[ilds] Is D Durrell?

Kennedy Gammage gammage.kennedy at gmail.com
Thu Jul 24 10:16:03 PDT 2014

Thanks Bruce. Obviously SC is travel writing: a short term bus trip as a
tourist. CVG proves my point - he is writing about a place where he lived
for 30 years!

Just because we have to travel there doesn't make it travel writing per se.

Cheers - Ken

BTW, my own pathologically incoherent website www.travelogorrhea.com is a
travelogue of a family trip to Italy seven years ago. The last page
mentions Durrell.

On Thu, Jul 24, 2014 at 9:51 AM, Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net>

> David and Ken,
> As I've argued before, I don't think Count D. ended up being a "composite"
> character.  He may have begun that way, but the shift from "C" to "D," as
> Anna points out, indicates Durrell's final intentions.  The Count is
> Durrell in disguise, and that penchant for creating various personae
> continues throughout his long career.  My argument boils down to the "duck
> test":  "If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a
> duck, then it is a duck."  This seems obvious to me.
> I agree with David's description of Durrell's use of "peasant."  He uses
> the term positively.  My sense of the word, however, based on American
> usage, conjures up images of rustics working in the fields, probably in
> some European setting.  I think of Van Gogh's painting of women planting
> potatoes or his *Potato Eaters.*  We don't use *peasant* in the States,
> maybe because of its association with class distinctions.  We Americans
> like to think of ourselves as living in a classless society, which is
> entirely false, of course.
> Ken makes a good point about travel literature.  "Island books" seems a
> more accurate classification, but then you run into the problem of his last
> work, *Caesar's Vast Ghost, *situated in Provence.  Paul Hogarth's *Mediterranean
> Shore:  Travels in Lawrence Durrell Country* (1988), which Durrell
> participated in, seems to solve the problem.  Durrell found his *deus
> loci* around the Mediterranean, as defined by the habitat of the olive,
> as he says in *Sicilian Carousel:  *"What we mean when we use the word
> Mediterranean starts there, starts at the first vital point when
> Athens enthrones the olive as its reigning queen and Greek husbandry draws
> its first breath" (65).  Beautiful.  Durrell's way of thinking is often
> Keatsian, very sensual, crushing the grape kind of thing.
> Bruce
> On Jul 24, 2014, at 12:45 AM, Denise Tart & David Green <
> dtart at bigpond.net.au> wrote:
> Anna,
> thanks for the reminder about Count D being a composite character (as were
> a number of LD's characters). I think the change from Count C to count D
> gave Durrell more latitude with character in that he could put more of his
> creativity into the character and not be beholden a real person as I agree
> with James that Larry was careful of his audience and certainly less daring
> than Miller (although pulled back from publishing Air-conditioned nightmare
> until after the war).
> Durrell's 'I' is also a carefully edited version of himself. Durrell does
> not like to provide too much ammunition.
> To Marc Piel, I do not see the word peasant as pejorative, but merely
> descriptive; defining the rural poor. Durrell may simplify them for his
> readership but he does not piss on them. In England and Australia (actually
> here most people don't know what the term means) the term is pejorative,
> but I don't think Durrell uses the word this way. He appears to have had
> good relationships with the peasants in Greece and I agree with James that
> he enjoyed their company (see Clito's wine bar in BL for example). He could
> speak Greek and did not, as far as I can make out, condescend. Now, Peasant
> is a French word. you will know what it means and whether it is pejorative
> or not in your country. For Durrell it is often an endearment.
> David Whitewine
> Sent from my iPad
> On 24 Jul 2014, at 2:24 am, Anna Lillios <anna at ucf.edu> wrote:
> Two notes:
> 1)  PROSPERO'S CELL can be considered in the genre of travel books written
> by British travelers to Greece, beginning with Lord Byron.  As a grad.
> student I read around 50 of these travelogues and found that the authors
> follow a pattern: there's a search for spiritual illumination among
> classical landscapes, criticism of local Greeks for not living up their
> literary forebears, use of classical allusions and metaphors, etc.  In a
> sense, PROSPERO'S CELL goes against this grain, in that Durrell appreciated
> the contemporary citizens of Greece and their culture.
> 2)  Years ago (maybe in 1988), I accompanied Ian and Susan as they
> searched for traces of Durrell's life in Corfu.  We met relatives of the
> aristocratic family members, including the Palatianos, with whom Durrell
> hobnobbed in Corfu town and visited a house that "Count D" possibly
> inhabited.  In his biography of Durrell, Ian claims that Count D was "not
> based on a single individual, but is apparently a composite character
> grounded on several of Larry's Corfiote friends, despite the fact that
> Larry would identify the original of the Count to Henry Miller as his old
> friend Dr. Palatiano" (MacNiven 293) [LD to HM, c. October 1945, DML 186].
>  Durrell originally labeled the Count as "C" in one draft and then changed
> his name to "D" in the final.  Palatiano's first name was Constantine.
>    Anna
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