[ilds] The Dark Labyrinth

Richard Pine rpinecorfu at yahoo.com
Fri May 6 00:33:55 PDT 2011

What I mean is, I think, self-evident: that one should come to a reading of DL, 
or for that matter any original text, without baggage. Read the book for what it 
is, not for what you think it might be. RP

From: Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net>
To: Charles-Sligh at utc.edu; ilds at lists.uvic.ca
Cc: Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net>
Sent: Fri, May 6, 2011 12:03:49 AM
Subject: Re: [ilds] The Dark Labyrinth


All along I have been saying The Dark Labyrinth is a remarkable work and 
deserving full recognition of its accomplishment.  I am not willing, however, to 
take Richard Pine's injunction and to stop "extra-textual considerations."  Pine 
should step forward and explain exactly what he means.


On May 5, 2011, at 1:35 PM, Charles Sligh wrote:

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, 

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 address.  


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