[ilds] Alcoholism

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Wed Nov 25 19:17:46 PST 2015


I’m not sure what you mean by “an ethical issue.”  That is not what I’m talking about, rather what drove Durrell to alcoholism.  The cause is what interests me.  On the other hand, as a critic pointed out long ago, Durrell’s “toper” in Bitter Lemons is espoused as a big virtue.  (I'm relying on memory here and could have it wrong.”)  My understanding of British toper is that it refers to a “drunkard.”  Maybe the British sense also connotes being able to “hold one’s own.”  That is, a kind of “manliness.”  Drink in Hemingway is excess, to wit, Colonel Cantrell’s drinking problems in Across the River.  I don’t see any “self-censorship” involved, although the colonel’s heart disease may be mitigating factor.


> On Nov 25, 2015, at 6:06 PM, James Gifford <james.d.gifford at gmail.com> wrote:
> I wonder if it's worth considering the ethical element here as well. Surely alcoholism is not an ethical issue in itself -- very often people will act out in ethically dubious ways due to their addictions, but the addiction itself is ethically neutral.
> Durrell drank, and while that certainly shaped some of his bad behavior, it's not really a thing unto itself.  Someone like Lowry made alcoholism an integral part of the work.  Hemingway made drink figure in the text as a marker for self-censorship.  Durrell, Joyce, Barnes, et al. don't strike me in the same way.
> Cheers,
> James
> On 2015-11-25 5:11 PM, Marc Piel wrote:
>> Surely you cannot compare wine (11°) and whisky(>45°)
>> Marc
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