[ilds] Pastoral Literature

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Sun Mar 6 10:41:26 PST 2011


James,

I think you're right about the impossibility of escape into some rural environment -- to "heal" himself, as Darley puts it.  The "city" will always follow you -- to use Cavafy's dictum.  I'd add this about Durrell's use of the convention, namely, it's just that, a convention, which he uses, as Milton does in "Lycidas."  The landscapes and situations are largely invented, which is how I'd describe Durrell's Corfu and Sicily.  The true pastoral resides in his imagination.  That's his otium/opium.


Bruce



Sent from my iPhone

On Mar 6, 2011, at 9:11 AM, James Gifford <james.d.gifford at gmail.com> wrote:

> I almost think this is the point -- one isn't supposed to come back to 
> the city...  I've always like the tension in the epigrams to Justine 
> between "talk" and "desire," one leading to the island to writing and 
> the other to the noose.  I think that plays out across the Quartet as a 
> whole as well: the island is the place of writing (talk) and 
> subjectivity while the city is the place where subjectivity is lost and 
> everyone becomes the object of the city's will or their own desires.
> 
> Is the same thing happening in /The Black Book/, /Panic Spring/, 
> /Cefalu/, /Monsieur/, and so forth?  I have a hunch it is.  We get the 
> same thing with time as well -- the island has rural time measured in 
> cycles or cigarettes while the city is on a teleological path to war, 
> like in the opening scenes of /Clea/.
> 
> I think he's fairly clear in using the Classical sources for the idea, 
> but there's no return to the city or to city man that can go well.  The 
> life of the village seems more creative with the city as a burst of 
> libidinal energy best enjoyed but not lived in.
> 
> Best,
> James
> 
> On 06/03/11 8:04 AM, Bruce Redwine wrote:
>> Yes. And how does Lawrence Durrell use the Classical/Renaissance
>> convention of pastoral? How does he rework it? What's new about his
>> usage? He goes to his various islands and retreats, real and fictional,
>> in search of otium, but he does not come back "cured and happy."
>> 
>> 
>> Bruce
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> On Mar 5, 2011, at 12:53 PM, William Godshalk wrote:
>> 
>>> Yes, and in the Renaissance, the pastoral world is in contrast to the
>>> urban world. Characters from the city or the court go into the
>>> pastoral world to seek and to find redemption, love, otium. It's a
>>> world of artistic development. After finding what they were looking
>>> for, they can go back to the city or court -- cured and happy.
>>> 
>>> Consider Shakespeare's /As You Like It /with its forest of Arden.
>>> 
>>> On Fri, Mar 4, 2011 at 4:48 PM, Denise Tart & David Green
>>> <dtart at bigpond.net.au <mailto:dtart at bigpond.net.au>> 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
>>>    16 William Street
>>>    Marrickville NSW 2204
>>>    Terra Australis Incognito
>>>    + 61 2 9564 6165
>>>    0412 707 625
>>>    www.denisetart.com.au <http://www.denisetart.com.au/>
>>> 
>>>    _______________________________________________
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> --
>>> W. L. Godshalk *
>>> Department of English * * *
>>> University of Cincinnati * stellar disorder *
>>> OH 45221-0069 * * *
>>> godshawl at ucmail.uc.edu <mailto:godshawl at ucmail.uc.edu>
>>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
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