[ilds] A Great Unrecorded History: A New Life of E.M. FORSTER by Wendy Moffat, PICADOR, New York, 2010

PETER BALDWIN delospeter at hotmail.com
Mon Jun 23 21:11:47 PDT 2014


The Alexandrian book which Marc refers to is a lavish book of photos of Alexandria by the Brazilian photographer Carlos Freire see 

http://www.verinhaottoni.com/carlosfreire/. 

If the link works, you will see a photo of Carlos third on the right (bearded man). Robert Sole, the Cairo born novelist wrote the introduction. Do not be put off by the photos of the 1985 male model of the same name if you Google.

Sole was born in Cairo in 1946 and lives in and works from Paris; I think his 'first ' language for his writing is French. Harvill Press published several of his novels in the 1990's and many are still in print in English translation. It must be 20+ years since I have read them but I think that some are set in Alexandria and are worth tracking down. 

Carlos knew LD very well and over the years many of Carlos' photos of LD have appeared in print. Carlos' web page is very uninspiring but LD wrote a short preface for a slim album of Carlos' photos - the title of which escapes me now. The French academic journal 'Confluences' has used Carlos' photos for its editions devoted to D's work.

Carlos kindly let me use a couple of his photos of LD in Delos books. I think I first saw his work in the French Magazine Litteraire interview with LD. Carlos , unlike any other photographer of D, captures a wide range of the aspects of D's personality. 

I have done this note from my desk two floors from my Durrell collection so hope my citations are accurate. For that reason I have to rely on memory but there is a good book by Edmund Keeley for fans of writing about 'modern' Alex - ' Cavafy's Alexandria'( still in print from Princeton)

