[ilds] Melissa Artemis

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Fri May 8 10:25:02 PDT 2015

David and Sumantra,

My theory, which is in no way original, is that Justine and Clea are based primarily on real prototypes (Eve Cohen and Claude-Marie Vincendon) but that Melissa is fictional, or shall we say, a “projection” or “screen” in the Freudian sense.  Eve and Claude get dedications (Justine and Mountolive), Melissa gets poems and a burial in the “tepid sand of the black estuary” (Justine).  I’m tempted to say Melissa represents the kind of woman Durrell would like to have as a “helpmeet” (loving and pliant) but also the type he tends to abuse physically and mentally.  Nancy Myers, wife no. 1, is a kind of “Melissa.”  Of course, none of these fictional characters correspond exactly to actual people.  The Justine/Eve correspondence seems obvious, but as Ray Morrison once remarked, Eve Cohen Durrell, whom he met, was not the type of person to have a copy of Schopenhauer on her reading shelves, as Justine does.


> On May 7, 2015, at 3:50 PM, Denise Tart & David Green <dtart at bigpond.net.au> wrote:
> Sumantra,
> perhaps, in fact, Durrell cared more for Melissa and Clea than for Justine. If poetry is the higher form, Justine only makes prose.
> maybe the poems on Justine have been lost. What is your theory?
> By the way, I enjoy Durrell's poetry, much of it, especially his visceral responses to landscape/place. I get a bit lost in all the classical allusion stuff.
> Durrell likes to see people organically attached to both landscape and history, the rind of the ear goes much further than Melissa's brain. the small forevers go back in time
> to ancient times and the sea edge where Anthony and Cleopatra walked.
> David Whitewine
> 16 William Street
> Marrickville NSW 2204
> +61 2 9564 6165
> 0412 707 625
> From: Sumantra Nag <mailto:sumantranag at gmail.com>
> Sent: Friday, May 08, 2015 3:24 AM
> To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca <mailto:ilds at lists.uvic.ca>
> Cc: James Gifford <mailto:james.d.gifford at gmail.com> ; Bruce Redwine <mailto:bredwine1968 at earthlink.net> ; James Gifford <mailto:gifford at fdu.edu>
> Subject: Re: [ilds] ILDS Digest, Vol 97, Issue 6
> 'How many several small forevers
> Whispered in the rind of the ear
> Melissa, by this Mediterranean sea-edge, 
> Captured and told? 
> How many additions to the total silence?'
> I know the ILDS discussion forum is not prone to discussing Durrell's poetry in terms of detailed context.
> But lines such as these from his poetry surely have an organic link with the Alexandria Quartet, and attempts to address these lines might be rewarding in its own way.
> Durrell has mentioned Melissa more than once in his poems and Clea at least once,  but never Justine.
> Sumantra
> Sent from my Samsung Tab
> On 7 May 2015 21:35, "Sumantra Nag" <sumantranag at gmail.com <mailto:sumantranag at gmail.com>> wrote:
>> "The heart must be very old to feel so young."
>> Do you think Lawrence Durrell has got something here?
>> Sumantra
>> Sent from my Asus Zenfone

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