[ilds] Alcoholism

Denise Tart & David Green dtart at bigpond.net.au
Thu Nov 26 12:25:05 PST 2015

I am pleased you think so, William. None of those sayings were included to be glib.
Highly intelligent and creative people, eg Durrell , can often find life disappointing, boring and most people dull. Tedium vitae, ennui - call it what you will. I believe Durrell drank for this reason and for all the usual reasons. But there was with him a deliberate drunkenness, perhaps a revolt against modern times as well a the desire for 'creative madness'. After the second war, the old order changeth, giving place to knew: by breakfast serials and soft drinks appeared, car driven urbanisation began destroying old landscapes. In Reflections, Gideon rants against Coca Cola. A new Puritanism flowed out of America like a vast river, the effects of which continue to be felt today. Durrell's Provençal drinking style was in part a revolt against this. Look too at how his last great set of novels Q5 hearkens back to an older world just as Caesars Vast Ghost is a tribute to the old south. I think for Larry, happiness, the right way of living were in a literal and metaphysical sense in the past. Alcohol helped him cope with present and maybe too, the future. 


Sent from my iPad

> On 27 Nov 2015, at 3:06 am, William Apt <billyapt at gmail.com> wrote:
> "I drink to make other people interesting." Now that's some high level stuff! 
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>> On Nov 26, 2015, at 12:33 AM, Denise Tart & David Green <dtart at bigpond.net.au> wrote:
>> Ah, alcohol, my favourite subject. Well, one of them. Marc Piel  is right. There is big difference between sipping on the wine and hitting the whiskey. Two and a half bottles of wine taken over a long day - Durrell started about 10am - will not cause drunkenness in a seasoned drinker as Durrell was and was a level of daily consumption not uncommon in Provence then and indeed now. But if you put the Vieux Marc, a strong spirit, on top of this things get ugly and from my research, this is when lord Larry could become an ugly drunk as Sappho and others attest. Durrell lived in age of heavy drinking and smoking which in our increasingly sanitised, health conscious world is hard to imagine. It may be he did not stand out all that much among his own set. Ok, a toper is a big drinker, not necessarily a drunkard. There an element of the heroic about it with the Viking God Thor described as a mighty eater and toper. As to the cliche of the alcoholic writer; many are alcoholics, some are writers, others builders labourers, some academics or school teachers and others even leaders of nations. What makes people alcoholics, and I think Durrell was one all his adult life, is not easy to answer but in terra Australis we have a few sayings: beer makes you feel the way you should feel without beer, I drink to make other people interesting, a day without wine is a day without sunshine, the purpose of wine is to bring happiness to man - and so on. Durrell was a pisspot, his brother was worse but not violent. Larry was ok on the wine but when got seriously onto to hard stuff there was often, as the Irish say, a fight in every bottle.
>> David Whitewine - Richmond Grove Chardonnay.
>> Sent from my iPad
>>> On 26 Nov 2015, at 2:17 pm, Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net> wrote:
>>> James,
>>> 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.
>>> Bruce
>>>> 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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