[ilds] Pastoral Literature

Denise Tart & David Green dtart at bigpond.net.au
Fri Mar 4 14:44:52 PST 2011

R.W was onto something and it's a pity he's gone quiet. 

And yes I am pleased you mentioned the Bard of Avon himself, The Tempest being an obvious inspiration for Prospero's Cell, but we can also see the As You Like It concept alive and well in the olive groves and woodlands of Corfu with self exiled Count D and his little court of poets and philosophers pondering the infinite by moonlight as docile rustics, often persons of wisdom themselves, inhabit the surrounding landscape - a idyllic landscape where flies and mosquitoes are not mentioned (except by the cynical count - thinking of Jacques here) and slow rhythm of the seasons goes on like the pulse of life itself. And do I like, you bet I do! I'd say if anything, it was the poetry of the Elizabethans that seeped into Larry the most.


From: Bruce Redwine 
Sent: Saturday, March 05, 2011 9:22 AM
To: Denise Tart & David Green ; Durrell list 
Cc: Bruce Redwine 
Subject: Re: Pastoral Literature


Yes to all your points.  The Renaissance was the great period of pastoral in English literature:  Spenser, Sidney, Shakespeare, Milton, Marvell.  That fact seems overlooked when discussing Durrell's fascination with the Elizabethans, where the rambunctiousness of the period gets emphasized.  Pastoral is just the opposite.  When you think of it, when you look at Durrell in his 1960 photos at Mazet Michel, doesn't he looked like a rustic in his workman's shirt and jeans with turned-up cuffs?  He even has a guitar in place of a panpipe.  Not a put-on, I think.  R. W. is onto something.


On Mar 4, 2011, at 1:48 PM, Denise Tart & David Green wrote:

  Bruce, I like the idea of the island books being a kind of modern pastoral. I can see it: the poet and his friend amidst a rustic background discussing the great issues (Prospero's Cell particularly) and the philosophical peasants in place of the shepherds - 'where the shepherd is the artist and the goats make music with the wind' to quote RW Hedges. certainly a fair number of Larry's beloved Elizabethans wrote pastorals and this could have influenced him very much. Perhaps this explains the timeless unreality of Prospero's Cell - indeed much of Durrell's writing. To be honest the man is his own genre.

  David White - Burgundy

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