[ilds] The Dark Labyrinth

Charles Sligh Charles-Sligh at utc.edu
Thu May 5 13:35:30 PDT 2011

On 5/5/11 1:23 PM, Bruce Redwine wrote:

>         "Free of jargon, free of extra-textual considerations, free of
>         critical prejudice" — now what does all that sound and fury
>         mean?  I guess it means that all discussion should end, and we
>         should all sit around the campfire and sing the praises of LGD
>         and say how much we enjoy everything he writes.  Not much of a
>         critical discussion, in my opinion.

I will let Richard speak for Richard, Bruce.

Richard, Meta, and Laura are all advocates for /The Dark Labyrinth/.  If 
I understand your previous notes, Bruce -- and it is possible that I 
have not understood them at all -- I think that you are also an advocate 
for /The Dark Labyrinth/.  Good enough.

When I read his note, I thought that Richard was making an observation 
about the peculiar fashions and politics that have made critics 
dismissive of certain works -- or, in certain cases I could cite, /all/ 
works -- by Lawrence Durrell.  Richard disagrees with such terms.  They 
frame the discussion in such a way as to exclude a writer or a work that 
does not fit arbitrary measures, and they often labor to ulterior 
purposes, political or moral ends resting somewhere beyond the writer or 
work at hand.

I think that I might be somewhere close to Richard on this point.  That 
is, within my admittedly subjective limits of attention, understanding, 
and enthusiasm, I try to give myself over to each literary work for its 
own sake, for the sake of experiencing its own particular, distinctive 
pleasures.  This liberty of the heart and mind brings me a keen 
enjoyment.  (I fancy that Lawrence Durrell taught me how -- my thanks!)  
It also is an education in humility, reminding me that I must learn so 
very very much on this short day of frost and sun. . . .

Good luck to all of you with this reconsideration of an overlooked 
book.  Since facts do matter, I hope that someone who is interested in 
this topic will share specific quotes from critics who have written 
dismissively or disparagingly about /The Dark Labyrinth/.  I can't name 
a single one.  But then all of this is an education for me!  Remember, 
lack of critical attention is not, by itself, dismissive.  The limits of 
page allotments, the vagaries of publishers and editors, and an 
ignorance of unheralded virtue might just as easily explain the lack of 


Charles L. Sligh
Assistant Professor
Department of English
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
charles-sligh at utc.edu

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