[ilds] Mention of the Alexandria Quartet in an Interesting and Controversial New Book

Sumantra Nag sumantranag at gmail.com
Mon Jun 2 10:28:49 PDT 2014


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Sumantra Nag
---------------------

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On 1 Jun 2014 05:11, "James Gifford" <james.d.gifford at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Hello all
>
>
> On 2014-05-31, 3:36 PM, William Apt wrote:
>>
>> I don't recall there being a great number of homosexuals in LD's
>> inner circle. In fact most were quite straight and anything but asexual.
>
>
> Rather than his personal network, what about his characters?  The
percentage jumps...  He was close with George Barker, Elizabeth Smart, and
a number of other non-writers of the 30s and 40s who had bisexual lives.
>
>
>> Contrast this with the highly closeted Jack Kerouac, almost all of whose
>> inner circle were gay, despite his life long cultivation of a solid
>> heterosexual public image.
>
>
> But was Kerouac a repressed homosexual?  I'm suspicious of elements of
the notion itself.  He seemed to be sexual, period, and not strictly
limited.  Then again, I'm not a Kerouac scholar and may be quite wrong on
this -- Kerouac was certainly in an "out" milieu.
>
>
>> Finally, LD got involved with some beautiful, sexy women, and had as
>> friends others. If he was gay, he certainly had a great heterosexual
>> picker!
>
>
> I don't want to sound glib, but many gay men were married, even to very
attractive women.  It's too easy to speculate.
>
> Bruce adds
>
>
>> the big objection is what literary critics are fond of making —
>> namely, don't confuse the author with his or her writings!  There's
>> some validity to this, but I don't always buy the objection and
>> attribute it to the prejudices of New Criticism, whose ideas still
>> linger and influence.
>
>
> The racial issues with the New Critics, who wanted to set aside social
context, is certainly open to critique.  But I also don't think we can
conflate the text and the author.
>
> I would, however, very much in this vein point to the importance of
sexuality for content in Durrell's books as well as their formal traits and
textuality.
>
> And now to run!
>
> Best,
> James
>
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