[ilds] ILDS Digest, Vol 103, Issue 18

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Wed Nov 25 15:02:20 PST 2015


 Looking through my MINDSCAPE (revised edition) I am struck by the frequency of the references to, and dicussion of, madness. Especially the chapter devoted to TUNC and NUNQUAM. But LD's own ideas about madness can be found in a notebook which may date as early as 1939: ?madnessis merely a revolution in behaviour, not an interior schism or disease?. Also, in my discussion of the QUINTET, I pay much attention to the characters of Livia and Sylvie: ?frozeninto the total madness of insight?.: ?though she has very distinct marks of madness in her look one alwaysfeels that to call her insane would be to put all ontology to the question?. Sobering words. LD himself, as I say in the book, was, while writing TUNC and NUNQUAM, afraid that he himself was not merely "on the edge of madness" but about to topple in. His very clearly drunken notes from that period, and from his very last notebook, make it clear to me that he was quite frightened by this, exarcebated as it was by the theme running through TUNC/NUNQUAM, that civilisation itself was enetring a period of madness.
RP

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Subject: ILDS Digest, Vol 103, Issue 18

Send ILDS mailing list submissions to	ilds at lists.uvic.caTo subscribe or unsubscribe via the World Wide Web, visit	https://lists.uvic.ca/mailman/listinfo/ildsor, via email, send a message with subject or body 'help' to	ilds-request at lists.uvic.caYou can reach the person managing the list at	ilds-owner at lists.uvic.caWhen replying, please edit your Subject line so it is more specificthan "Re: Contents of ILDS digest..."Today's Topics: 1. Re: Indian Mertaphysics (Rick Schoff) 2. Alcoholism (James Gifford) 3. Re: Alcoholism (Bruce Redwine)----------------------------------------------------------------------Message: 1Date: Wed, 25 Nov 2015 08:40:40 -0500From: Rick Schoff To: james.d.gifford at gmail.com, ilds at lists.uvic.caSubject: Re: [ilds] Indian MertaphysicsMessage-ID:	Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"As new to the list, I find these discussions fascinating. As I'vementioned, I am simply an avid reader of Durrell, and have reread thefiction in particular many times. I've read one informative but notparticularly interesting bigraphy, as well as numerous articles aboutDurrell over the years. I recently found a copy of Richard Pine's"Mindscape" and look forward to reading that.In reading comments by scholars, some of whom spent ime with Durrell, andseeing issues raised such as professed unhappiness, boredom, violence infiction and real life, and self-loathing - I couldn't help but recallnumerous references over the years to Durrell's use of alcohol. I oftenhesitate to read biographical material about artists whose work I greatlyadmire, but having delved a little into Durrell's life, I couldn't helpwondering what effect Durrell's alleged steady drinking might have had onhis life and work. I understand he was a ferociously intelligent man withboundless energy, who led a fascinatingly exotic life. I saw one comment bysomeone who knew him (I don't recall who) that relayed that when writingDurrell lived on the 'edge of madness'. I couldn't help but wonder aboutthe psycholgocal aspects.For many reasons, I proffer this issue very tentatively, but my interestand curiosity have gotten the better of me. 'Alcohol and the writer' isalmost a cliche, but I don't find anything of Durrell's cliched. He was anoriginal.- Rick SchoffOn Mon, Nov 23, 2015 at 3:09 PM, James Gifford wrote:> Hello all,>> These are helpful comments, Gulshan. One small correction -- the> "Forgetting A Homeless Colonial" is my own piece in /jouvert/, which is> online:>> http://english.chass.ncsu.edu/jouvert/v6i1-2/giffor.htm>> I'm glad to hear it was of use! For anyone who doesn't know, the /Pied> Piper of Lovers/ and /Panic Spring/ editions are in stock for the various> European Amazon sites via their lightning service. I don't think that> applies to India, but they're still very much in print.