[ilds] Rereading: The Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durrell (Jan Morris)

Joan Pinkney roses12_55126_55126us at yahoo.com
Sat Oct 20 05:16:33 PDT 2012

joan.pinkney at gmail.com     ------------------------------ On Fri, Oct 19, 2012 9:06 AM CDT Charles Sligh wrote:  >Dear Sumantra: > >A pleasure to see your note. Find the Jan Morris piece here: > > Rereading: The Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durrell > <http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/feb/24/alexandria-quartet-lawrence-durrell-rereading> > >I took a rather strong position on this curious introduction at the British Library this summer. I do think that the piece is a bit more revealing about Jan Morris' special capabilities and limits than about Lawrence Durrell's. (Simon Ings was more direct. He called the intro "a pompous, contemptuous flob <http://simoningsmirror.wordpress.com/2012/06/11/keep-friday-free-were-plotting-the-return-of-lawrence-durrell/>.") > >Morris is a capable reporter, having done fine work in the Venice book and the Pax Britannica trilogy. But I wonder if there is a mismatch of her /métier/ and particular aesthetic
 sensibilities? Or even an out-matching, or an over-reaching? It really begs the question. > >After all, no reader ever walked about with a Jan Morris sentence haunting his memory. (Test case: There is no such thing as a "Jan Morris sentence." By contrast, cf. "The sea is high again today, with a thrilling flush of wind." or "You enter Greece as one might enter a dark crystal; the form of things becomes irregular, refracted.") And no Jan Morris book ever changed a reader's life, giving her an urgent reason to go live among new peoples, to see their lands, to drink their wine and to know their ways. > >I also wish Jan Morris had taken actual time and trouble to "re-read" /The Alexandria Quartet/. Her obfuscations and faint praise make it all too clear that she had little time for the book, and less sympathy. > >Charles > >-- ******************************************** >Charles L. Sligh >Assistant Professor >Department of English >University of Tennessee
 at Chattanooga >charles-sligh at utc.edu >******************************************** > 

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