[ilds] Bisexual Love

Kennedy Gammage gammage.kennedy at gmail.com
Tue Jul 22 08:08:17 PDT 2014


Marc writes “I have just read this again; Never did it occur to me that it
was a "joke", nor about bisexuality. As well as that It is a citation of
what Theodore says, so cannot be attributed to LD.
@+
Marc”

I wanted to respond because I think this raises several issues of interest
– and yes I am aware that language issues are also at play. For instance,
even though this e-mail thread references bisexuality, the immediate two
preceding e-mails (mine then Bruce’s) refer instead to bestiality, which is
the subject of the joke.

And yes, I think it is a deliberate joke. There are many such jokes about
having sex with ewes. One of them has the punchline “Sheep lie.” Another,
referring to a Scotsman’s kilt, says “Sheep can hear a zipper a mile away.”

I say deliberate because of the way Durrell sets up the joke by referring
to his friend Theodore’s ‘academic manner.’ But the statement of Marc’s I
particularly disagree with is that it cannot be attributed to LD. Obviously
he is the author of the book, and it is his written voice describing the
incident. When Durrell writes “He records a conversation…” (he being
Stephanides) he is framing the entire multi-paragraph joke dated 15.8.38 –
which pays off as Bruce says with the shepherd’s statement, which is the
final sentence of the chapter. This is the punchline of the joke.

I wanted to ask Marc about the @+ symbol above his name. I googled it but
nothing came up – is it an emoticon of some sort? I wondered if it was a
‘wink’ indicating that Marc was being facetious, as I was attempting to be
with my own bestiality/something nasty comment.

Cheers - Ken



On Tue, Jul 22, 2014 at 2:22 AM, Marc Piel <marc at marcpiel.fr> wrote:

