[ilds] The Index to Prospero's Cell

Denise Tart & David Green dtart at bigpond.net.au
Tue Jul 22 15:51:17 PDT 2014

 "It was probably the same well-off Brits who read belles-lettres and could quote from memory their Horace.  Those were the ones who could appreciate Durrell's wit, his allusions, and his poetry.  That is to say, Patrick Leigh Fermor's friends, the classically educated, the upper crust, the retired officers who were looking for new adventures after defeating the Germans."

Bruce, absolutely agree with you about this. Durrell does not write for Orwell's miners and he quite consciously wrote for above as you describe. The inclusion of Gideon with a dog called Homer is a clear example of this, and Gideon is, I believe, another Durrell fabrication and one of his finest creations; the model of the crusty, almost retired but classically educated officer looking for adventures after the war and, like Durrell himself, Gideon enjoys a jar or six. Faber obviously knew Durrell's audience as did Fermor's. His walking tour has a remarkable number of castles, eccentric aristos etc in it, just as Larry's are filled with some real characters mixed with creations based on himself or his friends and acquaintances who are not of the hoi poloi. However, the way peasants feature prominently in Durrell's books deserves exploration; he identified with them in someway, somehow. While they are sometimes caricatures/stereotypes, there is an affection there and a regret that their world and time is passing.

Back to your point about N, she does not appear in the dedication in Prospero's Cell, despite clearly featuring in the book as Durrell's partner for whom you would expect some 'love and admiration'. One, she did not consent and, two, it was over by then and he would have incriminated himself he he had written about her more honesty (which is why Nancy said it was all lies). Durrell always worried about alimony and such so doesn't provide any ammunition. but the digs at N are, I think, subtly in there.

David Green
16 William Street
Marrickville NSW 2204
+61 2 9564 6165
0412 707 625

From: Bruce Redwine 
Sent: Wednesday, July 23, 2014 7:51 AM
To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca 
Cc: Bruce Redwine 
Subject: Re: [ilds] The Index to Prospero's Cell

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