[ilds] Remembering Lawrence Durrell, Predictor of our Postmodern World_By Peter Pomerantsev 6/25/2012

G. R. Taneja grtaneja47 at hotmail.com
Sun Dec 6 10:17:45 PST 2015



Sumantra:

Thanks
for the link to Peter
Pomerantsev’s Newsweek write-up . I looked
it up. But Durrell  equally easily
provides quotations wherein he would affirm that he was essentially spiritually
an Englishman at heart and advise others never to bother about India if they
wanted to understand _him_ or _his_ books. This doesn't really take the
discussion any further or add anything to it. 

 

"
... his inheritance as a third generation Anglo-Irish in India, influenced the
way that he looked at the world.”

 

This
question of third generation inheritance and its influence needs looking into.
Perhaps others can explain its meaning as well significance in the context of
Durrell. I wonder if Englishmen, obsessed with the inescapable burden of
"class,"  did ever think that they were  inheritors of any
socio-cultural influence that they would take home when they leave India. Their
best efforts for their children were to protect them from the threats that
local filth, and an inferior local culture posed to them and their children.
Also, the existence of Indian English accent--the natives speaking
English to communicate--in the kitchen and the streets to which English
children were exposed as they interacted with servants and native children,
made it imperative that they were sent back "home" to preserve as much
as the purity of accent as much as  the
purity of English-Christian character !  

The
foreigners in India lived literally in "ghettoes" and had very little
social interaction with the natives.  I think even a third generation
Englishman remained untouched by any cultural inheritance that he might possible
have acquired.  Certainly not Durrell, in my opinion,  despite the
fact that he  was  born in India, and  his  both parents were born in India,
too.

Peter Pomerantsev’s
Newsweek write-up does everything that journalism is expected to: it is a breezy,
delightful read, has the right mix of regretful nostalgia to whip up guilt and curiosity
about something that the reader has missed and is now grateful to be told. It
is duly dramatized through his quoted conversation with the organiser of the
Durrell event to which he went. Pomerantsev is right to focus on the
experimental nature of AQ—but Durrell was not a pioneer in using  self-conscious literary technique, which had
been one of the major hallmarks of modernism since Joyce and before. 

But of
course there is some merit to widely divergent views on an author. That Durrell
has depth and lends himself to varied readings, chiefly,  makes reading him an interesting
experience. 



Warmly,

G R Taneja


In-between Website: 
<http://sites.google.com/site/inbetweeneslc>



G. R. Taneja 
 /  Editor

In-between: Essays & Studies in Literary Criticism

Department
 of English, R. L. A. College, University of Delhi

Anand Niketan 
Colony, Benito Juarez Marg,

New Delhi-110 021,  India 

From: sumantranag at gmail.com
To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca
Date: Sat, 5 Dec 2015 13:44:25 +0530
CC: james.d.gifford at gmail.com; bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Subject: [ilds] Remembering Lawrence Durrell,	Predictor of our Postmodern World_By Peter Pomerantsev 6/25/2012



http://www.newsweek.com/remembering-lawrence-durrell-predictor-our-postmodern-world-65077 ‘Durrell’s characters suffer as they try to negotiate their multiverse, twisting themselves painfully to reconcile the impossible and dying in the contortions. It’s a crisis Durrell went through himself, growing up a third-generation Anglo-Irish colonial in India.’ “I have an Indian heart and an English skin,” he said. “I realized this very late, when I was twenty-one, twenty-two. It created a sort of psychological crisis. I nearly had a nervous breakdown. I realized suddenly that I was not English really, I was not European. There was something going on underneath and I realized that it was the effect of India on my thinking.” (Quoting Lawrence Durrell) I think part of the content here (written in an article at the time of Durrell’s centenary) advances the view that not just his relatively brief childhood in India until the age of about 12, but his inheritance as a third generation Anglo-Irish in India, influenced the way that he looked at the world.Sumantra Nag
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