[ilds] on Durrell's anarchism

James Gifford odos.fanourios at gmail.com
Mon Jul 18 15:22:31 PDT 2011


Nicely noted, Robin.  Woodcock was a professor here in Vancouver at
UBC, though I never knew him (and his papers ended up closer to you in
Kingston, Ontario -- grrr).  His autobiography is also quite useful,
though he kept his distance from the California/Berkeley group
(Rexroth, Duncan, Leite, Miller, etc...).  He started /NOW/ in 1940
and ran it through Freedom Press -- the second series began in 1943.

Also, beginning in 1945, there was the Freedom Defense Committee
organized by Herbert Read after Freedom Press was raided due to its
pacifist journal /War Commentary/ (the committee included Read,
Orwell, Comfort, Woodcock, and several others, and good portion of
their correspondence on the matter is also in Canada, in Victoria).
In the 2nd series, /NOW/ was published by the Freedom Press, though it
had been a de facto Freedom publication from the very start.  To
publish in /NOW/ after December 1944 was hardly neutral or just a
convenient place to pitch a poem -- Durrell did publish in it in 1947
with "Elegy on the Closing of the French Brothels."

What I find remarkable is how much this literary group vanished from
the critical perspective despite engaging in so much mutually
supportive publication.

Best,
James

On 18 July 2011 13:24, Robin Collins <robin.w.collins at gmail.com> wrote:
> A useful excerpt on this subject can be found in George Woodcock's
> "Anarchism, A History of Libertarian Ideas and Movements" (Penguin,
> 1986 edition, page 382):
>
> "Shortly afterwards, in 1941, George Woodcock, who was already editing
> Now as a pacifist literary journal, joined the Freedom Group, and Now,
> in a new series and an enlarged format, because an anarchist-oriented
> review of the arts. Continuing until 1947, it published writings by
> poets and fiction writers from a wide range of the non-communist Left,
> and Julian Symons, who was one of the contributors, remembered it
> thirty years later as 'much the best periodical of a radical kind in
> England during those years...For anybody wanting to know what
> non-communist radicals thought and hoped during those years Now must
> be an indispensable document, as Horizon, for example, is not.' Among
> the writers who contributed to Now were not only avowed anarchists
> like Woodcock, Read, and Comfort, like Denise Lovertov, Kenneth
> Rexroth, and Paul Goodman, but also left-wing writers who at most
> could be regarded as libertarians, like George Orwell, Henry Miller,
> George Barker, Roy Fuller, Lawrence Durrell, Andre Breton, EE
> Cummings, Victor Serge, and William Everson."
>
> Robin Collins
> Ottawa
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-- 
---------------------------------------
James Gifford, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of English and University Core Director
School of English, Philosophy and Humanities
University College: Arts, Sciences, Professional Studies
Fairleigh Dickinson University, Vancouver Campus
Voice: 604-648-4476
Fax: 604-648-4489
E-mail: gifford at fdu.edu
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