[ilds] private kingdoms

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Tue May 17 09:26:36 PDT 2011


Well said.  Your question prompted me to think about post-WWII literature.  Did it have a trend, the search for peace and tranquility?  Nothing leaped out at me.  Rather just the opposite — a lot of it was shell-shocked (much of European literature), and we Americans went into one of our war-novel crazes (Jones, Mailer, Shaw).  It seems Durrell and Miller were, once again, somewhat isolated and sought isolation (in theory, anyway).  Miller heads for Big Sur, and Durrell for Rhodes and later Cyprus.

There is something scary about "The Roof of the World," although I think Durrell handles the idyll very well.  It's always reminded me of Hilton's Lost Horizon (1933).  But Hilton fails to describe Shangri-La in an appealing and convincing way — what an insufferably boring place.  Godshalk mentioned otium (peace, repose), and Gifford commented on Durrell's use of the convention — that it's not an end in itself.  Which is true.  It's worthwhile to note that The Dark Labyrinth does not end at "The Roof of the World," rather in the real world with all its problems, unresolved and mystifying, of course.


On May 17, 2011, at 12:44 AM, Denise Tart & David Green wrote:

> I was thinking today about texts in context. It it easy to suggest that after the Depression, the rise of Fascism and the World War Two that artists would contemplate a world without such horrors - an idylic Rhodes, a rebirth of soul life on Crete after the Dark Labyrinth or war, the utopia of the Roof of the World or indeed the speculative calm of the monastery enjoyed by Baird, Graecen, Alexros?
> Durrell always sort islands of existence, actual or constructed not as a totality of experience but as a place to be from and to return to. The Roof of the World chapter has a scariness to it because they cannot get out. The way back is closed. It is quite disturbing in this way. Just as well Truman likes his wife..
> Durrell could not have stood this for himself.  He liked to visit and be be visited.
> David
> 16 William Street
> Marrickville NSW 2204
> + 61 2 9564 6165
> 0412 707 625
> www.denisetart.com.au

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