[ilds] Durrell and Joyce

James Gifford james.d.gifford at gmail.com
Sun Feb 13 09:33:19 PST 2011

Hello David,

> There is to me always a dreamlike quality to LDs
> writing. it's real but not real.

Nicely put.  I would, however, say it's "Real" not "Unreal," which is 
not to mistake "Real" for veracity.  Durrell's "Real City" contrasts 
with Eliot's "Unreal City," in my reading.  Durrell didn't photograph 
like Joyce either, because he came after Joyce and had to grapple with 
'im, and Wilde too for that matter..

> Charles, the copy in Time Life mag that came
> with the photos had these interesting words:
> 'as for the setting of the book, the city of Alexandria, it is described
> in such rich and fantastic detail that most readers are convinced it is
> the actual city in Egypt rather than a splendiferous creation of the
> author's mind.'

Durrell was fairly consistent in interviews that he used Einstein 
metaphorically and for utility, and that this was not an "accurate" 
presentation of his "Real" (not Unreal) city.  He plays the usual games 
with interviewers and flavours the salad mix with mumbo jumbo, but 
reading across the interviews, I think it's clear he didn't intend his 
book to be a travel guide, nor for that matter were his travel guides 
meant to be travel guides...

Nice attention, David.


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