[ilds] Pastoral Literature

Denise Tart & David Green dtart at bigpond.net.au
Sun Mar 6 12:11:38 PST 2011

life of the village seems more creative with the city as a burst of
libidinal energy best enjoyed but not lived in.

Which explains James perhaps why Durrell became a villager in Provence, the 
place of writing, with the odd spree in the city; not a bad way to live - 
fact thinking about it for myself!


From: "James Gifford" <james.d.gifford at gmail.com>
Sent: Monday, March 07, 2011 4:11 AM
To: <ilds at lists.uvic.ca>
Subject: Re: [ilds] Pastoral Literature

> 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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