>> I'm also glad for your comments on Elizabeth Gilbert. What you call> touching innocence is really a material legacy of colonialism. We have> this in Canada as well, and it's at least good for tourism revenues, but it> incurs costs too... I tend to see Durrell as very clear eyed on that point> in its various complexities.>> All best,> James> _______________________________________________> ILDS mailing list> ILDS at lists.uvic.ca> https://lists.uvic.ca/mailman/listinfo/ilds>-------------- next part --------------An HTML attachment was scrubbed...URL: ------------------------------Message: 2Date: Wed, 25 Nov 2015 07:48:57 -0800From: James Gifford To: ilds at lists.uvic.caSubject: [ilds] AlcoholismMessage-ID: <5655D869.5040800 at gmail.com>Content-Type: text/plain; charset=windows-1252; format=flowedWelcome to the listserv Rick!The alcoholic writer can be a cliche mainly because there are so many ready examples (Hemingway, Faulkner, Joyce, Djuna Barnes, Lowry, &c.). Often there can be a tendency to diagnose from a distance (self-medicating for depression & such), but I'm dubious of those kinds of conversations with dead people. I've never been sure how to read the matter in the fiction for Durrell -- for Hemingway, "drunk" or "tight" carry broader meanings, almost allegorical, and certainly a conscious part of the construction of the text. I don't really see the same in Durrell, although it could be interesting to be convinced otherwise.There is a bit of shift in alcohol across the works as well. In /Pied Piper of Lovers/ (1935) there isn't much alcohol at all, apart from a peculiar cocktail at a party (bunny hug) and a first juvenile indulgence. By /Panic Spring/ (1937), there's an empty bottle of gin, but not for Durrell's alter ego Walsh. From around the same time biographically, Theodore Stephanides recounts Durrell and Miller discovering a Corfiot cafe with much English gin, to their great satisfaction (in Stephanides' memoirs from James Brigham's papers).After that, all bets are off... Biographically, MacNiven presents the mid-1950s as particularly liquid and the 1980s as especially so, for different reasons.All best,JamesOn 2015-11-25 5:40 AM, Rick Schoff wrote:> As new to the list, I find these discussions fascinating. As I've> mentioned, I am simply an avid reader of Durrell, and have reread the> fiction in particular many times. I've read one informative but not> particularly interesting bigraphy, as well as numerous articles about> Durrell over the years. I recently found a copy of Richard Pine's> "Mindscape" and look forward to reading that.>> In reading comments by scholars, some of whom spent ime with Durrell,> and seeing issues raised such as professed unhappiness, boredom,> violence in fiction and real life, and self-loathing - I couldn't help> but recall numerous references over the years to Durrell's use of> alcohol. I often hesitate to read biographical material about artists> whose work I greatly admire, but having delved a little into Durrell's> life, I couldn't help wondering what effect Durrell's alleged steady> drinking might have had on his life and work. I understand he was a> ferociously intelligent man with boundless energy, who led a> fascinatingly exotic life. I saw one comment by someone who knew him (I> don't recall who) that relayed that when writing Durrell lived on the> 'edge of madness'. I couldn't help but wonder about the psycholgocal> aspects.>> For many reasons, I proffer this issue very tentatively, but my interest> and curiosity have gotten the better of me. 'Alcohol and the writer' is> almost a cliche, but I don't find anything of Durrell's cliched. He was> an original.