[ilds] Re all gone mainstream?

James Gifford james.d.gifford at gmail.com
Tue May 5 14:32:11 PDT 2015


Good observations, Robin!  I'd only add that the debates of London & New 
York have their parallels elsewhere in the world as well, even if we 
limit ourselves to English literature alone.

A related question for us here might be who's reading Durrell today, and 
then writing?  Rushdie, McEwan, & Amis aren't really the types to 
promote Durrell's work, but there's a kinship as well, especially their 
generational camaraderie with each other.  Who is today's Cortázar 
reading Durrell and making something new?  In Canada, I'd say M.G. 
Vassanji did this to a degree, but in the UK I don't know if we can see 
the "achieved" generation of Rushdie et al. as looking back to the 30s & 
40s writers in the same way we can see that generation looking back to 
the High Modernists or Auden group.

I'm fortunate here in Vancouver in that we had a definite generation 
following after the Beats (in the TISH group & such), and to some extent 
there's a clear generation active now in their shadow, but at the same 
time the cultural complexity of a city like Vancouver means there are 
many excellent writers entirely uninterested in that aesthetic and its 
politics, either by carrying traditions from the culturally "elsewhere" 
or by being more local (indigenous) than the locals.  None of them, so 
far as I can tell, are particularly interested in a 40s generation after 
Auden and before the Beats.

Then again, how many people from Durrell's generation commanded the 
publishing houses and magazines in the way we've seen the high 
modernists or your exemplars do?  If Durrell had boosters publishing 
regularly in the Guardian, TLS, or LRB, it might be a different story. 
His generation was pressed between 'em.

Best,
James

On 2015-05-03 1:50 PM, Robin W Collins wrote:
> I'd have to disagree. Maybe the barricades have changed as have the debates, but there's a pretty good contemporary divide that rivals that of the 30s and 40s. It's not reds vs fascists or reds vs anarchists or quite the same Left vs Right split or a the itentical split within the Left but it's a pretty good fight. Free speech, religious dogmatism, blood and identity politics.
>
> On one side Rushdie and McEwan and Amis (and the deceased Hitchens) and many nervous nellies on the other side. The current split within PEN over Charlie Hebdo recognition is part of the same and is as good as it gets, maybe even more complex than yore. Read Katha Pollitt's piece in The Nation in support of the PEN award. A good old fashioned fistacuffs.  And on we go...
>
> Robin


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