[ilds] Alcoholism

david wilde wilded at hotmail.com
Tue Dec 1 09:08:10 PST 2015

My apologies for giving the 'wrong' citation.  It should have been: 

"In Arthurian legend the Fisher King, or the Wounded King, is the last in a long line charged with keeping the Holy Grail. Versions of his story vary widely, but he is always wounded in the legs or groin
 and incapable of moving on his own. In the Fisher King legends, he 
becomes impotent and unable to perform his task himself, and he also 
becomes unable to father or support a next generation to carry on after 
his death. His kingdom suffers as he does, his impotence affecting the fertility of the land and reducing it to a barren wasteland. All he is able to do is fish in the river near his castle, Corbenic,
 and wait for someone who might be able to heal him. Healing involves 
the expectation of the use of magic. Knights travel from many lands to 
heal the Fisher King, but only the chosen can accomplish the feat. This 
is Percival in earlier stories; in later versions, he is joined by Galahad and Bors.

Many works have two wounded "Grail Kings" who live in the same 
castle, a father and son (or grandfather and grandson). The more 
seriously wounded father stays in the castle, sustained by the Grail 
alone, while the more active son can meet with guests and go fishing. 
For the purposes of clarity in the remainder of this article, where both
 appear, the father will be called the Wounded King, the son the Fisher 

From: bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Date: Mon, 30 Nov 2015 11:56:45 -0800
To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca
CC: bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Subject: Re: [ilds] Alcoholism

Numbers?  Supporters?  I guess one can always says imagery is multivalent and the author omniscient.  But I tend to see Durrell’s “wound” usage in the primary context of his concerns about sex, sexuality, gender, and violence—all big topics of a personal nature.  I don’t see von Eschenbach’s story/myth about Parsifal’s pursuit of the Holy Grail as particularly relevant, unless you want to argue that Darley and his Alexandria are suffering from some kind of psychic impotence.  Could be the case, however.  If so, then the argument has to be made.  I believe we’re discussing where and what to emphasize.

On Nov 30, 2015, at 10:40 AM, david wilde <wilded at hotmail.com> wrote:Bruce.  Wouldn't wish to underestimate Mr Durrell.  Look at the numbers?  David Wilde
Date: Mon, 30 Nov 2015 12:50:10 -0500
From: frederick.schoff at gmail.com
To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca
Subject: Re: [ilds] Alcoholism

I would be interested!
BTW - I was starting an AQ reread and noticed in particular all the references to mirrors in the early section. Also, a great image of the Cohen character having slipped out of sight, like a piece shifting with a slight twist of the kaleidescope.
- Rick
On Mon, Nov 30, 2015 at 12:32 PM, sharbani banerjee(mukherjee) <sharbanibm at gmail.com> wrote:
Hi James, Thanks for the thesis note. Yes, I do have a digital copy in parts, which I need to compile together. I will surely do that if it interests anybody. I did a bit of work on Durrell's use of myth, his obsession with mirrors/reflections, use of the carnival as a trope etc
All the best
SharbaniOn 30-Nov-2015 9:14 pm, "Bruce Redwine" <bredwine1968 at gmail.com> wrote:
I believe James is referring to Carol Peirce’s “A Fellowship in Time:  Durrell, Eliot, and the Quest of the Grail,” in Lawrence Durrell:  Comprehending the Whole, ed. J. R. Raper, M. L. Encore, and P. M. Bynum (Columbia:  U of Missouri P, 1995):  70-81.  Good essay.  A Northrup Frye approach, Peirce discusses Durrell and the “Grail-quest” in the context of Eliot’s Waste Land and the Four Quartets.  She does not mention, however, Parsifal, the wound, and von Eschenbach.  Personally, I doubt Durrell intended the allusion, although possible.

On Nov 29, 2015, at 12:10 PM, James Gifford <james.d.gifford at gmail.com> wrote:
Hello all,

In haste before a book launch tonight...

I've always struggled a bit over the mythical elements of the Quartet. In one sense, gesturing to the Fisher King goes to the roots of Durrell's kinship with the High Modernists, and I see a lot of struggle with Eliot's influence across the books of the Quartet (discussed on this listserv in the past as well).  Carol Peirce probably did more to elucidate that side of things than anyone else.

At the same time, we can't forget that "sex" also means gender, and the books had the "bisexual love" modified to "modern love" late in the game, and the continuation of the epigram from Freud in his letters to Fliess for /Justine/ reads "As for bisexuality, I'm sure you are right."

Wounded in one's sex nicely carries across all those potential meanings, linking the Fisher King to bisexuality, to physical traumas -- all are key to the Quartet, and Durrell seems to have learned his lesson from the "newly god-like" Keats emerging from his shower: Negative Capability (in the real Keats' sense of the term).


On 2015-11-28 11:28 AM, david wilde wrote:
I understood/understand this remark refers to the well-known story of
Parsifal by Wolfram von Eschenbach
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parsifal).  David Wilde


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