[ilds] Forster on Durrell

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Mon May 16 11:16:02 PDT 2011


The source is an old friend — Classical archaeologist, art historian, and graduate of Cambridge.  I can give his name, but only after asking his permission.  As I quoted him saying, Forster eventually went "gaga," so take that for what it's worth.  Forster definitely had his problems, mainly personal, which Michael Haag describes extremely well in City of Memory.  Forster's critical acumen is another matter and not so suspect.  On the other hand, D. J. Enright was a formidable fellow — poet, novelist, teacher, critic, translator of Proust — and not easily dismissed.  I agree with you that the "Cambridge School of Literature," if such, was not receptive to Durrell's creative genius.  Any assessment of Lawrence Durrell, however, has to take in the good and the bad and account for both, preferably in one comprehensive theory.


On May 16, 2011, at 10:42 AM, Charles Sligh wrote:

> On 5/16/11 12:29 PM, Bruce Redwine wrote:
>> The old man then unleashed a number of unkind words about Durrell.  The gist of the tirade was that Forster thought Durrell a sloppy writer and guilty of deplorable Romanticism in his depiction of Alexandria[. . . .]
> Interesting piece of apocrypha, Bruce.  Let us know if you can pin down the source.
> I am afraid that the anecdote does little credit to Forster.  That old fellow comes off sounding like one hell of a Dowager Empress, a virtuous realist who outlived her epoch and crawled off to rest her bunions in the shelter of an exclusive and retrograde University Club.  
> The Cambridge school definitely held an opinion and passed it on.  "Oh, Durrell.  No, no, no, my dear Charles, one simply does not do Durrell."  (Cluck, cluck, dearest chuck.)  Date stamp that one 1997, Charlottesville, Virginia, 3 floor, Bryan Hall.  But either Enright or Eagleton might have as easily tendered such a prissy dismissal.  
> In our better moments, we should be patient with these sorts of limits.  Forster did better at one time.  He can be remembered for that.
> Charles
> -- 
> ********************************************
> Charles L. Sligh
> Assistant Professor
> Department of English
> University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
> charles-sligh at utc.edu
> ********************************************

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