[ilds] Modern Bisexual Love and Beyond

Lee Sternthal lasternthal at gmail.com
Tue Jun 3 14:04:35 PDT 2014


Bruce, no need to be defensive.  I've merely asked you (or anyone else) to produce any piece of writing/correspondence (in the thousands of pages available) anywhere where Durrell even circles around a same sex attraction to anyone he ever encountered in his personal life.  If you want to pursue this line of personal inquiry so passionately I suggest you do your own research on Durrell to deal with such skeptical academic amateurs such as myself.

If you can produce this writing, I respectfully stand corrected.  It would be enlightening and arguably useful.  If you can't, all the gobbledygook in the world isn't going to change it, and everything you've written is extraordinarily suspect speculation when dealing with a writer so devoted to living and writing his life with authenticity to the very end.

A man who made so much of sex and love never mentioning a homoerotic feeling, much less encounter in his own personal life?  I say again: thin.

There's not much more to be said.

Best,
LS

> On Jun 3, 2014, at 1:16 PM, Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net> wrote:
> 
> Let me be presumptuous.  I believe what we need in Durrellian studies is a serious discussion of issues of sexuality in his oeuvre (the "five sexes" kind of thing and what that means, exactly).  Why did Durrell choose this subject matter — "modern bisexuality?"  What motivated him?  Was he simply doing a literary exercise?  Is he expressing his own personal needs?  How personal?  Why is there so much sex and violence in the Quartet?  Why Pursewarden's suicide (whom Durrell called his favorite character)?  Was Durrell suicidal?  How much so?  This could be extended to issues of plagiarism, untruthfulness, and incest.  Lawrence G. Durrell was very complicated, and I see little effort to account for the relationship between Durrell the man and Durrell the artist.  (Recall his final words in the Paris Review interview of 1960:  "I find art easy.  I find life difficult.")  Literary analysis, as usually approached, is fine but doesn't seem to get to the core problem, in my opinion — i.e., why did he "find life difficult?" — which I take as an honest confession.  Then there is the matter of taking the man at his word elsewhere — and he was never at a loss for words, except when the question got too personal.  I recall an interview where he was asked why there was so much violence in his work.  He didn't answer the question but went off on one of his eloquent diversions.  To their great credit, Ian MacNiven and Michael Haag both point out, delicately or not, Durrell's untrustworthiness.  My inclination (or fault) is to work backwards from the texts to the man.  Which, I assume, is not generally taught in English Departments — indeed, it's strongly discouraged, to put it mildly.  My inclination may bore others, but I've stated my preferences.
> 
> I take it Lee Sternthal (male I assume) has read every word Durrell ever wrote, in every published and unpublished work, in every letter, and in every diary, notebook, or scrap of paper in all the extant archives — all that he has read, so that he can now assert, "an autobiographical writer who never wrote a word  . . . "  My hat goes off for that major accomplishment.  Of course, Durrell is "an autobiographical writer," so he wrote a lot about sexuality.  Critics have to decode what he wrote.
> 
> Bruce
> 
> 
> 
>> On Jun 3, 2014, at 9:13 AM, Lee Sternthal <lasternthal at gmail.com> wrote:
>> 
>> 
>> Very, very thin, especially for someone who, in many ways, defined himself by his rebellion against convention.
>> 
>>> On Jun 3, 2014, at 8:37 AM, Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net> wrote:
>>> 
>>> Stranger things have happened.
>>> 
>>> 
>>> Sent from my iPhone
>>> 
>>>> On Jun 2, 2014, at 4:25 PM, Lee Sternthal <lalexsternthal at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>> 
>>>> an autobiographical writer who never wrote a word about his own homosexual desire for anyone his entire life was in the closet?  
>>>> 
>>>> doesn't make sense.  sorry.
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>>> On Jun 2, 2014, at 2:54 PM, Kennedy Gammage <gammage.kennedy at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>>> 
>>>>> That’s a good point James. Nor do I think F&F was solely concerned about suppressing sales. Their editors may have been sensitive to the fact that Durrell might be limiting himself, referring to bisexuality within what promised to be the four dimensional scheme of the Quartet. In the end he created characters who were heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, people ‘wounded in their sex’…cross-dressers like Scobie (a beloved character who seems to me nothing like the author!) Not to mention brother-sister incest - in the Quartet, but also in the Revolt and the Quintet too. (Twice in the Quintet, right?) 
>>>>> 
>>>>> Once you go the Spacetime route the genie is out of the bottle. No holds barred, the sky’s the limit!
>>>>> 
>>>>> Cheers - Ken
>>>>> 
>>>>> 
>>>>> 
>>>>>> On Mon, Jun 2, 2014 at 1:39 PM, James Gifford <james.d.gifford at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>>>> Let's not forget that the "modern love" phrase was originally "bisexual love" nor that the opening epigram from Freud in /Justine/ has the "As for bisexuality, I am sure you are right!" removed by Fabers...
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> Best,
>>>>>> James
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> 
>>>>>>> On 2014-06-02, 11:46 AM, Bruce Redwine wrote:
>>>>>>> As to the "nonsense bit," I would say we're simply following Lawrence
>>>>>>> Durrell's own manifesto in the introduction to /Balthazar/ (1958):  "The
>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>> central topic of the book is an investigation of modern love."  I don't
>>>>>>> think the permutations of "modern love" are nonsense.  Surely the author
>>>>>>> himself must be included in such a discussion.
>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>> Bruce
>>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>>> ILDS mailing list
>>>>>> ILDS at lists.uvic.ca
>>>>>> https://lists.uvic.ca/mailman/listinfo/ilds
>>>>> 
>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>> ILDS mailing list
>>>>> ILDS at lists.uvic.ca
>>>>> https://lists.uvic.ca/mailman/listinfo/ilds
>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>> ILDS mailing list
>>>> ILDS at lists.uvic.ca
>>>> https://lists.uvic.ca/mailman/listinfo/ilds
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> ILDS mailing list
>>> ILDS at lists.uvic.ca
>>> https://lists.uvic.ca/mailman/listinfo/ilds
>> _______________________________________________
>> ILDS mailing list
>> ILDS at lists.uvic.ca
>> https://lists.uvic.ca/mailman/listinfo/ilds
> 
> _______________________________________________
> ILDS mailing list
> ILDS at lists.uvic.ca
> https://lists.uvic.ca/mailman/listinfo/ilds
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.uvic.ca/pipermail/ilds/attachments/20140603/492f0f58/attachment.html>


More information about the ILDS mailing list