>> - Rick Schoff------------------------------Message: 3Date: Wed, 25 Nov 2015 09:18:34 -0800From: Bruce Redwine To: James Gifford ,	James Gifford	Cc: Bruce Redwine Subject: Re: [ilds] AlcoholismMessage-ID: <8DA02DE7-300C-4C9C-8468-909E42C276A1 at earthlink.net>Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"In his latter years, alcoholism became a big problem for Durrell. Read his memoir A Smile in the Mind?s Eye (1980) and you?ll see his own account of much alcohol he was consuming on a daily basis. I seem to recall it was in excess of 2 1/2 bottles of wine a day. Living "on the edge of madness? is Sappho Jane Durrell?s expression. She also calls her father a ?demonic and aggressive drunkard? (Granta 37 [1991]) and says he used his liver ?like a punching bag.? I don?t recall alcohol becoming a fixture of Durrell?s writings until Bitter Lemons (1957), where I first learned the British term toper. A critic at the time pointed out its prominent use. Durrell and alcohol make me think of Lytton Strachey?s End of General Gordon (1918). The general had two obsessions: the Old Testament and the whiskey bottle. He would periodically go off on his binges. Strachey comments that ?the true drunkenness lay elsewhere.? ?Elsewhere? was not a matter of religiosity, rather some un! defined personal ?demon.? Same with Durrell, in my opinion.Bruce> On Nov 25, 2015, at 7:48 AM, James Gifford  wrote:> > Welcome to the listserv Rick!> > The alcoholic writer can be a cliche mainly because there are so many ready examples (Hemingway, Faulkner, Joyce, Djuna Barnes, Lowry, &c.). Often there can be a tendency to diagnose from a distance (self-medicating for depression & such), but I'm dubious of those kinds of conversations with dead people. I've never been sure how to read the matter in the fiction for Durrell -- for Hemingway, "drunk" or "tight" carry broader meanings, almost allegorical, and certainly a conscious part of the construction of the text. I don't really see the same in Durrell, although it could be interesting to be convinced otherwise.> > There is a bit of shift in alcohol across the works as well. In /Pied Piper of Lovers/ (1935) there isn't much alcohol at all, apart from a peculiar cocktail at a party (bunny hug) and a first juvenile indulgence. By /Panic Spring/ (1937), there's an empty bottle of gin, but not for Durrell's alter ego Walsh. From around the same time biographically, Theodore Stephanides recounts Durrell and Miller discovering a Corfiot cafe with much English gin, to their great satisfaction (in Stephanides' memoirs from James Brigham's papers).> > After that, all bets are off... Biographically, MacNiven presents the mid-1950s as particularly liquid and the 1980s as especially so, for different reasons.> > All best,> James> > On 2015-11-25 5:40 AM, Rick Schoff wrote:>> As new to the list, I find these discussions fascinating. As I've>> mentioned, I am simply an avid reader of Durrell, and have reread the>> fiction in particular many times. I've read one informative but not>> particularly interesting bigraphy, as well as numerous articles about>> Durrell over the years. I recently found a copy of Richard Pine's>> "Mindscape" and look forward to reading that.>> >> In reading comments by scholars, some of whom spent ime with Durrell,>> and seeing issues raised such as professed unhappiness, boredom,>> violence in fiction and real life, and self-loathing - I couldn't help>> but recall numerous references over the years to Durrell's use of>> alcohol. I often hesitate to read biographical material about artists>> whose work I greatly admire, but having delved a little into Durrell's>> life, I couldn't help wondering what effect Durrell's alleged steady>> drinking might have had on his life and work. I understand he was a>> ferociously intelligent man with boundless energy, who led a>> fascinatingly exotic life. I saw one comment by someone who knew him (I>> don't recall who) that relayed that when writing Durrell lived on the>> 'edge of madness'. I couldn't help but wonder about the psycholgocal>> aspects.>> >> For many reasons, I proffer this issue very tentatively, but my interest>> and curiosity have gotten the better of me. 'Alcohol and the writer' is>> almost a cliche, but I don't find anything of Durrell's cliched. He was>> an original.>> >> - Rick Schoff-------------- next part --------------An HTML attachment was scrubbed...URL: ------------------------------Subject: Digest Footer_______________________________________________ILDS mailing listILDS at lists.uvic.cahttps://lists.uvic.ca/mailman/listinfo/ilds------------------------------End of ILDS Digest, Vol 103, Issue 18*************************************
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