[ilds] D. J. Enright

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Fri Jun 27 15:28:11 PDT 2014


RP,

I do not recall allusions to Durrell and Manning in Enright's Academic Year, but that sounds like just the sort of thing he would do.  Enright was wicked, like his mentor,  F. R. Leavis.  As to Helen Vendler, she's probably the preeminent critic of Anglo-American poetry in American academia.  You're too modest.

Bruce



Sent from my iPhone

> On Jun 27, 2014, at 3:03 PM, Richard Pine <rpinecorfu at yahoo.com> wrote:
> 
> 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.
> RP
> --------------------------------------------
> 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
> 
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> Sumantra,
> 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
> exams
> 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
> translation
> 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.
> Bruce
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