[ilds] D. J. Enright

Richard Pine rpinecorfu at yahoo.com
Fri Jun 27 15:03:36 PDT 2014

Two unrelated points - I don't have my copy of 'Academic Year' to hand, but isn't there an unpleasant reference to an LD-type character - as there is said to be in Olivia Manning?
And, don't rely too much on Helen Vendler as a critic - she once said a lecture of mine was brilliant - which it wasn't.
On Fri, 6/27/14, Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net> wrote:

 Subject: [ilds] D. J. Enright
 To: "Durrell list" <ilds at lists.uvic.ca>
 Cc: "Bruce Redwine" <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net>
 Date: Friday, June 27, 2014, 6:26 PM
 glad you brought up D. J. Enright (1920-2002).  He
 should be remembered — in his own right and also because
 his life is the obverse
 of L. G. Durrell’s.  Both were men of letters: 
 poets and novelists.  Their paths were similar but
 never crossed.  Durrell claimed he failed the entrance
 to Cambridge.  Enright obtained a degree at Downing
 College, Cambridge, and was
 associated with F. R. Leavis, who taught at Downing. 
 DJE and LGD lived in Alexandria, at different
 times, and wrote very different novels about the city. 
 Enright obtained a Ph.D. at Farouk I University
 in Alexandria, where he defended his thesis on Goethe in
 French.  He later revised the Modern Library
 of Proust’s In Search of Lost Time.  In
 The Quartet,
 Durrell talks about the East and its charms, sensual and
 philosophical.  Enright
 lived much of his life there (Thailand, Japan, Singapore)
 and indulged similar
 interests, opium among them but kept up his passion for
 Virgil’s Eclogues.  He was Professor of
 English at the University
 of Singapore and was kicked out of the country for acerbic
 opinions about the city state that would
 have made Ludwig Pursewarden proud.  That tale is
 retold in his Memoirs of a Mendicant Professor
 (1969).  Oxford published his Collected Poems in
 1998, favorably reviewed by Helen Vendler.  Although a
 Romantic in his travels, Enright was not a Romantic when it
 came to Egypt.  In “Why the East Is
 Inscrutable” (Alexandria, 1948), he writes, “Sometimes
 the East is too hot / To
 be scrutable . . . Wait for winter, / Mildly trying,
 meanwhile, not to make /
 Too many enemies.”  Durrell restricted
 such comments to his letters.  Would Durrell
 have made Enright’s enemies list?  Maybe.  His
 opinions of Durrell are not
 flattering.  As Sumantra notes, Enright's review of
 The Quartet, “Alexandrian Nights’
 Entertainments,” is largely negative.  Enright
 concludes:  “When
 Durrell is good he is very good, and when he is bad he is
 horrid.”  A good Latinist, he places emphasis at
 the end.  Which of the two will endure
 longer?  Durrell, undoubtedly.  But Enright has
 his place.
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