[ilds] Nin & Heraldic

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Wed Feb 24 17:24:11 PST 2016

I see Durrell’s use of “Heraldic” as representing some extra dimension of reality, accessible through the imagination, intuition, or some kind of praxis:  “Transcending logic it [Heraldic] invades a realm where unreason reigns, and where the relations between ideas are sympathetic and mysterious—affective—rather than casual, objective, substitutional.”  This from “Ideas about Poems” in Personal Landscape:  An Anthology of Exile (London 1945).  See also Gifford’s edition of From the Elephant’s Back (2015).

Here I would bring in Hermann Broch’s idea of an “ultimate reality,” as expressed in The Death of Virgil (1945).  Perhaps only superficial, the similarities need to be fully explored.

Nevertheless, “the Heraldic Universe” is Durrell’s lifelong concern, where he has an inkling of a reality beyond reality, which is very Eastern.  Hence, he calls himself a Taoist in A Smile in the Mind’s Eye (1980).


> On Feb 24, 2016, at 3:38 PM, James Gifford <james.d.gifford at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi Ken,
> On 2016-02-24 1:24 PM, Kennedy Gammage wrote:
>> Interesting that she mentions the Heraldic Universe
> I'm not sure of the date of the entry, but was it around August 1937? Durrell was using the word to correspond with Miller in the Fall of 1936, undated in the letter (August per MacNiven but more likely September or October based on the publication in September of the materials in the Surrealist Bulletin by Herbert Read to which he was responding).  He uses the term again in his 1938 essay on Miller's /Hamlet/ letters in /Delta/, which would have been right around Nin's comments (if I'm intuiting the date correctly).
>> "It is not a moral repulsion," said Larry, "it is
>> Heraldic." The love of the "heraldic" world in
>> Larry excludes the other. Not in Henry.' Durrell
>> must have talked about it a great deal. Was he
>> seeing things? Living in his own private Idaho so
>> to speak?
> I think there are two ways of seeing the Heraldic.  In one it's an interior world, or private Idaho, but in another it could have much to do with the "intimate" you also quote from Nin.  That is, where does the personal flourish free of external constraints, which isn't quite the same thing as an interiority or imaginary world.
> Of course, Nin would have her own way of understanding it as well, and I'd assume she would grant greater emphasis to interiority.
> All best,
> James
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