peculiar differences may
> be essential to an understanding of what Durrell achieves, the
> particular pleasures that his writing offers to us. But I certainly do
> not think that Durrell is in any way "off-track," or somehow "lacking,"
> just because he does not fit in with the vagaries of the book publishing
> world or some absurdly projected template of "the standard career of the
> Modernist" &c.
>
> Like Swift's Projectors in the Academy, the Fault rests with us, not
> with the Cucumber from which we attempt to extract Sunbeams.
>
> C&c.
>
> --
> ********************************************
> Charles L. Sligh
> Assistant Professor
> Department of English
> University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
> charles-sligh at utc.edu
> ********************************************
>
>
>
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