[ilds] Interesting adventures of Paddy Fermor and Larry Durrell

James Gifford james.d.gifford at gmail.com
Tue Jun 10 12:13:29 PDT 2014

The public school behaviour is pretty explicitly named in /Pied Piper of 
Lovers/: "sodomy" (171).  He's also quite explicit in not disparaging it 
(120, 219, 220) while at the same time saying it wasn't to his 
autobiographical protagonist's particular taste (120).  In essence, this 
is why I disagree over the issue of Durrell's being "repressed" about 
homosexuality -- I see him as being pretty comfortable with the range of 
sexualities any individual aligns with at one time or another (though a 
case study of repression appears in a very cheeky form in /The Black Book/).

Does the "frolicking around" make us rethink Darley gazing on Keats's 
"newly god-like body" while he showers?  I'd be inclined to see Darley 
not as a repressing his homosexuality but rather as being quite 
comfortable with the homoerotic elements of his heterosexual identity.

In essence, that's why "bisexual love" is so important to the Quartet in 
my reading -- it's everywhere in the book, including the stylistic level.

All best,

On 2014-06-10, 11:35 AM, Bruce Redwine wrote:
> Now that you've brought it up.  I supposed everyone has his/her notions
> of what amusing behavior is, especially in the context of boys
> frolicking around after probably too much wine.  Artemis Cooper seems to
> be describing some kind of public school frolic.  I do, however, find it
> strange to have Durrell described as holding "the victim's [Paddy's]
> penis," if accurate.  On the other hand, maybe this is what went on in
> the public schools around this time — all in complete innocence.  Cooper
> describes Leigh Fermor and Fielding as "brothers-in-arms," which they
> were on Crete and "friends ever after."  This is a fine example of male
> bonding in the military.  Had the U.S. soldiers of this period been
> photographed engaging in such horseplay, however, a charge of
> homosexuality could have been brought (possibly resulting in dismissal
> from the service).  But we Americans are a bunch of prudes.
> Bruce
> On Jun 10, 2014, at 10:02 AM, Lee Sternthal <lalexsternthal at gmail.com
> <mailto:lalexsternthal at gmail.com>> wrote:
>> i think in order to find what you're looking for it sounds like you're
>> making the case that you'd have to look for it in friends and
>> associates' correspondence, journals and accounts.  and that does
>> sound like the way to go.  but this episode recorded by Fermur sounds
>> more amusing than erotic.  i think i'd probably also be a bit more
>> intrigued if the owner of the "victim's penis" hadn't been
>> married/with his wife Joan for nearly 60 years before she passed.
>> On Jun 10, 2014, at 7:31 AM, Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at gmail.com
>> <mailto:bredwine1968 at gmail.com>> wrote:
>>> David, I'd like to see Joan's photograph of the tableau at the
>>> sacrificial altar.  It's not in Cooper's book, although a photo of a
>>> naked Xan atop a column is.  Aside from the work done by his editor,
>>> Durrell himself edited a lot out of his island books.  Probably for
>>> reasons of privacy and confidentiality.  He does, however, seem to
>>> allude to private matters.  E.g., the beginning of /Bitter Lemons/
>>> and the colors of Venice described as though "stricken by dementia."
>>>  Why dementia?  Well, prior to Venice he'd been visiting Eve in a
>>> hospital in Germany where she was being treated for schizophrenia.
>>>  Michael Haag has a lot of say about this kind of thing.  Durrell
>>> writes in code.
>>> Bruce
>>> On Jun 10, 2014, at 12:13 AM, Denise Tart & David Green
>>> <dtart at bigpond.net.au <mailto:dtart at bigpond.net.au>> wrote:
>>>> "After a few days on Santorini they went to Rhodes, where Lawrence
>>>> Durrell was living with his second wife, Eve Cohen, in the Villa
>>>> Cleobolus..'It was an amazing sojourn, spent in talk and music and
>>>> feasting, ' wrote Paddy. 'Strange things always happened in his
>>>> company and one afternoon, in the ruins of ancient Camirus, wine
>>>> sprung curiosity set the four of us crawling on hands and knees
>>>> through the bat-infested warren of underground conduits. We climbed
>>>> out covered in droppings and dust and cobwebs...
>>>> With their clothes so torn and filthy, it seemed like a good idea to
>>>> take them off. They walked on naked and came across a stone that
>>>> looked just like a sacrificial altar. A tableau was made,
>>>> photographed by Joan: paddy lay across the stone and Larry held the
>>>> sacrificial victim's penis, while beetle browed Xan wielded an
>>>> enormous knife. Then, still naked, they walked along the top of a
>>>> high wall (where Xan) struck an Eros pose, immortalised in another
>>>> photo by Joan whom Durrell described as 'The Corn Goddess'. As for
>>>> Paddy he was described as 'a wonderful mad Irishman... quite the
>>>> most enchanting maniac I've ever met'."
>>>> From Patrick Leigh Fermor: an Adventure by Artemis Cooper (2012)
>>>> Thought this might amuse/delight/intrigue in the light of recent
>>>> discussions. By the way, Durrell's own island book are remarkably
>>>> devoid such such escapades and sexuality. Indeed apart from vague
>>>> implications and polite descriptions Durrell's island books are
>>>> quite sexless, unlike the biggies. Perhaps a carefully edited
>>>> version of himself..
>>>> David
>>>> 16 William Street
>>>> Marrickville NSW 2204
>>>> Australia
>>>> +61 2 9564 6165
>>>> 0412 707 625
>>>> www.denisetart.com.au <http://www.denisetart.com.au/>
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