[ilds] Possible Connection?

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Mon Feb 28 17:35:23 PST 2011


Okay.  Miller refers to Blavatsky's The Secret Doctrine (1888) in his The Books of My Life (1969).  "Overdetermined," in my opinion, does not mean unknowable and indeterminate, if that is your meaning.  He was certainly drawn to the occult, but Buddhism is not such.  I see a method to his madness, if you will.


Bruce



On Feb 28, 2011, at 5:11 PM, William Godshalk wrote:

> I use "overdetermined" to mean that Durrell has an overabundance of reasons to feel as he feels -- including Blavatsky's The Voice of the Silence -- if that's the tract to which you refer. Durrell seems to have been drawn to the occult in all its facets. 
> 
> On Mon, Feb 28, 2011 at 4:49 PM, Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net> wrote:
> Overdetermined?  Sounds Freudian.  Possibly.  I'd stick to the Buddhist paradigm, though, where death is passage, reincarnation.  I might even say Durrell, in literature, has reincarnated his dead father as Mountolive, Sr., as a Buddhist scholar. A nice example of filial piety.  Madras, by the way, was the HQ for Theosophy, a religion or philosophy Durrell knew something about from Miller, as evidenced in their letters.  Miller lists Blavatsky's tract as one of his 100 great books.
> 
> Bruce
> 
> Sent from my iPhone
> 
> On Feb 28, 2011, at 1:13 PM, William Godshalk <william.godshalk at gmail.com> wrote:
> 
>> I wonder if Durrell's interest in the trauma of birth -- a monumental separation and abandonment -- is part of these other rejections -- death being the irrevocable one. His feelings of loss and regret are overdetermined. 
>> 
>> Bill 
>> 
>> On Mon, Feb 28, 2011 at 12:56 PM, Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net> wrote:
>> Agreed.  The basic motive is autobiographical, i.e., the lost father in India.  How LGD chose to depict that fact, however, seems based on other factors.  For one, Mountolive, Sr. is alive, not dead and buried in India.  For another, he's not a pedestrian engineer/businessman but turns into an esoteric scholar living in a "Buddhist lodge near Madras." The latter is a little like Fermor's father working for the Raj and pursing various hobbies as an Edwardian naturalist. The Buddhist connection needs no explanation.  Why Durrell chose Madras may be because some Pali texts were published in that city of southeast India, a fact Durrell could have picked up during research in Theosophy and Theravada Buddhism, assuming he did such.  Pali, as I said before, is most closely associated with Ceylon/Sri Lanka, not far from Madras.
>> 
>> 
>> Bruce
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> On Feb 27, 2011, at 8:39 PM, Rony Alfandary wrote:
>> 
>> > hi, Sound like  a very plausible interpretation. i can only add that I would suspect that Durrell's decision to portray Mountolive a an abandoned child is based upon his own experience, having been "abandoned" twice (at least) by his father - once when being sent to England and the second time when his father died.
>> > Rony
>> 
>> 
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>> -- 
>> W. L. Godshalk                 *
>> Department of English *           *      *
>> University of Cincinnati    *     stellar disorder *
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>> godshawl at ucmail.uc.edu  
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> W. L. Godshalk                 *
> Department of English *           *      *
> University of Cincinnati    *     stellar disorder *
> OH 45221-0069     *               *          *
> godshawl at ucmail.uc.edu  
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