[ilds] heraldic universe and other animals

Marc Piel marc at marcpiel.fr
Tue Jun 28 07:56:05 PDT 2011

Hi Christine,
Maybe this link will help



Le 28/06/11 15:49, Truebner, Christine a écrit :
> Pls let me know to better understand discussion 
> what is a oxymoron?
> Christine Trübner
> c/o Jugend- und Sozialamt der Stadt Frankfurt am 
> Main
> --------------------------------------------------
> *Von:* ilds-bounces at lists.uvic.ca 
> [mailto:ilds-bounces at lists.uvic.ca] *Im Auftrag 
> von *Denise Tart & David Green
> *Gesendet:* Dienstag, 28. Juni 2011 09:05
> *An:* marc at marcpiel.fr; ilds at lists.uvic.ca
> *Betreff:* Re: [ilds] heraldic universe and 
> other animals
> Marc, to me surrealism and communism, certainly 
> as the later was put into practice, are mutually 
> exclusive; oxymoron's as it were. surrealism 
> perhaps had more to do with anarchism, but more 
> peaceful. Durrell was a peaceful anarchist at 
> heart, like many writers and artists.
> so, the French still have a communist party? in 
> Terra Australis they ceased to be many moons 
> ago. even the labor party vote is down to 27%. 
> May day does not get a look in, even on uni 
> campuses these days; new world order and mining 
> boom. the Aussie bourgeois, those who are not 
> conservative, vote 'green' to feel better about 
> their vast carbon/resource footprint - 
> adjectivally HUGE but at least we dump a few 
> veggie scraps in the recycling....quelle maleur..
> Charles...send the Cunard to Sydney...I'll be on 
> it, first class and no adjectival icebergs..
> You will be pleased to know that Dark Labyrinth 
> is now doing the rounds of my year 12 students; 
> Durrell will live on in a new generation of 
> young Aussies but perhaps not quite with the 
> same spectacular effect at Brett Whitley's Justine.
> Cheers
> David
> *From:* Marc Piel <mailto:marc at marcpiel.fr>
> *Sent:* Tuesday, June 28, 2011 7:12 AM
> *To:* gifford at fdu.edu <mailto:gifford at fdu.edu> ; 
> ilds at lists.uvic.ca <mailto:ilds at lists.uvic.ca>
> *Subject:* Re: [ilds] heraldic universe
> Hi James,
> I am always surprised to see "Surrealism" and 
> "Communism" put together.
> Sure that Communism was very attractive at the 
> beginning to Surrealists, especially because of 
> Breton who stayed a very long time, but most of 
> the interesting Surrealists left very quickly. 
> They quickly saw that it was "locking" them in 
> instead of giving them freedom. The most 
> important characteristic of Surrealism  was 
> freedom in the largest sense of the word. 
> Curiously the ones that stayed with communism 
> were those that came from bourgeois backgrounds 
> and families like Breton. The same is true today 
> in France. The communist party still exists with 
> about 1% of vote and all from bourgeois 
> backgrounds. I'm not surprised that LD did not 
> follow this movement.
> B.R.
> Marc
> Le 27/06/11 22:32, James Gifford a écrit :
>> Hi Bruce,
>> I agreed not to post the article to any listservs, but I signed nothing
>> regarding private individuals...
>> As for Ian's edition, it does contain substantial cuts and differs in
>> many respects from Wickes' work, but both are selected and differ in
>> different ways.  Alas!  I use both and often go back and forth between
>> them.  That particular letter also appears transcribed by Henry Miller
>> in his correspondence with Herbert Read, but without major differences
>> to content.  You'll find (in general) more material from the early years
>> in Wickes but with different cuts than we find in MacNiven.  Both, IMO,
>> have some wrong dates, but that's inevitable when the letters are
>> undated and have no envelopes -- I'd expect folks will be tweaking those
>> here&  there for many years as correlated materials   become available
>> or are correlated.
>> I agree that "duration" is important!  Miller included it too.  It
>> signals the breadth of matters Durrell sought to unify in the Heraldic
>> concept, which I don't think can be reduced to just one topic.
>> For my particular point, I'd note that Durrell responds fairly overtly
>> to Read's comments in his published speech (Durrell's copy came direct
>> from Miller):
>> "Surrealism will only be truly successful in the degree to which it
>> leads, not to social entertainment, but to revolutionary action" (Read)
>>     -->  [Durrell says he doesn't believe] "that [the artist]
>>         wants to transform the world.  He wants to transform
>>         men" (Durrell)
>> "the Surrealist is naturally a Marxian Socialist, and generally claims
>> that he is a more consistent Communist than many" (Read)
>>     -->  "but I do not believe the rest of this stuff.  That
>>         the artist must be a socialist, for example" (Durrell)
>> "we must include all aspects of human experience, not excluding those
>> elements of subconscious life which are revealed in dreams, day dreams,
>> trances and hallucinations." (Read)
>>     -->  "I firmly believe in the ideals of cementing reality
>>         with the dream, but I do not believe the rest of this
>>         stuff." (Durrell)
>> If you set the two texts side by side with Miller's letters as well, the
>> origins and sequence of topics stands our clearly.
>> Only after those and other rebuttals of Read does Durrell finally get to
>> "Listen, Miller, what I feel about it is this" and then his articulation
>> of the Heraldic Universe (and then follows the only reference to Read in
>> a rather unkind postscript, which would otherwise make no sense...).
>> Notably, Miller's rebuttal to Read was very clearly a part of his
>> anarchist politics, both in the letters (copied to LD) and his "An Open
>> Letter to Surrealists Everywhere."  Two years later, Read finally made
>> his own anarchist politics public knowledge, but not until then, which
>> is why he was misunderstood as an authoritarian Marxist and Communist of
>> Breton's mode at the time.
>> My personal sense is that this context signficantly revises how we see
>> Durrell's descriptions of the Heraldic Universe in his other letters,
>> his description of it in /Personal Landscape/, as well as some of his
>> ambiguous aesthetic devices and essays such as "No Clue to Living."
>> After going through those, I've not been able to read /The Revolt of
>> Aphrodite/ the same way...  I think, for instance, of the burning of all
>> contractual obligations, the emphasis on personal responsibility, and
>> the peculiar references to Zeno (see Kropotkin's Britannica article on
>> "Anarchism" for that).  There's also LD's self-reference to his poem
>> "Freedom" near the end of the book too.
>> It's worth looking back to Wilde's "Soul of Man Under Socialism" as
>> well, which relies significantly on Kropotkin, and which Read echoes in
>> his first anarchist writings.
>> In any case, that's occupying my attention at the moment, along with the
>> print history of the subsequent ties to other authors with kindred
>> ideas.  I feel it oddly important to note I have no sympathy for the
>> American "libertarian" movement hitting Fox News so much at present...
>> Best,
>> James
>> (BTW, the work in question from Read is rather hard to get...)
>> Read, Herbert. "Speech by Herbert Read at the Conway Hall." /The
>> Surrealist Bulletin/ 4 (1936): 7-13.
>> There's related work in his edited book on Surrealism through Faber,
>> which is easy to get.
>> On 27/06/11 10:55 AM, Bruce Redwine wrote:
>>> 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."
>>> Bruce
>>> 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
>>>> Unpolitical."
>>>> 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...
>>>> Best,
>>>> Jamie
>>>> 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."
>>>>> Bill _______________________________________________ ILDS mailing
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>>>>> https://lists.uvic.ca/mailman/listinfo/ilds
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