> I have just read this again; Never did it occur to me that it was a
> "joke", nor about bisexaulity.
> As well as that It is a citation of what Theodore says, so cannot be
> attributed to LD.
> @+
> Marc
>
> Envoyé de mon iPad
>
> Le 22 juil. 2014 à 05:00, Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net> a
> écrit :
>
> Which reminds me of that joke in *Prospero's Cell* about a shepherd and
> his favorite ewe (end of ch. 6).  The punch line gets two for one —
> bestiality and misogyny.
>
> Bruce
>
>
>
> On Jul 21, 2014, at 6:50 PM, Kennedy Gammage <gammage.kennedy at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>
> Well - thank God it wasn't bestiality or something really nasty!
>
> Cheers - Ken
>
>
> On Mon, Jul 21, 2014 at 2:41 PM, Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>
>> This analysis is similar to Haag's, as cited below, dated 4/8/07.  He
>> explains it well.  One can approach the topic of bisexuality as Durrell's
>> theory or interpretation of the "modern" condition, be it social or
>> personal.  Or one can look at it autobiographically.  Pine quotes Durrell:
>>  "My books are a sort of spiritual autobiography, not only of myself as an
>> individual, but of my age.  What I want to inspect is the secret intuitions
>> of my readers, male and female" *(Mindscape,* 2nd ed., p. 26).  (Pine's
>> book, incidentally, is a real mine of information about LD.)  I see a lot
>> of fleshiness in Durrell's notion of "spiritual" and would assign a
>> behavioral meaning to "secret intuitions."  From the flesh to the spirit,
>> as Augustine's *Confessions* shows and as Chaucer writes in his famous
>> *Prologue* — both writers very familiar to Durrell.  As to the Greek
>> myths, Freud used them as a paradigm for his theory of sexuality as seen in
>> the Oedipus complex.  And Philip Slater in *The Glory of Hera* uses the
>> myths to explain ancient Greek male psychology and the role of women in
>> that society.  In short, it might be useful get below the surface meaning
>> of Durrell's notion of "bisexuality."  Whichever approach, it's a matter of
>> reader's choice.  "Sink or swim," as the author says.
>> Bruce
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> On Jul 21, 2014, at 11:09 AM, Lee Sternthal <lasternthal at gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>>
>> Dare I say this is a far more productive start to a conversation on
>> sexuality in LDs work than the previous one.
>>
>> Sexuality can be literal, emotional, pyschological, political or some
>> combination of all of these, as we know.  Bisexuality itself makes for a
>> wonderful open metaphor for storytellers in all genres, numerous examples
>> can be cited.  A writer so obviously concerned with freedom, the protean
>> nature of the human personality and the ever changing (chaotic) world will
>> find a lot to draw out from in the exploration of sexuality in fiction,
>> whether they were engaging in bisexuality or not in their life.  Also,
>> obviously Greek myth, literature and culture has been far more open about
>> the paradigm of sexuality than most other western societies.
>>
>> So I'd still be very careful about what conclusions are drawn, but, again
>> I think this is a far more productive way to begin to investigate the issue
>> as it relates to the work and the author.
>>
>> -L
>>
>> On Jul 21, 2014, at 10:56 AM, Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net>
>> wrote:
>>
>> James,
>>
>> Thanks for the confirmation.  The change from "bisexual" to "modern" is
>> very important in Durrellian studies and really needs to be formalized in a
>> publication, one which can be easily cited.  The obvious place for that is *Deus
>> Loci.*  I'm truly amazed your essay was rejected, which strikes me as a
>> serious error in editorial responsibility.  Good luck on getting your essay
>> published.  I assume it will include a full analysis of the topic in
>> Durrell's works.  Please let me know when it does.
>>
>> Michael Haag's discussion of the topic, as cited below, is very good,
>> although I'm not completely satisfied with his explanation.  He confines
>> himself to a philosophical or literary analysis of Durrell's attitude to
>> bisexuality.  Seems to me there's more than that.  Briefly, why the
>> obsession with bisexuality?  Why make it a cornerstone of one's personal
>> philosophy?
>>
>> Bruce
>>
>>
>>
>> On Jul 21, 2014, at 10:21 AM, James Gifford <james.d.gifford at gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>>
>> Hi Bruce,
>>
>> It's confirmed.  There's a ts. variant of the note in Victoria, and
>> Charles Sligh has confirmed the "bisexual love" phrase for the note to
>> Balthazar from the British Library holdings (I'll check this with him case
>> it was actually Carbondale...  I could be mistaken).
>>
>> I've tried to publish on this, but peer review brought out some squeamish
>> readers.  That's not unusual in work on Durrell.
>>
>> It's worth noting how pervasive the discussion of bisexuality is in
>> Durrell's works. It's there in /Pied Piper of Lovers/, and the character
>> Pamela is based on a bisexual friend of Durrell's, and it's there right
>> through the Avignon Quintet.
>>
>> As for the ILDS listserv, indeed the Google search function is handy!  I
>> use it regularly, and tracking shows it gets a great deal of use generally
>> as well!
>>
>> All best,
>> James
>>
>> On 2014-07-21, 8:47 AM, Bruce Redwine wrote:
>>
>> According to Michael Haag on 4/8/07 (ILDS list), "[Durrell] originally
>> wanted /Justine/ to be described as 'an investigation of bisexual love,'
>> but Faber objected and so it became the anodyne and meaningless
>> 'investigation of modern love.'"  Haag is referring to the Note at the
>> beginning of the 1958 edition of /Balthazar./
>>
>> What is Haag's source for this claim (original MS? letter? interview?
>> etc.) — indeed, has it been verified? — and has this claim been
>> published anywhere?  If so, what is the citation?  Neither Bowker nor
>> MacNiven mention the change from "bisexual" to "modern" in their
>> biographies.
>>
>> By the way, the Google search function on the ILDS website is most
>> helpful!  My thanks to the webmaster.
>>
>> Thanks,
>>
>> Bruce
>>
>>
>> _______________________________________________
>> ILDS mailing list
>> ILDS at lists.uvic.ca
>> https://lists.uvic.ca/mailman/listinfo/ilds
>>
>>
>>
> _______________________________________________
> ILDS mailing list
> ILDS at lists.uvic.ca
> https://lists.uvic.ca/mailman/listinfo/ilds
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> ILDS mailing list
> ILDS at lists.uvic.ca
> https://lists.uvic.ca/mailman/listinfo/ilds
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> ILDS mailing list
> ILDS at lists.uvic.ca
> https://lists.uvic.ca/mailman/listinfo/ilds
>
>
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.uvic.ca/pipermail/ilds/attachments/20140722/3998a375/attachment.html>


More information about the ILDS mailing list