Peter Baldwin

Sent from my iPhone

> On 22 Jun 2014, at 18:59, "Merrianne" <timlot at comcast.net> wrote:
> 
> Dear Marc,
>  
> Thank you for the reference. I’ve already placed it in my Abe Books shopping cart.
>  
> As you like photographs, you are probably familiar with the French museums’ site Joconde.    http://www.culture.gouv.fr/public/mistral/joconde_fr   Several months ago, I discovered the early 20th century black and white photographs by Carle Naudot of the Camargue, southern France, etc. that can be retrieved by using the search feature on this website, which is a consortium of numerous regional French museums. This being summer, it is fun to search on Arles, Avignon, etc. and pull up various works associated or depicting these places.
>  
> Best,
> Merrianne
>  
> From: ILDS [mailto:ilds-bounces at lists.uvic.ca] On Behalf Of Marc Piel
> Sent: Sunday, June 22, 2014 12:14 PM
> To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca
> Subject: Re: [ilds] A Great Unrecorded History: A New Life of E.M. FORSTER by Wendy Moffat, PICADOR, New York, 2010
>  
> Hi Merrianne,
> There is another book on Alexandria that is very good:
> "Alexandrie l'Egyptienne" by Carlos Freire with photos by Robert Solé published by STOCK in 1998, in which there are lots of photos of places mentioned in the AQ.
> Regards,
> Marc Piel
> 
> Le 22/06/14 17:59, Merrianne a écrit :
> This morning, I looked at the textbook we used for our urban development and history course taught by Janet Abu-Lughod at AUC. You can read a short bio for her on Wikipedia. Abu-Lughod’s book Cairo: 1001 Years of the City Victorious was a groundbreaking work on the subject of Cairo’s evolution (and indirectly that of Alexandria).
>  
> I don’t see any reference in her book to British in association with the word “colonial.” She refers to the British in the context of “occupation.”
>  
> In addition, she provides an excellent overview regarding the khedivial reform of Egypt, with its various French interludes, including the Parisian architectural fabric of Cairo and Alexandria. If anyone is interested in serious research regarding the architecture of the late 19th/early 20th century, I recommend three works that I purchased in Egypt, but probably obtainable via ILL:
>  
> Nihal Tamraz, Nineteenth-Century Cairene Houses and Palaces (American University in Cairo Press, 1998) – Which includes parallels to the “tower” of Durrell’s villa.
> Le Caire – Alexandrie architectures européennes (Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale, 2001)
> Cynthia Myntt, Paris Along the Nile: Architecture in Cairo from the Belle Epoque (American University I Cairo Press, 2003)
>  
> I haven’t had a chance to check to see if Michael Haag cites these works, but I am sure he is familiar with them.
>  
> In addition, you might wish to investigate the website of the organization ASTENE (Association of the Study of the Ancient Near East and Egypt). I’ve been a member for years, and I believe their newsletters are available on their website.
>  
> In addition, the old Tour Egypt website includes some interesting info on classic architecture of Cairo and Alexandria that Durrell would have been familiar with (in addition to some info on Durrell, I believe). This link (to one of my favorite hotels in Egypt will get you to the website … http://www.touregypt.net/egypt-info/magazine-mag09012000-mag8a.htm
>  
> Merrianne
>  
> From: ILDS [mailto:ilds-bounces at lists.uvic.ca] On Behalf Of Bruce Redwine
> Sent: Saturday, June 21, 2014 3:36 PM
> To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca
> Cc: Bruce Redwine
> Subject: Re: [ilds] A Great Unrecorded History: A New Life of E.M. FORSTER by Wendy Moffat, PICADOR, New York, 2010
>  
> Yes.  A useful distinction.  Thanks.  "Colonial" nowadays has highly pejorative connotations and generally applies to Western colonial empires (British, French, Belgian, German, Italian, and so on), as I understand the usage.  The Ambron family built the villa on rue Maamoun.  I believe the architecture is Venetian and could be attributed to or influenced by the Italian architect Alessandro Loria (architect of Hotel Cecil), who was Jewish.  But I'm guessing.  Since the Ambron family was Jewish, I'm also guessing that part of the problem of preserving the "colonial" architecture of Alexandria is its Jewish connections.  Nasser's policy in Egypt was to eradicate Egypt's great Jewish heritage.  Hence the diaspora of Egyptians Jews since 1952 (read Aciman's Out of Egypt).  Dr. Mohamed Awad, an architect and historian, is trying to save "old Alexandria," inclucing "colonial Alex," but that's not a popular endeavor in today's Egypt.  Erasing material culture may not "erase history," but it sure comes close.  So I'm thankful for Durrell's and Haag's Alexandrias — which keep the cultural memory alive.
>  
> Bruce
>  
>  
>  
> On Jun 21, 2014, at 12:26 PM, Merrianne <timlot at comcast.net> wrote:
> 
> 
> 
> I would suggest distinguishing between khedival and colonial when focusing on Alexandria and Cairo. What can be attributed to the modernization of Egypt by Muhammed Ali and Ismail during the 19thcentury versus “colonial” rule of the British. I was fortunate to study the architecture of Cairo and Alexandria back in the early 70s, and this was the distinction that my professors made at the American University in Cairo. Durrell would have lived in both the khedival and colonial worlds of Egypt.
>  
> From its founding by Alexander the Great, Alexandria was a city. It may have been annexed into empires as a province, but it always retained its identity and cosmopolitan nature.
>  
> Merrianne
>  
> From: ILDS [mailto:ilds-bounces at lists.uvic.ca] On Behalf Of Lee Sternthal
> Sent: Saturday, June 21, 2014 1:45 PM
> To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca
> Subject: Re: [ilds] A Great Unrecorded History: A New Life of E.M. FORSTER by Wendy Moffat, PICADOR, New York, 2010
>  
> Yeah, it's been a while since I read the post and my memory isn't what it used to be for details.  In any case, here's Haag's post.  I recall it being fascinating reading.  
>  
> http://michaelhaag.blogspot.com/2013/09/lawrence-durrells-house-in-alexandria.html
> 
> On Jun 21, 2014, at 11:08 AM, Odos <odos.fanourios at gmail.com> wrote:
> 
> To the best of my knowledge, the Villa Ambron is still standing but slated for demolition -- Haag may have more current information.  Durrell wrote early drafts of the Quartet materials (Book of the Dead) there as well as preparing Prospero's Cell, though The Black Book was finished in 1937 only two years after his arrival on Corfu.  I sometimes wonder what it means to read Panic Spring and The Black Book as works written in an overlapping period -- the style varies enormously, but the concerns are remarkably similar in many respects, just a bit more difficult to notice.
>  
> As for colonial legacies, I think both perspective need to be acknowledged.  Razing history doesn't erase its legacy, and Alexandria certainly has a unique "colonial" history given the age and origins of the city.  That said, we recently held OMG XVIII on unceded Coast Salish territories, and I try to be very mindful of the fact that the terrain I inhabit (and which my family has inhabited for 166 years now) is very much colonial, and the growth of the colony comes very much at the expense of indigenous sites, terrains, practices, and attempts at restoration and restitution.
>  
> Then again, the Vancouver I grew up in was cement, stone, and grey -- the Vancouver I live in today is steel and glass, and that's a reflection of another wave of immigration that some colonials resent...  As Haag hastens to point out, the colonial sites are also often the most cosmopolitan, and the injustice of history doesn't make it go away.
>  
> All best,
> James
> 
> Sent from my iPad
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