[ilds] French Accolade

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Sat Jan 9 10:17:15 PST 2016


French critics deserve an accolade or two.  Going back to Tocqueville, they’re more perceptive about America than Americans.  They also appreciated Poe, Faulkner, and film noir, when few in the U.S. paid any attention to them.  The same is true of Lawrence Durrell.  Durrell made his living from prose, but I think he valued poetry more.  Prose he wrote quickly (or so he claimed), the poetry was agonizingly difficult to write (ditto).  Most poets would probably say that, I think.  Let’s say something about what kinds of poems he writes.  Aside from satires like “Good Lord Nelson,” I’d call him a lyric poet.  His major topics and concerns are personal.  If a mother plays a role in “The Gift” (1931), I’d say W. B. Yeats is the unstated topic of “Pioneer” (1931), the next poem in Brigham’s 1980 edition.  So, from an early age (he’s only nineteen in 1931), Durrell is concerned about two things:  his origins as a person and his future as a poet.

Bruce





> On Jan 8, 2016, at 9:08 PM, Sumantra Nag <sumantranag at gmail.com> wrote:
> 
> Prose poems!
> 
> Was Durrell ever regarded as a major poet of his generation? And is his poetry not stimulated very frequently by the Levant - if I may use that single term in this context? He was once regarded as a major novelist, but his high reputation faded away, and did that affect his reputation as a poet?
> 
> Does all this have to do with English literature having become parochial from the 1950s onwards?
> 
> My knowledge of French is negligible, but  I seem to note a keen appreciation of Durrell's poetic prose from the French strongholds in these posts! I recall - but with what accuracy? - a reviewer's comment on Justine (or definitely one of the novels of The Alexandria Quartet),  which said that Lawrence Durrell had written a good French novel! I'll try to recover that review, but perhaps someone else can beat me to it.
> 
> I find something revelatory in the fact that I have been able to more than half of Proust's monumental "Remembrance of Things Past" in its English translations by Scott-Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin, with greater ease than any other comparable fictional masterpiece. I don't think that, by itself, Proust's prose would be described as poetic, although he achieves a extraordinary degree of minuteness in the description of landscape and while describing psychological relationships between people at.
> 
> I have come across Mallarme's prose poems, but how widely represented is the prose poem as a literary genre?
> 
> Sir Thomas Browne is seen as an original archetype of prose which is ornate and described perhaps as Baroque in its quality. Thomas de Quincey and other later writers have something of this quality. George Steiner has extolled Lawrence Durrell's prose and structure in the novels of The Alexandria Quartet, and described the novels as baroque.
> 
> I would go back to what might have been seen as a French quality in Durrell's novels from the Quartet, although I am not in a position to comment on his later novels of which I have read very little.
> 
> France is also where I believe Durrell's reputation has survived at a higher level than it apparently has in Britain.
> 
> Sumantra
> ----------------------
> 
> Message: 7
> Date: Fri, 8 Jan 2016 18:28:17 +1100
> From: Denise Tart & David Green <dtart at bigpond.net.au <mailto:dtart at bigpond.net.au>>
> To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca <mailto:ilds at lists.uvic.ca>
> Subject: Re: [ilds] Waugh Panel - Univ of Texas
> Message-ID: <59FB1867-9B16-4E3D-A9A7-1E9A529D3618 at bigpond.net.au <mailto:59FB1867-9B16-4E3D-A9A7-1E9A529D3618 at bigpond.net.au>>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
> 
> Bien sur, Marc, bien sur. La prose de Lawrence Durrell est plus poetique, mon ami, plus poetique. Avec Durrell vous obtenez une melange manifique. Je Pense que oui.
> 
> David Vinblanc.
> 
> On 8 Jan 2016, at 12:27 PM, Marc Piel <marc at marcpiel.fr <mailto:marc at marcpiel.fr>> wrote:
> 
> Surely much of his prose is pure poetry!!
> Marc
> ------------------
> 
> Message: 8
> Date: Fri, 8 Jan 2016 20:12:24 +1100
> From: Denise Tart & David Green <dtart at bigpond.net.au <mailto:dtart at bigpond.net.au>>
> To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca <mailto:ilds at lists.uvic.ca>
> Subject: [ilds] Lawrence Durrell, collected poems, 1931 - 1974
> Message-ID: <6A8847F4-5F94-4BE6-B56A-1A0B55A3B8BD at bigpond.net.au <mailto:6A8847F4-5F94-4BE6-B56A-1A0B55A3B8BD at bigpond.net.au>>
> Content-Type: text/plain;       charset=us-ascii
> 
> Dusted this volume off tonight, said to myself, take a glass of Richmond grove Chardonnay and start from the start. Hemingway talked about the true line, those lines that really say it, lay it down well.
> 
> >From The Gift
> 
> The crumbled dust of ancient adorations, murmurings, and the dull story of some faded lust, will you remember it and mother-wise thank me in these chill after-days,
> When I am empty handed...with your eyes?
> 
> I especially like 'and the dull story of some faded lust' - just nails it. Bam, bam, bam!
> 
> Sometimes Lazza tries to hard, gets too full of classical allusion, but little gems shine like sharp cut diamonds.
> 
> David
> 
> Message: 9
> Date: Fri, 8 Jan 2016 03:16:33 -0800
> From: Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net <mailto:bredwine1968 at earthlink.net>>
> To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca <mailto:ilds at lists.uvic.ca>
> Subject: [ilds] Poetry v. Prose Poem
> Message-ID: <6BF67EAD-E328-4A6B-A952-853FD7B31440 at earthlink.net <mailto:6BF67EAD-E328-4A6B-A952-853FD7B31440 at earthlink.net>>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
> 
> Yes.  We might start with definitions.  Is poetry the same as a prose poem?  I don't think it is, and I doubt that Durrell did either, for the simple reason he published the two genres separately.
> 
> Bruce
> 
> Message: 10
> Date: Fri, 8 Jan 2016 03:38:07 -0800
> From: Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net <mailto:bredwine1968 at earthlink.net>>
> To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca <mailto:ilds at lists.uvic.ca>
> Subject: Re: [ilds] Poetry v. Prose Poem
> Message-ID: <1DCF3A50-2964-495D-B964-88DAA3B523BE at earthlink.net <mailto:1DCF3A50-2964-495D-B964-88DAA3B523BE at earthlink.net>>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
> 
> Addendum.  It's true that books like CVG contain poems, but the two genres are kept distinct.  We know when we're reading poetry as opposed to prose.  Poetic prose is not the same as poetry, for Durrell anyway.  This seems to me trivially true, although I wonder about a writer/poet like Anne Carson.
> 
> Bruce
> -------------------
> 
> Sent from my Asus Zenfone
> 

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.uvic.ca/pipermail/ilds/attachments/20160109/da189e16/attachment.html>


More information about the ILDS mailing list