[ilds] Note re: the name “Aubrey”

James Gifford james.d.gifford at gmail.com
Sun May 31 20:53:55 PDT 2015

Hi Bruce & Ken,

Since I technically am a "Don Gifford," I feel like I need to respond to 
this one (I devilishly enjoy pointing out that my father is Don Gifford 
when I'm at the Modernist Studies Association conferences, just not 
/that/ Don).

Might I suggest the MVP Ulysses?


Apart from the text, we have a whole series of videos including ILDS 
members James Clawson, Alan Warren Friedman, and Michael Stevens.

Charles could indeed elaborate, but perhaps we'll get Clawson to chime 
in as well -- he was in the NEH Ulysses seminar in Dublin just after the 
centenary conference in London.

Durrell could very well be thinking of Joyce, and his CalTech lectures 
included a detailed consideration of Ulysses (a *very* Durrellian 
version of Joyce, albeit).  As for Joyce thinking of Wilde, he did have 
Dorian Gray in his library in Trieste and the Italian translation.

On 2015-05-31 3:47 PM, Bruce Redwine wrote:
> 1.  How is Aubrey Blanford effeminate in the Joycean sense of an Aubrey
> Beardsley and/or Oscar Wilde?

I don't suspect he is, and I doubt Durrell would have been reading Don 
Gifford, though who knows.  It wasn't in his library for Carbondale nor 
Paris X.

> 2.  Why does Blanford refer to /Ulysses/ as “Joyce’s masterpiece”
> /(Sebastian/ 126) and later as “that odious book” (131)?  Simply irony?

"Odious" might be an allusion, but the word has been applied to Ulysses 
so many times, especially around the trials, we'd probably need to 
consult the Joyce scholars to sort out what voice came first and if it 
would be pertinent here.

> 3.  Is Durrell rewriting or taking-on the Joycean novel (a worthy
> opponent in literary prizefighting), and, if so, is there a close
> connection between the author and his alter ego, Aubrey Blanford?  (“So
> D. begat Blanford.”)

To use a Joycean word, "Yes."  There is, of course, a close connection 
between Joyce and Stephen, and I think Durrell (like Miller) saw Joyce 
as one of the Bloomian strong poets to be redefined through a stronger 
misprision.  I don't usually go for Bloom, but in this situation I think 
he applies remarkably well.

I'm reminded that the Quartet ends with (or almost ends with) the same 
words that open /A Portrait of the Artist/, much as Justine (revised) 
ends with the same final words as Pound's Canto I.  Durrell was keenly 
aware of this modernist forebears and their influence, to be carried or 
corrupted.  More often than not, I think he was conducting that 
corrupting misprision.

All best,

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