[ilds] DURRELL, MILLER, ANARCHISM AND HERALDIC UNIVERSES

James Gifford james.d.gifford at gmail.com
Thu Jul 21 11:55:32 PDT 2011


Hi Bruce,

My inclination is to look to the opening 3 paragraphs of Miller's 
/Tropic of Cancer/ -- "alone," "prophet," "Time," and "Timelessness" all 
take the stage.  (Time regarding the "DESTROYING TIME" bit)

I would also look back to the High Modernists, but I don't think LD is 
in the same vein for "prophecy."  I'd recall though that the Auden group 
was in its ascendancy at this time, and the widespread "prophetic" 
movement that erupted through the New Apocalypse and various other 
groups was a real break from social realism, and in that sense was a 
return to the High Moderns.  It think LD confronts that in the final 
paragraph of his final PPPS to that famous letter, "THIS HAS BEEN DONE 
BEFORE," but perhaps that can be read differently.

Ray Morrison has said a good deal in his U Toronto P book on Durrell 
about Taoism and the Heraldic Universe.  I don't quite agree, but I 
wonder if you've had time to look at it?  I think you'd like it.

Best,
James

On 18/07/11 11:20 AM, Bruce Redwine wrote:
> James,
>
> You probably have a different take on this, but I'm thinking of
> Durrell's famous letter to Miller (ca August 1936).  Namely,
> Durrell's statement:  "Art nowadays is going to be real art, as
> before the flood.  IT IS GOING TO BE PROPHECY, in the biblical sense.
> What I propose to do, with all deadly solemnity, is to create my
> HERALDIC UNIVERSE quite alone."
>
> Durrell sounds as though he thinks he's doing something new.  I don't
> think so, certainly not in the context of his immediate predecessors,
> the High Moderns.  Yeats, Pound, Eliot, Joyce — weren't they all
> vatic poets and writers?  Didn't they all claim to be creating new
> mythologies and taking on the role of prophets of some new religion
> of art?  So, I don't see Durrell's claim as radical as he seems to
> think.  Unless, and here's the catch, unless he thinks his own
> personal contribution is unique — and here is where I'd argue his
> "Heraldic Universe" is some variant on Taoism.  All this I've
> presented before.
>
> So what's your take?
>
>
> Bruce


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