[ilds] Michael V. Diboll

James Gifford james.d.gifford at gmail.com
Sun Feb 1 15:18:02 PST 2015

Hi Bruce,

Indeed, it was spirited...  I've been looking through my old email files 
to confirm.  As for editing, I can only agree, but my hairy eyeball is 
pointed quite firmly to the press in this instance -- we all need good 

For the distinction they diverged on, with the Hosnanis standing in for 
the Wafd versus the Menasce family, I can only say I'd need to reread 
Mike's book to have a meaningful comment, now 10 years since I read it 
last.  That said, I do think some of his comments on Nasser and Suez 
will be shifted a bit by the Egyptian contents of the forthcoming /From 
the Elephant's Back/ -- but I'm in a dead sprint to meet deadlines, so I 
won't be turning back to Diboll's book this term!

If Mike's not still on the list, I likely have his current email, if you 
were looking to get in touch with him.

All best,

On 2015-02-01 2:59 PM, Bruce Redwine wrote:
> James,
> Yes, I recall Haag and Diboll (along with Pine) getting into a row over
> the /Wafd/ and its use as “allegory” in the /Quartet./  My memory is
> sketchy, probably inaccurate, but if I may put forth — where Diboll sees
> an allegorical connection between the /Wafd/ and the Hosnani family,
> Haag sees the Coptic Hosnanis as a screen for the wealthy Jews of
> Alexandria, namely, the Menasce family, via the Claude Vincendon link.
>   But now that I’ve read Diboll, I think he’s made a very strong case
> for his own analysis.  Haag will have to counter or adjust his argument,
> in my opinion.
> Diboll’s book, however, sorely needs a good editor.  It’s always
> dangerous to rely solely on one’s own judgments.  I believe Haag credits
> Claude as Durrell editor.  After her death, his work suffered from not
> having her expert attention.
> Bruce
>> On Feb 1, 2015, at 2:30 PM, James Gifford <james.d.gifford at gmail.com
>> <mailto:james.d.gifford at gmail.com>> wrote:
>> Hi Bruce,
>> Indeed, I read the book when Mike was preparing it for publication.
>>  The challenge with a press like Edwin Mellen is that it sees the
>> author as the ideal editor..., which is almost never viable.  It also
>> means the book is hard to get outside of libraries since the cost is high:
>> http://www.mellenpress.com/mellenpress.cfm?bookid=6100&pc=9
>> Diboll and Haag had a spirited dispute over the book in 2006 if anyone
>> wants to see the topics under discussion, but unfortunately, it was
>> the year before we migrated the list to its current home at UVic, so
>> there's no searchable institutional archive for it.
>> The ILDS has talked about producing a repository of materials. If it's
>> out of print, perhaps Mike would be interested in doing a revised
>> edition (are you on the list still, Mike?).
>> All best,
>> James
>> On 2015-02-01 11:24 AM, Bruce Redwine wrote:
>>> I’ve about finished reading Diboll’s /Lawrence Durrell’s /Alexandria
>>> Quartet/in Its Egyptian Contexts/ (2004) and am quite impressed with the
>>> book, although it has major flaws (stylistic, grammatical, scholarly).
>>>  Diboll’s main argument provides a historical background to the
>>> /Quartet/ and does great justice to Durrell’s depth of understanding re
>>> the British and Egyptian socio-political situation.  His analysis of the
>>> /Wafd/ (the nationalist/liberal party in Egypt, 1919-52) and the David
>>> Mountolive-Leila Hosnani “allegory” is persuasive.  I’m less
>>> enthusiastic about Diboll’s analogy between Durrell’s “African Darkenss”
>>> and Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness,” but this is a matter of interpretation
>>> and preference.  I like the way Diboll deals with Said’s “Orientalism”
>>> in reference to the /Quartet./  I’d also like to see the book reissued
>>> as a revised edition.  The argument, however, is repetitious and needs
>>> to be reduced by perhaps a quarter or more.  I highly recommend the
>>> book.  It certainly deserves recognition and a wide audience.
>>> Bruce
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>>> ILDS at lists.uvic.ca
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