[ilds] heraldic universe

Godshalk, William (godshawl) godshawl at ucmail.uc.edu
Mon Jun 27 17:45:57 PDT 2011

Could it be that Francis J. Mott's concept of universal design may have some link with Durrell's Heraldic Universe? 


W. L. Godshalk *
Department of English    *           *
University of Cincinnati*   * Stellar Disorder  *
OH 45221-0069 *  *
From: ilds-bounces at lists.uvic.ca [ilds-bounces at lists.uvic.ca] On Behalf Of Bruce Redwine [bredwine1968 at earthlink.net]
Sent: Monday, June 27, 2011 1:55 PM
To: gifford at fdu.edu; ilds at lists.uvic.ca
Cc: Bruce Redwine
Subject: Re: [ilds] heraldic universe

James, I'm in the dark, again.  Could you post your article appearing in jml?

By the way, perhaps I've missed something again.  On the topic of "Heraldic" in the Durrell-Miller letters, why does MacNiven leave out material that Wickes includes?  E.g., in the letter of Fall or August 1936, Wickes has Durrell writing, "I have discovered that the idea of duration is false."  MacNiven does not include this important statement about "Heraldic."


On Jun 26, 2011, at 8:51 PM, James Gifford wrote:

I'm interested in where this leads!

I argued last year in /jml/ that the Henry Miller - Herbert Read
correspondence casts a new light on Durrell's most famous use of the
term Heraldic in his letters to Miller.  The gist is that Miller was
criticizing Read for his promotion of Communism in his written works
following the 1936 London International Surrealist Exhibition, and
Miller was promoting his anarchist views contra Read's supposed
Communism.  Both authors were in contact with Emma Goldman, but Read
only made his anarchist views public in 1938.

In any case, the point is that Durrell's 1936 letter discussing the
Heraldic Universe is, in context (in my reckoning), a point by point
response to Read in Miller's correspondence (which Miller had been
copying to Durrell, and in which he quoted Durrell's letter to Read).
It also means the letter is probably misdated in MacNiven and was likely
a month or so later than the estimated August 1936.

In context, I contend the Heraldic notion carries a great deal of
sympathy for Miller's anarchism and the anti-Marxist politics of the
epistolary discussion.  In that sense, the personal enacted in the
Heraldic carries a very particular politics.  "Personalism" seems to
have followed in the 40s in London at least in part as a response to
Durrell and largely as a development from Read's "Politics of the

This sense of the Heraldic Universe runs contrary to much of what
already exists in the critical works on Durrell, so I'm waiting to see
if anything more pops up that pulls it in different directions -- Warton
could be important...


On 26/06/11 12:34 PM, Godshalk, William (godshawl) wrote:
1774    T. Warton Hist. Eng. Poetry I. xi. 336   The pompous
circumstances of which these heraldic narratives consisted, and the
minute prolixity with which they were displayed.

Durrell was a student of poetry as well as a poet. Also he is known
among Durrellians for his references to the Heraldic Universe --
which has been linked to various schools of thought.

I'm wondering if Durrell  might have come across the phrase "heraldic
narratives" in Warton

and later began to think of his own narratives as heraldic, and the
world that they evoke as his "heraldic universe."

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