[ilds] Modern Bisexual Love and Beyond

Odos odos.fanourios at gmail.com
Thu Jun 5 21:55:09 PDT 2014


Lee,

I'm afraid I don't follow your line here...  I don't see circles so much as standing still.  Have you looked at /Pied Piper of Lovers/ and the citations I gave you?  They're fairly overt.  You might even say convincing.  You contend you're willing to be convinced by evidence yet say you don't read the posts...  But in case you've misplaced me; I disagreed with Bruce's proposition -- while I see the variety and profusion of sexualities playing a vital role in Durrell's works on both thematic and stylistic levels, I don't have any particular interest in his biography for that topic and don't think there are any secrets to dig up.  There are very few squibs or nervous jokes in Durrell's works that try to force a conversation away from the various sexualities and protean expressions of desire -- that makes me suspect a healthy comfort with human forms of difference and the way those differences signify.

As for identity politics, as a critical project, I have to disagree.  Gay & Lesbian Studies and Queer Theory really got going in the early through mid '90s, though there's obviously a long lead up, and the annual book industry on the topic is pretty extensive today.  It just isn't radically new anymore.  One's sense of what's most "fashionable" depends heavily on where one's attention is directed.  Identity Politics includes race, ethnicity, and gender as well, and those are arguably the most persistent and pervasive areas of literary criticism today.

However, you offer up a specific statement that seems to contradict your position, so let's attend to that: "A writer writes his truest desires.  He/she cannot help himself."  I'd argue that there's no craft if a writer can't help herself, and likewise that if you're right, we'd then have a very unconscious author unaware of or helpless before the swaying impulses of desires that arise whence s/he knows not and change without any explicable cause.  This would run contrary to Durrell's extensive psychoanalytic interests and adoptions, interests that expressly open the Quartet on the topic of bisexuality (don't believe me? they're the first words of the book...).  In short, I don't see Old D as such a writer.  But that still leaves your position that "A writer writes his truest desires."  If so, why is there so much homosexuality in Durrell's works?  What are you expressing your own writing just now?  I don't actually agree with your statement, so I'm not expressing my own opinion in writing that -- I'm just curious how you would reconcile your stance with that statement.  Does Durrell have a major novel without homosexuality in it?  For that matter, any major novel without a major theme of homosexuality or without major characters who are homosexual or bisexual?  Or any novel major or minor without it?  Is there a bisexual or homosexual character in Durrell's works who is "evil" in some way or implicitly condemned, or are nearly all of them depicted with much tenderness?  If I take your statement at face value, I can't reconcile it with your position.

What needs to be noted though is the recurring refrain you've voiced that people who discuss homosexuality without some reactionary phobia ought to "go home."  That won't do.  No one on the list will be told to go away.  That particular sentiment will need to be curtailed.

Can this discussion be turned to a mutually productive mode?  Less trolling and more productive forms of disagreement, please.  I sense you have something you want to say about Durrell, and perhaps it would be good for it to come out.

All best,
James

Sent from my iPad

> On Jun 5, 2014, at 8:36 PM, Lee Sternthal <lalexsternthal at gmail.com> wrote:
> 
> Very long post.  Lost you about half way through the first paragraph.  I know, I'm an amateur, or maybe I just like some laughs with my theory.  But one thing I know: you're hanging literature with a rope of out of date identity politics, far as I can tell.  Think that twine broke in the late 90s. 
> 
> Basically, find one line from Durrell's personal correspondence or journals in regards to the topic of his sexual proclivities and desires, or go home.  Seriously.  You're running in circles because you have no proof.  A writer writes his truest desires.  He/she cannot help himself.  
> 
> Me and a lot of other people are more than willing to be changed by evidence.  I do, however, wonder about you.



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