[ilds] Why no "Collected Stories"?

William Godshalk william.godshalk at gmail.com
Sat Feb 12 14:09:03 PST 2011


Charles mentions in passing a certain cucumber. I reckon this is a vague
reference to the Durrellian cucumber. Well, maybe not that vague.

Bill

On Sat, Feb 12, 2011 at 8:22 AM, Bruce Redwine
<bredwine1968 at earthlink.net>wrote:

> Ken,
>
> Important questions.  My guess is that Durrell wrote the short pieces to
> make money.  Those he claimed to turn out quickly and without much thought.
>  His real energy went into poetry and the major fiction, which took time and
> research.  His travel literature probably falls into the former category,
> roughly.  This begs the question why he didn't treat seriously short
> fiction, as some authors do (here I'm thinking of William Trevor in
> particular).  Again, I'm guessing, but poetry and big prose seem to have
> satisfied different psychological needs.  I'd argue he used poetry as some
> kind of catharsis, a way to work through personal problems, exposed them,
> but at the same time keep them secret (hence the cryptic nature of the
> poetry).  The major fiction, on the other hand, satisfied, in part, his
> literary ambitions to turn out works of "size," i.e., to develop his own
> philosophy, mythology, world, *Weltanshauung* — whatever you want to call
> it.
>
>
> Bruce
>
>
>
> On Feb 11, 2011, at 4:18 PM, Ken Gammage wrote:
>
> I really enjoyed Durrell's pieces from Holiday magazine collected in Spirit
> of Place. Wondering about the short stories (like "Judith," the source
> material for the 1966 movie.) Did Durrell not write many stories, or is
> there a more interesting explanation?
>
> -- Ken
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: ilds-bounces at lists.uvic.ca [mailto:ilds-bounces at lists.uvic.ca] On
> Behalf Of Marc Piel
> Sent: Friday, February 11, 2011 3:01 PM
> To: Charles-Sligh at utc.edu; ilds at lists.uvic.ca
> Subject: Re: [ilds] White Eagles Over Serbia
>
> 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
>
> ********************************************
>
>
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> ILDS mailing list
> ILDS at lists.uvic.ca
> https://lists.uvic.ca/mailman/listinfo/ilds
>
>
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://lists.uvic.ca/pipermail/ilds/attachments/20110212/b2191f38/attachment.html 


More information about the ILDS mailing list